Friday, May 20, 2011

Sunday at Bonnaroo

By Jon Stone | @jwstone - June 15, 2010

I've been home from Bonnaroo for a good 24 hours and am only just starting to feel like a normal human being again. Granted my back still aches, my feet still hurt, and I am still in a haze thinking about the long weekend of amazing music, sweltering heat, and general debauchery that was the 4-day fest. To say that I had a great time would be an understatement. To say that I am glad to be home -- also putting it lightly.

Despite all that heat and sweat, I can honestly say it was the best musical experience that I have yet had and, as I have said in previous updates, a large percentage of my favorite bands played the fest so it was incredible to hear them in succession, often one directly following the next. That just doesn't happen in a regular concert dimension. Bonnaroo is an alternate musical dimension in every sense of those words.


The last day of the fest was fairly laid back. We packed up our stuff and wandered around the grounds catching a few songs from Ingrid Michaelson, Monte Montgomery and Japandroids (none really keeping my boat afloat, though Montgomery really plays that guitar). I caught most of Calexico's set and look forward to spending more time with their catalog this summer. Though I grew up in Tucson, AZ, Calexico was completely off my suburban radar in the 90s. Hearing them play both made me miss the desert, and pine after a less-conventional teenage musical pallet.

Later, we wandered a bit more and saw a few songs each from alt-country darlings Lucero, jazz greats (with stoner appeal) Medeski Martin & Wood, piano-pop princess Regina Spektor, CCR patriarch John Fogerty, and country legend Kris Kristofferson.  How's that for a schizophrenic mixtape?

We closed off the Bonnaroo experience by watching most of the set from They Might Be Giants. For us it was the perfect closer. John Flansburgh and John Linnell were cheesy, silly, and not just a tad over-the-top. After four days in the sun, can you think of a better formula for smiles?  TMBG have been making music for a LONG time together -- 26 years long, incredibly -- and it shows. In addition to the above mentioned traits they are also consummate professionals, and master song-smiths. To be honest, I've listened to them more in the last five years since I've had kids than I ever did before, but with albums like "Here Come the ABCs" and last months "Here Comes Science," they make the often-intolerable kid tunes genre enjoyable (with only Dan Zanes doing a better job, I think). We bounced along to "Particle Man" and "Istanbul (not Constantinople)," and when they started shooting big gobs of confetti into the audience, it felt like our party was coming to a tired but happy conclusion.

So there you have it. I can't thank Ryan enough for giving me the opportunity to cover the fest for the blog. I'll never forget the experience. Tomorrow I'll post some final thoughts and try to get some of my pictures up (though you can find some really great picture sets here and here as well).

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