The comedy lineup this year was pretty astounding, and I am definitely the kind of trooper who likes to make air-conditioned venues a priority. I thought it was serendipity when The Gang was all camped up behind the comedy tent and we were treated right away to the rather funny/sad scene of a young man already on a bad trip — at around 2 p.m. on Thursday, mind.
With everyone relatively settled in, we caught The Non-Commissioned Officers; I believe the second band to play the entire festival, and the only band playing at the moment. The relatively small Troo Music Lounge (it kills me not to write “True”) seemed to be pretty full: I’d estimate about 1,000 people were attending, and it made me very happy to see some local boys done good. Headed back to camp as soon as they were done, though — the heat was already getting to me.
After a day of bitching and feeling sorry for myself, I headed down to catch Margaret Cho. You either like her or you don’t. I err on the side of liking her. Her opener, John Roberts? Not so much. He of the YouTube sensation “My Son Is Gay?” pretty much just has a wig shtick going on, and a pretty hacky one at that. I was disappointed because I loved his YouTube video, but sketch. rather than stand-up. should definitely be his gig.
Seeing Conan was pretty much an impossibility. The Comedy Tent holds around 1,000 people, and his 1 p.m. shows were having the lines cut off at around 9 a.m. The prospect of that wait quickly became terrifying to this indoor girl, and I was still pretty pissed that I had left town before the show at Third Man, a place so close to my Nashville bed I could have walked there.
Aziz Ansari: my lost cause. I saw two of his sets this year, both of which were opened by the rather funny Chelsea Peretti: I’d never heard of her before, but she’s a cross between the self-deprecation of Janeane Garofalo, the rape-based comedy of Sarah Silverman, with the deadpan delivery of Brian Steven Wright. Really liked her a lot. The second set of his I saw was billed as a Human Giant reunion, but for whatever reason, it was not to be.
Also not to be? My dream of making out with Aziz. A close encounter near the artist area gave me the perfect opportunity to go over and introduce myself, but due to my shocking sobriety, I chickened out and basically ran away while my friends, who didn’t even see his set, gave their congratulations. Turns out I have a modicum of dignity (or at least red-faced embarrassment when confronted by a crush), and I really hated myself for it. Still do! It’s pretty much the biggest disappointment of my life, and it was of my own making. But I learned a lesson: Always be drunk (always be drinking) when at Bonnaroo, because you never know when your inhibitions need to be down.
Daryl Hall & Chromeo: one of the highlights of the festival, for sure. I was feeling like a champion by the time everyone headed down, and the combo just worked. Do you have any idea how much more awesome Hall & Oates songs sound as if they were written by Chromeo? A lot better, that’s how much. Hall’s hair was blowing in a fan like he was some kind of magnificent god, and I would consider the pairing something I would actually pay to see again.
Phoenix was the last band of my weekend, and from what I recall, it was good. I think? I was way ready to go at this point, and could barely concentrate from the heat and many drinks. I may or may not have been a Bonnaroo Bingo square at some point. This was the third time I’d seen Phoenix, and they’ve moved to progressively larger venues: first time was at a Grimey’s in-store; now to the relatively large Which Stage at the festival. Pop bands, in my experience, tend to work better in smaller spaces. I think we were leaving before they even finished their set.
When I got home, I thought I lost my phone, car keys and sunglasses — but in the end I lost nothing other than a weekend and my dignity. See you next year!