Saturday, I spent my daylight hours waiting for the Internet to work, so I only caught Flogging Molly before I had to get back to the site and fire up the grill. FM aren't a band that I listen to at home, but when I run into another McBastard from New England that wants to go see 'em, I'm not going to turn the opportunity down — Flogging Molly are a great live band, and it was a fun show. Not as fun as cooking 20 pounds of short ribs that had been marinating for three days though, so that would be the last set I caught until the sun was on its decent. And just so you know, the short rib tacos were off the chain.
Skrillex was a thing. I'm just going to leave it at that. If you ran into me during that set then you know how I felt about it at the time. If you didn't run into me, well, that's probably for the best. Alice Cooper, on the other hand, was fucking great, balancing out the metal era with the glam era and basically just killing the way you'd hope. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got inappropriately rowdy during "I'm Eighteen" but I am surprised that I was the only one that wanted to start a circle pit in the VIP side stage area. I mean, what else are you going to when there's like eighty bazillion guitarists on stage?
I caught a bit of The Roots, and I am happy to say they are the exact same band I used to go see in tiny clubs back in the day. Well, they have the same energy and same excitement, but it's been scaled way, WAY up. It was great, but I had the sneaking suspicion that ?uestlove leading the Superjam would be even better. And it doesn't get better than being wasted out of your gourd and walking into D'angelo's first American show in a decade. It's like walking in the woods to look for birds and finding a Yeti just chilling out, drinking beer — it was absolutely mind-blowing. And that D'angelo, who's been hiding out for over a decade, sounded as incredible as a musician can, and his return to music is possibly the best news this R&B nerd has heard in years. I can not express how incredible a surprise this was. God lookin' out, Bonnaroo.
From there I cut out to see GZA perform Liquid Swords with Groupo Fantasmo, which was fucking incredible. Anybody that follow my social networking shenanigans knows that I'm prone to posting excessive amounts of Wu Tang videos when it's late and I'm intoxicated, so this was pretty much exactly what I wanted to do at 2 in the morning on a Saturday night. Multiply that by one of the tightest bands I've ever seen performing one of the ’90s best rap records and I couldn't have been happier. Considering that Liquid Swords is more or less and album without hits — or even choruses, for that matter — it was incredible to see the crowd rap along with every word. Those ain't easy raps to spit — clearly these fans had spent an absurd amount of time with this album. A truly incredible set of music.
I closed out Saturday night by catching the last Pedrito Martinez Group song, which was excellent, and then the last bit of Unchained, who were definitely a Van Halen cover band — not a bad thing at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Then it was off to guest camping for a water-logged night cap and maybe — maybe! — a 30-minute rant about the surprising similarities between the works of Gang Green and Graham Greene before heading back to my swimming pool. I mean tent. I knew I should have put the rain fly on the tent. Whatever — it's not Bonnaroo unless you wake up somewhere weird, and that chair was surprisingly comfortable.
Sunday was a slow starter, I'm not going to lie, but then again I only had one thing on my agenda: Kenny Rogers. I did catch The Beach Boys (they were great and the vibe was a perfect fit for the situation) and (Ben Folds Five) (also great), but I couldn't muster the focus or the energy for anyone but The Gambler. Rogers is kind of mean to the crowd during his stage banter — think Don Rickles — but he also was clearly delighted by the fact that he was a forerunner of this whole freak scene, and he definitely reveled in the stoner adoration heaved upon him when he played "Just Dropped In." Plus, pretty much every person in the crowd was elated whenever he played one of his hits. (OK, every song was a hit. There were no deep cuts, and now that I think about it, they weren't just hits, but mega-hits from the days when the music industry could still move a million units in an afternoon.)
And then Lionel Richie came out to do "Lady" and "All Night Long" and my mind exploded. And then I called it a festival and went back to pack up my water-filled tent and head home. Good looking out Bonnaroo. Smell ya later!