Day 1 at Bonnaroo was incredible, but things really started rolling on the second day of the festival. However, to start off the day, I learned two of the biggest lessons of Bonnaroo. The first is that you must make trade-offs. Sharon van Etten and Jessica Lea Mayfield were performing at the exact same time! But I had to make a choice, and I chose Sharon. However, the second big lesson of the day pre-empted any need for a choice: head to Centeroo early! My neighbors and I left the campsite around 11:30 and ended up in line for Centeroo for nearly two hours and I missed both artists.
Determined not to let missing both of these great artists get me down, I used the time before my next show started to explore the booths around Centeroo a bit more. I found an amazing concert poster vendor and some very interesting apparel/accessory vendors. I didn't buy anything, though, just made mental shopping lists.
Then it was time for Matt & Kim at This Tent. Despite having nothing to do directly before the show, I ended up fairly far to the back and didn't get to appreciate the full glory of their hyper-happy style. The set was still amazing, they were probably some of the better performers of the entire festival, especially among the relatively newer artists. At one point Kim, the drummer, gave a shout-out to two sets of bare chests in the audience (there were a lot of those at the festival in general).
As much as I was enjoying Matt & Kim, I needed to head over to Cafe Where to catch my friend's band, Walk the Moon, so I left early. I got myself a good seat for the show and waited for it to begin. Cafe Where is directly across from (and within earshot) of What Stage, so I got treated to the end of Grace Potter & The Nocturnal's set. Walk the Moon started almost as soon as Grace and her band were done. I was amazed, being out of Ohio and Cincinnati, how many people present knew and sang along to every song. This band is going places, and I can say "I knew them when..."
As soon as Walk the Moon were finished, What Stage fired up again, with The Decemberists starting their set. I moved in closer and got a comfortable seat on the lawn. The crowd was surprisingly sparse considering the act, but it's nicer not to be nose-deep in some guy's back hair for a few shows. I surprised myself with how well I knew their newer songs, despite not having listened to The King is Dead all that much. Note to self: listen to that album more.
Once again, however, I had to cut out early, this time for Florence + The Machine (remember, people, trade-offs!) I was pretty far away from the stage again. It's a good thing she has bright red hair, so she was easy to spot when she came out. This is one of those few artists where nothing is lost in live performance; it was an incredible set. But, things at Bonnaroo being what they are, I once again cut out early and headed back to What Stage for My Morning Jacket.
I've heard a lot about how much better MMJ is live than on recordings and, since I had already fallen in love with their latest album Circuital and knew I'd have to experience their live show. It was incredible. The band looks, and sounds, epic. Two of the members, leader Jim James and drummer Patrick Hallahan, look more like mountain men than performers and Jim topped his look off with huge furry white boots. The highlight of the show was "Holding Onto Black Metal." The song has somewhat of a false end on the record, but it came out even moreso live, as if the band was saying, "Guess what y'all, this song ain't over...glowsticks!" Seriously, glowsticks just shot out of everywhere in the crowd when the song restarted. Still giving me shivers.
I stayed at What Stage for the next act as well, and even ventured closer knowing it would be big...Arcade Fire. This band had perhaps the best visuals of the entire festival (at least that I saw) including a movie-style marquee, a strange video of three swimmers floating and screaming, and portions of the Spike Jonze-directed video for "We Used to Wait." Before the show started, it rained glitter from the sky. I kid you not; paragliders dropped iridescent foil paper attached to I don't know what that slowly fell back to the ground. It was spectacular. The show was amazing, too. The band proved that they deserved their Grammy win.
Half-way through, I couldn't stand any longer, and retreated a bit further from the stage just so I could sit. I had planned to catch Lil' Wayne (mostly to get pictures for a coworker's husband) and Ratatat later that night, but could think of little more than sleep. So, that's exactly what I did, headed back to my tent and crashed.
An amazing day!
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