Bonnaroo 2009 – An Unbiased First Person Recap

Every year for the past five years, my brother and I have a mini-family reunion in Tennessee in June.  I say mini because it’s just him and I, no sisters, wives or cousins.  Just a couple of brothers.  Not much of a ‘family’ you may say, but I beg to differ.  Each June we have reunited with our family of Bonnaroo brethren from all points of the globe.  There’s literally months of preparation involved, but it is always worth the trouble.  Getting camping equipment across the country, arranging rental cars, getting groceries and other essentials onto the site are among the details that need to get worked out.  But it has generally been a smooth process and each year seems to be more fun than the last. 

The journey began pretty early with a six o’clock flight out of Portland to Denver.  Met up with Ed there and made our connection to Nashville after an hour layover.  While waiting out the gap at an airport tavern we met up with a trio returning to Philadelphia from a bachelor party in Vegas and Marilyn, a Denver native on her way to the CMA’s in Music City, U.S.A.  She had heard “Something about a hippie fest” outside of town.  Personally, I have always found airport bar conversations with strangers to be some of the most interesting interactions I have encountered.  Unfortunately, these fellow travelers didn’t rank too high on the ‘Learn something new’ ladder, so it’s off to Nashville and down to the Bonnaroo campground.

No sooner had we gotten our tent set up and it started to rain.  Perfect timing.  Except this was a Tennessee downpour.  By the time Ed and I jumped back into the car to maybe wait the storm out, we realized that we were soaked already and decided to head into Centeroo and catch some music.  Thursdays are usually more indie, rising star type of bands, always fun.

First up was Brooklyn’s Chairlift.  I wasn’t familiar with them at all but may have found my new favorite female lead singer.  In a clingy purple dress she seduced me from the stage with her 80’s synth playing and Berlin style rock edge.  One song, Bruises, added to the chill I already had from the rain.

The rain abated some, so Ed and I meandered further into Centeroo where we happened upon the Troo Music Lounge and the Tangiers Blues Band.  As fate would have it, they were just cranking up a little number called “Champagne and Reefer,” so we had to stay for at least a few tunes.  Off to stage left there were four or five dancing girls, dressed in boas and bikinis: The Tangiers Blues Band, if nothing else, knew their target audience.  “Champagne And Reefer” turned out to be a pretty good song, so did their version of “Rainy Day Woman.”  But we had gotten a late start and here was much more to be seen, and it might start raining any second now.  So, off we dashed to That Tent to see the end of The Low Anthem’s set. 

We managed to see the last song or two from the edge of the tent but I didn’t register most of it.  It had begun to rain sideways and most of my energy was spent trying to simultaneously get under the cover of the tent and keep my balance as the other five thousand people with the same idea at the exact same time tried to knock me over.  There was thunder and lightning to go along with the pushing and shoving, so we decided to get out of there and head over to the Other Tent.

We stopped briefly at the Brooer’s Tent (Ed loves his 420 Ale, currently not available in California) I noted another beer he would have to try, based on its slogan “The Liquid Song Of Summer”.  It was made by Wakko Beer Company.  Who can ignore signs like that?  While there, we were treated to an amazing light show in the sky.  The very active storm that had ravaged us at This Tent had headed northeast and was miles away already.  But the lightning flashed both in front of and behind a giant thunder cloud that only became visible when the lightning flared.  I tried about two dozen times but could never catch the lightning in the shutter of my camera.  Trust me; the pictures in my mind are glorious.

We managed to get pretty far inside That Tent for the Zac Brown Band.  These guys were a lot of fun.  A bit more country than I am used to, but, hell; we were in Tennessee after all.  They sang one song, “Chicken Fried” that touched on all the standard country threads.  Jeans, trucks, moms, dogs the whole nine yards.  Cover song: “One Love” by Bob Marley. They handled that one with class, using the acoustic guitar and fiddle to a great reaction from the crowd.  Nice touch. 

More walking in the dark in the rain led us past the Other Tent and a few songs by Midnight.  But here the rain really took over.  Blowing sideways enough for the Bonnaroo Crew to have to put plastic sheeting around the soundboard in the center of the huge tent, the rain was relentless, drenching most of those who had sought shelter under the canvas. Ed and I decided, again, that since we were already wet, let’s keep moving.  The rain eventually stopped again.  Our journey through Centeroo took us past a twenty foot tall cast iron snowman with fire in his belly.  At the base were eight crossbeams with see-saw seats and handles at either end.  People were sitting on these seats and see-sawing up and down and stoking the fire in the belly of the giant iron snowman.  The resulting heat generated a fifty foot ring around the perimeter of serious temperatures.  It was enough to dry our clothes in minutes.  People were lining up for the chance to rock on the iron snowman.  Ed and I were happy for the warmth and drying clothes and moved toward camp before we got soaked again. 

On the way out our attention was drawn to more music.  To be honest, I forget which tent we were walking by, but the music stopped us.  We checked the schedule; no one was due to be performing now.  It was after 1:00 A.M on opening night. We had to investigate, chance of thunderstorms be damned.  Once under the protection of the tent, we were treated to an inspired set by The Delta Spirit.  Apparently, their flight out of Dallas had been delayed by this very storm earlier in the day, forcing them to miss their original seven o’clock slot.  Troupers that they were, they went on sometime after one in the morning and rocked the house with their blend of Americana folk rock.  Matted hair, damp socks and all, Ed and I headed back to Camp Emperor (between Camp Darth Vader and Camp R2D2) for the night. 


Friday, as it turned out, was chock full of movement and music.  We danced, we sang, we relished in the fact that it wasn’t supposed to rain today.  We met our neighbors, Zan and Neal, from the Chattanooga area, not too far.  They had come, spur of the moment, across the state (which is bordered by seven other states, I am told) to partake in all that is Bonnaroo and were intent on enjoying themselves.  My guess is they will.

First on the musical menu, after a breakfast of energy drinks and salami sandwiches, was Moonalice.  Talk about an all star band playing  the Troo Music Lounge at noon, Moonalice’s lineup is as follows:  G.E Smith (Saturday Night Live), Barry Sless (Phil Lesh, David Nelson Band), Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna), Ann and Roger McNamee (Flying Other Brothers) and John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, Phil Lesh). This audience friendly band of legends (both literally and figuratively) ran through a set it was hard to tear away from, so we didn’t.  Cover songs:  Whiter Shade Of Pale, 52’ Vincent Black Lightning, Sugaree.  What a way to crank the crowd up.  On the small side stage where the dancing girls performed the previous night, Fuse-TV did a quickie interview with Kaki King after the Moonalice set ended.   

From there it was over to the first Which Stage show of the weekend, Gomez.  The crowd lit up when they played their latest, “Airstream Driver”.   I was surprised at how crowded the Which stage was this early in the day, but, considering the talent on stage, maybe I shouldn’t have been.  Maybe it’s just sour grapes because we couldn’t get very close to the stage at all.  Oh well, time for some critter jerky at the Brooer’s Tent and Ed’s first 420 of the day.

Our journey took us through the Troo Lounge again.  Everest was on stage, playing a nice, easy going song, “Rebel in the Roses.”  We stayed for another tune or two, then turned toward the David Byrne curated That Tent to check out St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark from Brooklyn).  Nice pipes and good energy.  She had two different microphones set up and alternated between them for different effects, essentially adding another voice to the band.  Intriguing to say the least.  This was a diversion from our original plan, so we stayed but a tune or two.  We were on the move again.

The move took us past the sonic stage, one of the Roo’s most intimate, acoustic style venues.  Drive By Trucker’s Patterson Hood was playing pre DBT songs and telling stories like he was sitting in your living room.       Ed and I then headed back over to the Which stage (which had gotten even more crowded) to see Animal Collective.  It was great to see A.C.’s techno-dance vibe get fifteen to twenty thousand people bouncing and “whoo-whoo”-ing in unison, especially with the Tennessee sun finally starting to burn through the clouds.  Certain Bonnaroonians sought refuge from the sun under small umbrellas.  The day was getting better. 
Celebrity sighting:  Tift Merritt & Band leaving This Tent during Grace Potter & The Nocturnals set.
We went back to the sonic stage and caught most of moe.’s acoustic set.  What a difference this venue makes.  I’m amazed every year.  More on this later.

We grabbed more water and hustled over to That Tent for Santogold.  I had never experienced Santogold before and was in for a treat.  Big show with dancing back up singers and a skin tight outfit, she was the rock/pop princess of this year’s Bonnaroo (Wrestling the title from M.I.A. who killed the opposition last year on that very stage).  She stopped one song after just a minute or two, stating that the audience deserved better than that.  After admonishing the band, they began the same song again.  I’m no Santogold expert, but, in my humble opinion, they nailed it. 

Our first foray into the pit at the front of the What stage came shortly before six pm.  We trekked to the far side of the stage and the line was already filtering in to the pit area when we arrived.  We took what has become our customary position at the main stage for the last few years.  We wound up about half way between the barricade separating the pit area from the rest of the crowd, up against the center barricade allowing security personnel, photographers and V.I.P. access to the sound booth and front row.    

We were in a perfect position for the premier Bonnaroo performance of the Reverend Al Green.  What a treat.  The band was uber-tight, taking a moment or two to warm up the crowd before introducing the Reverend himself.  Dashing in a black tux with bright red vest and tie, Green tossed roses to the crowd as he ran through a set peppered with hit after hit.  Cover song:  How Can You Mend A Broken Heart by the Bee Gees.  Nobody saw that one coming, but the Reverend absolutely killed this one.  He made it his own and was not to be denied.  With his patented falsetto yell, Green also treated us to a medley of Motown era hits that just kept on giving.  “Signed, Sealed Delivered,” “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” “I’ve Got Sunshine,” “Bring It To Me,” “Dock Of The Bay” and “You Are Everything.”  He followed that up with “Tired Of Being Alone” that brought the house down.  His thirteen piece band, augmented by two dancers, segued from hit to hit and the audience couldn’t get enough.   Real treat!

In the Reverend’s afterglow, Ed and I decided to head back to camp for dinner, and to get our bearings for the night to come.  Along the way we heard one Ani Difranco tune that had to do with admitting you are an asshole.  Unable to agree with that assessment, it was off to Camp Emperor for more salami sandwiches, peaches, grapes and energy drinks.  

We made it back to the What Stage in time to see the end of the Beastie Boys set.  After a couple of songs, I wished I had seen the whole show.  With some gray hairs showing around the edges, The Beasties brought it hard and by the time I heard “Savatage” live for the first time, I was bouncing in place, shouting along like a sinner in church.  We hustled out of the pit area and got onto the end of the line to re-enter the front area for the first of two Phish sets this weekend.  Talk about psyched.

I hope I do not lessen anyone’s opinion of me with this next statement.  Until June 12 of this year I was a Phish virgin.  I had never seen them live except on Youtube.  Seeing as how Bonnaroo has its roots in the jam band culture that Phish has been at the forefront of for so many years, you’d have thought these two would have gotten together a lot sooner.  But Phish had been “on a break” for years and Bonnaroo had become just as much about diversity as about jamming over the years and Trey appeared a few times, Mike too.  But I was about to witness the marriage of two of the music worlds most imaginative forces, Phish and its phans and Bonnaroo.

They opened up with the high energy, pseudo-rapped “Chalk Dust Torture” and the place went nuts.  It was a late night show (they began at 11:20) and the crowd was ready to party.  The never gets old glow stick wars began with the first note.  I was ready for that, but a few other things surprised me.  First time in my life I experienced an audience doing hand clap fills without being prompted.  I joined them after the first repetition, but was amazed at how smooth that went.  They played my absolute favorite Phish tune, “The Divided Sky” and stretched it past the ten minute mark.  All that ‘jam band’ hype was proving true.  Same thing with “Down With Disease,” a nice rolling all inclusive jam around the stage.  After “Harry Hood” (another favorite) Ed and I began to back away from the stage, but they reeled us back in with Cover song: Highway To Hell.  Didn’t see that one coming either.  We wanted to beat the crowd out of there and watched most of the rest of the show on our way back to Centeroo.  Wilson sandwiched by “You Enjoy Myself.”  Nice exit music, easy to establish a rhythm while walking through the crowd in the dark.

We found ourselves near the fountain and heard Public Enemy from over at This Tent.  They had performed “Fight the Power” and were into their encores.  Cover Song:  Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin).  Brought back memories. 

We decided to check out Pretty Lights in the Other Tent next.  The walk across Centeroo woke us up fairly well and by the time we got to the crowded tent, a second wind was taking over.  Good thing for us, too.  Pretty Lights’ bass heavy dance blend had the far corner of the property partying, with flashing neon head gear, wild masks, costumes and boas. This was on the audience members, not the band.  I could barely make out the band as the area was pretty crowded.  But that didn’t stop us from bopping right along with everybody else. 

Around two thirty we headed back over to This Tent to see the end of Paul Oakenfold’s set. We managed to get right in front of the sound board by following a conga line that had formed in the back of the crowd.  Oakenfold was about an hour into his mix when we got there and he didn’t let up till dawn.  Cover Song:  Smells Like Teen Spirit, Satisfaction.  These were just two of the songs he built his jams around. The video in the background (Perfecto!) featured the most seductive Asian beauty that was almost distracting from the music.  It was now after 4:30 and I was shot. We meandered back to Camp Emperor and I was asleep before Oakenfold finished his set. 

Bands of note that we DIDN’T SEE:  Galactic, the Itals, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, David Byrne, TV on The Radio, Girl Talk, Lucinda Williams, Justin Townes Earle)

      Now, one of the benefits of being in Camp Emperor was that it is very close to Centeroo, along a relatively dry dirt road.  It is bordered by a vacant lot where they kept all of the recyclables, stacked in bags, piled and sorted, best as they could.  If you look at the site map, there is almost a straight line between the main, What Stage and Camp Emperor that is unencumbered by anything that might block noise from one site to the other.  And it is for that exclusive accident of planning geography that I was rocked awake at about ten after eight Saturday morning by none other then Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band doing their sound check.  “Raise Your Hand” rang out loud and clear in the crisp yet damp morning air.  It was cloudy, still not raining.  The Boss was playing across the campground on the main, What Stage, and I looked around.  There was no one else stirring, no one else sharing this wonderful experience with me.  Eight in the morning cognizance might be asking a lot of the Bonnaroo faithful, considering the night of music we had left a mere four hours earlier.  I languished in my first Springsteen/Bonnaroo ‘moment’.  It was gonna be a good day.

Springsteen didn’t hit the stage for over twelve hours.  There was a lot of music both leading up to his appearance, and, if last night was any example, tons more after his show.  I hit up the seven dollar shower, washing away two and a half days of funk in preparation for a wicked fun day.  The sun was peeking through the clouds already.

First up was Ilo & the Coral Reefer AllStars. A press release all over the internet had said that Jimmy Buffett would be joining them (Ilo is one of his protégés).  But with so much music, I couldn’t see another time we would be able to visit Shakedown Street other than first thing that morning.  But getting Ed, as well as Neal and Zan up and moving after the night we all had, well let’s just say we listened to Jimmy and the Reefers from the campground.  I did hear “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville,” so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.  Scored some good stuff on Shakedown, as usual, those vendors never let you down. 

So it turns out our first show of the day was Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3, which included Peter Buck from REM.  I really enjoyed Hitchcock’s set.  He made a point to talk to the early afternoon crowd, setting up songs, commenting on the festival and in general being comfortable and putting on a wonderful hour long set.  He mentioned that the last festival he played was Isle Of Wite in 1970 with Jimi Hendrix.  He figured, if they were all like this, why did he wait so long, which got a roar from the crowd. 

We semi-raced over to the Which Stage to get in close for Booker T and the DBT’s. In theory, it seemed a pretty far fetched concept, basically installing another keyboard player into the already well manned Drive By Truckers.  In practice however, the pairing worked like a charm.  Booker T got a road worthy band of accomplished musicians to augment his hits and compositions.  The DBT’s got to take a step back for a bit, let the music do the work with one of the preeminent organists and composers in rock and jazz.  Sure, they played one or two Trucker tunes, but imagine what it would be like to be the rhythm guitarist while Booker T himself was playing “Green Onion.”  Then imagine you get the nod from the master and you and your band get to jam out on this classic song.  It’s a three guitar attack with the backbeat steady and the fills provided by the master himself on the Hammond.  You just let that stuff happen and store the memory.Useless piece of Bonnaroo trivia:  Drive By Trucker Brad Morgan met his future spouse at the festival.

Up on the Which Stage next was Gov’t Mule.  Since we were already in pretty good position in relation to the stage, we opted to stay put for Mule.  Warren Haynes and the band always seem to get up for Bonnaroo.  It was too bad it was a mid day show, with only ninety minutes slated, because they smoked the stage with a mix of Mule standards and covers.  Cover Songs: Helter Skelter, Creep, One, Southern Man, How Many More Times (with Grace Potter and Scott Tournet).  They played “Soulshine” (“Wouldn’t hardly be Bonnaroo without Soulshine”, Warren muttered again, just like a couple of years ago, except then it was four in the morning, not six in the evening). 

Our plan was to leave about six and get over to the What Stage to see Wilco.  Problem was we were too firmly ensconced in the crowd for Gov’t Mule that we couldn’t get out.  Literally, we were trapped up against the center barricade and fifteen thousand combination Mule fans and Mars Volta fans who wanted to get up front when the Mule fans departed. 

When we finally made it out, all of the other stages and tents were packed.  We couldn’t get close enough to make out Elvis Costello, solo in That Tent.  We did hear the final Of Montreal tune, “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal.”  Forget about getting near This Tent for the Decemberists.  We decided to regroup at the campground, feed up and gather strength for an epic Saturday night at Bonnaroo.  Stopped for a song or two in the Troo Lounge from Jerry Hannan.  I really liked his bluesy, yet home spun delivery.  And it didn’t hurt that he had Hill Country Revue/North Mississippi Allstar Cody Dickinson shredding guitar with him.  We only stayed for a few tunes, though. T minus one hundred minutes till Springsteen tackles Bonnaroo.

Ed and I were a bit surprised by the length of the line to enter the front pit area for Bruce’s set.  We ambled toward the front, seeing if we knew anybody, grabbing a cold one at the concession stand near the front of the line.  Honestly, we were looking for ‘cuts’.  Unlike the previous night, where Phish fans mingled and allowed folks to join the line pretty much anywhere they were friendly, tonight’s early birds were very territorial.  One guy told us not to stand too close to the line, emphasizing that we weren’t in it.  It’s all good, there’s plenty of room in each of the two front pits. We got in with about fifteen minutes to spare.  We managed to get close to the center rail, not too far back.  Let the Boss begin!

Well, what can I say?  Springsteen and the E Street Band’s second festival appearance in their decade’s long career was legend.  Over three and a half hours long.  28 songs deep, several of them requests he ran out into the audience and grabbed.  Honestly, where else but at Bonnaroo would someone have a five foot tall full color Santa Claus poster, with “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” scrawled on it in black sharpie.  But to have Bruce go ahead and sing the late seventies holiday hit while it was still eighty degrees in June, (“It’s too f**king hot for Santa!” Springsteen shouted) well that was just too much. 
Bruce was down in the crowd on more than one occasion, at one time standing on the rail right across from me, holding the mike out for us all to join in.  During “Out In the Streets” he jammed a wild lead guitar in the space between me and those on the other side of the rail.  “Growin’ Up” was another request song the band flat out nailed for us.  Mid show, for “Radio Nowhere” and all songs to follow, the mighty Max Weinberg acceded his throne to his rightful heir, his eighteen year old son, Jay.  He drove the shit out of the E Street Band from that point on.  He seemed to breathe new life into “Lonesome Day” and “The Rising.”  
We got old Bruce (“Growin’ Up,” “Rosalita”).  We got new Bruce (“Outlaw Pete,” “Working On A Dream”).  We got Nils on fire during “Youngstown.”  Clarence nailing the solos every time, not just during “Thunder Road,” but every frigging one.  (He looked a bit frail, happy and exuberant, but frail.)  We got classic Bruce (“Born To Run,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”).  We even got to see Bruce re-enact his first video and make a tween in the front row’s dream come true by pulling her up on stage for a little two step during “Dancing In the Dark.”  Cover song:  Hard Times Come No More by Steven Foster.

And Bruce lived up to the ‘jam band’ festival theme, stretching several songs beyond eight minutes and allowing the band to have some fun with them.  By the time he led the girl off stage and back to her parents (I’ll bet her dad winds up with the harmonica Bruce gave her) the band was gone for good, my throat was raw from screaming and singing along and, like Bruce had said from the stage more than once that very night, “Bonnaroo never closes!”

Now, I have to tell you that at this point I put away the notebook.  The rest of the night (early morning actually, it was damn near one am) led between three different stages with three totally different bands. 

First off was Nine Inch Nails on the Which Stage.  Once again, getting anywhere near the front, even behind the soundboard, would have been a feat of balance that would challenge even the most agile in daylight.  But after standing almost four hours for Springsteen (and probably sleeping on the ground two nights in a row) I had aggravated my herniated discs and decided some pain medication was needed.  That said, I would hate to step on someone in the dark and drool on them in a vicodin stupor, so Ed and I stayed back by the Brooer’s tent and watched the show from the same vantage point we had seen the lightning show a couple of mornings ago.  This time the lightning was from the stage as we heard that this would be the last ever appearance in America of Nine Inch Nails.  I and my ever present bottle of water toasted the bands last show with Brother Ed and his Wakko beer. 

At two, we hustled over to That Tent and got a pretty good spot for MGMT by accident.  We thought it would be moe. and were surprised that it was so easy to get inside the tent, in front of the sound board again.  When we realized our (my) mistake, it was almost too late.  For the first time since I have been coming to Bonnaroo, the crowd for MGMT not only filled the tent and surrounding pastures, it filled the entire gap up to the business end of Centeroo, FULL.  People were dancing, crashing, shoe gazing, but definitely into MGMT.  It was difficult to make our way out of there. 

When we finally got to This Tent, moe was in full swing, improvising and playing it like it was the party that it was.   It looked to be another ‘see the sunrise’ kind of nights.  We had managed to corral our neighbors, Neal and Zan for most of the evening’s festivities and they followed us back to Camp Emperor.  I saw the inside of the tent and crashed hard.  Ed and the neighbors, on the other hand, tried to chase down one of their lost friends all the way to Camp Marty McFly. 

 I swear, next year I’m getting a canopy to provide shade for my tent.  By eight or nine in the morning, even on overcast days, it’s just too damn hot to sleep inside a tent in Tennessee any time after eight in the morning.  I’m up early again, no sound checks to wake me with some funk today.  Just the nasty hot and humid Tennessee morning sun.  time for another seven dollar shower. 
 Musically, the first thing Sunday morning was Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Revue.  Farris’ no holds barred delivery of some of the most heartfelt, gospel beauties was just perfect for a Sunday morning.  Talk about getting a second wind, this was how to get your morning started.  Forget about the energy drinks, through a rollicking hour at the Which Stage, I was ready to face the last full day of Bonnaroo music.  Really, leaving the front area after this show felt like when you leave the gym after winning a pickup game.  All adrenaline and endorphins, feeling really good about yourself and the rest of your world.  Thanks Mike, I needed that.

Once again gathering up Ed, Zan and Neal, we decided to limit our needless walking around for the final day of Roo.  We weren’t wussing out at all.  Neal had a bad knee and my back was fried, so we figured let’s lessen the damage and go easy on ourselves.  So a natural choice was to stay put for Citizen Cope.  This was the first time I had seen C.C.  To say they impressed me is an understatement.  Smooth and soulful, each song had melody and message intertwined with a tight, funky band delivering on cut after cut.  107 Degrees, with its extended solos really stood out. 

Robert Earl Keen was next on our list, close by at This Tent.  Zan really wanted to see this guy, so off we went.  This entire band was, if nothing else, dressing the part of the stereotypical country western bands.  Ten gallon hat on Keen, Stetsons on the others, snap button shirts, boots, kerchiefs, it was all there.  But the music was also pure country, America’s home grown music in the heart of Tennessee. 

We were on our way to check out Okervil River but got way laid by the Lovell Sisters on the sonic Stage.  Their bluegrass version of “Hey Joe” stopped us dead.  Three sisters, none older than 23, on fiddle, mandolin and dobro with Southern charm and chutzpa to spare these three really had the small stage audience eating out of their hands.  I had to stick around for a photo op and autograph.  Something tells me they will soar. 

Last up on our weekend must see list was Snoop Dogg at the main What Stage.  The air filled with smoke as he and his band took the stage at six.  Playing his hits, pandering to the crowd, extolling us all to spark up, this is what Snoop does well.  For ninety minutes he played head cheerleader from the stage, coordinating the sing along and call and responses, aided by his full band, three backup singers and two huge body guards, one on each side of the stage.  The one on our side had a large, red leather duffel bag under his shoulder, supposedly holding Snoop’s stash.  Didn’t need to find out for sure, as the possibility of a contact high, which was a pretty sure bet all weekend, hit a fever pitch during Snoop’s show.  I did make out Erykah Badu as she came out and joined in for a song, but it was difficult through the haze.  Really good vocal though. 

All too soon, it was over for another year.  We had decided earlier in the day not to stay for the final main stage act, Phish once again. Leaving earlier ensured us of a hotel room with real beds and showers, a meal of real food, eaten while sitting down and, more than likely making our noon flight out of Nashville.  Much as we try to deny it, comfort has become an issue after close to one hundred hours since leaving our homes.  Don’t get me started about the Waffle House waitress who forced us to consider White Castle burgers as a viable option for ‘real food’.  Murfreesboro had plenty of clean sheets and alarm clocks.  We made our flight without incident and resumed our normal lives in the next day or two.  We put away our Bonnaroo citizenship papers till next year.  361 days to go.  361 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes and some odd seconds till next Bonnaroo.  See you there!

Rock On Through The Fog~

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