So another year at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has past and memories have been made by all who attended this year’s event in Manchester, Tennessee. For the first time since attending my first Bonnaroo, we arrived early Wednesday right before 10 PM which apparently was the best time to come since there was an issue between 10:30 PM (Wednesday) – 7:30 AM (Thursday) for those arriving in line on the interstate. Whatever the problem was… you all made it in despite the long night in line. By now the dreaded ‘Bonnablues’ have set in and the focus is now on the possibility of who will play the 15th anniversary of Bonnaroo in 2016.
To keep the focus positive as we all await next June, remember what Bonnaroo is all about- radiating positivity and maintaining the friendships (no matter where they may live) made on the Farm. I am sure you have already began compiling your wish list, I know I have started already. But enough about next year’s speculation, let us revisit this amazing weekend which has left us with so many great performances by a multitude of talented artists and bands. I am sure we all have our favorite performances and have bragged to our friends who did not attend about what they missed. Today I want to discuss what moved me the most this year from five artists/bands over this four-day weekend.
My Bonnaroo Top 5:
5. Run the Jewels– Well I really do not have to clarify why these guys made my Top 5 or do I? I mean it is Run the Jewels and by now if you have not heard of them… welcome back to the real world and try not to go back under that rock anymore. After releasing two superb albums, Run the Jewels (2013) and Run the Jewels 2 (2014), to critical acclaim from music critics worldwide, these two hip-hop geniuses were destined to own the stage at Bonnaroo on Friday night. Killer Mike, even with one arm in a sling, and El-P basically captivated the audience for the duration of their show with various tracks from their fairly recent but soon to be classic catalogue. I would be surprised if they are not invited back to play the Farm again after next year is complete. Enjoy this official recording of their Friday show under This Tent at Bonnaroo and decide for yourself. https://youtu.be/1qbCb6ue7tU
4. Courtney Barnett– Honestly, I was not sure what to expect from Courtney Barnett’s performance. I knew her sound and was familiar with her recordings but chose to stay away from any live performances until Bonnaroo. Man was that a damn good idea if I must say so. Two words can best describe what I felt during her blistering performance- BLOWN AWAY! So raw and so much energy but not just from Ms. Barnett herself. The entire band blew the crowd away with each track from her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. I found a recording of this performance for you to enjoy and decide for yourself if I am correct in my statements. https://youtu.be/z4EA9wWF6lY
3. Sturgill Simpson– If you were here instead of Jaime XX or The War on Drugs, then you know exactly why I listed Sturgill in my Top 5. This was not the first time that I have seen this man lay it down and it will not be the last. I met so many people at this show who never really liked country music. The only thing I told them is you may have not listened to Real Country before and get ready to pick up your jaw. That is when you know someone is pretty special as an artist. I even brought someone along to the show who had never heard of him nor was a country fan. She immediately knew why I ‘dragged’ her to the show and texted her father about him while he performed. I am glad you let me ‘drag’ you to this plus a myriad of other shows Samantha. (No video has been posted at the time of writing this article.)
2. Glass Animals– I know that if you attended this set but were not lucky enough to get under the tent, the bass was too much for those outside the perimeter and the vocals were muffled. For those of you who fall into this category, enjoy this recording found on YouTube by someone who attended. It is the closest thing now to feeling the energy and good vibes that permeated throughout the crowd as Glass Animals went through a spirited set of songs from their album, Zaba. That sing-a-long with “Gooey” though… I think the entire audience under the Tent was in complete unison. This gave me goosebumps and placed a permanent smile upon my face for the rest of the night on Thursday. So much win! https://youtu.be/vkmHWHbEDOs
1. D’Angelo and the Vanguard– Since the release of his debut album, Brown Sugar (1995), this man has been on my bucket-list to see live. Although the set started 30 minutes after the rescheduled time, this was one of those times when you cannot rush excellence. Patience was indeed a virtue to possess and those who waited around for this show left feeling elated and very pleased. D’Angelo and the Vanguard played a collection of older tracks from his first two previous albums (Brown Sugar and Voodoo) plus some from the latest release entitled, Black Messiah (with the Vanguard). The fact that this set went against such artists as Bassnectar and Flume plus the SuperJam!, I was surprised to see as many people who attended his performance. This was my most memorable performance of this great weekend on the Farm. (The only video that was available of this performance on YouTube was removed just recently due to copyright infringement.)