Large music festivals have swept the nation, allowing fans from across the country to see some of the years best touring performers in one weekend. Bonnaroo has been aggregating entertainment on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn. for the past 11 years.
It goes without saying that the festival is huge, having been named one of Rolling Stones 50 Moments that Changed Rock & Roll. This years lineup included more than 100 acts, ranging from Alternative rock, to dubstep, to hip hop.
With more than 50,000 other music lovers running around and many shows overlapping, its impossible to catch every show. The Oracle runs down some of Bonnaroos most memorable performances.
Tampa residents might have gotten a taste of Radioheads full-on sound and dazzling visuals when they visited the Tampa Bay Times Forum in February. They had the same stage setup, which consisted of levitating LCD screens that showed their performance in real time, except the scale of the whole performance was vamped up to match the magnitude of Bonnaroos main stage and the 50,000 people filling out the massive field in front of it.
But unlike the Tampa show, Radioheads Bonnaroo setlist included more of their older hits, including Kid A, The Gloaming and Paranoid Android. Perhaps the largest cheer came when frontman Thom Yorke dedicated the song Supercollider to Jack White, hinting at a possible future collaboration.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers Saturday
Most of the festival murmurs revolved around Radiohead and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Saturdays headliner lived up to the hype, serving up a jam band performance that acted as the raucous ying to Radioheads harmonious yang.
When the band wasnt blasting hits such as Dani California, Scar Tissue and By the Way, they were boasting their instrumental prowess at blistering speeds. Bassist Flea wowed the crowd with his grinding bass solos, while Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer kept pace on drums and guitar. Even lead vocalist Anthony Keidas showed off impeccable upper body strength, walking back and forth across the stage on his hands for a few minutes.
Foster the People Friday
As the sun set on Friday, Mark Foster and his indie-pop partners took the stage to perform their sole album. Though the 12-song set was one of the shorter performances of the weekend, the LA-based group moved the crowd with upbeat numbers like Helena Beat, Waste and Dont Stop (Color on the Walls). Equally as impressive as their music was Foster the Peoples stage setup, which featured a giant glowing sun and a panoramic LCD screen displaying waves of colors. The set ended with their finger-snapping, whistle-along hipster anthem Pumped Up Kicks, the song that catapulted them into stardom.
The Roots Saturday
Widely known as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots showed why they are one of the most compelling acts in hip hop. Their set started with a tribute to the late Beastie Boys MCA, covering their hit Paul Revere, and many of their songs evolved into soulful jam sessions.
Not until halfway through the set did the seemingly fatigued crowd match the energy of the best band in hip hop. A soulful rendition of their hit You Got Me led to a string of classic covers, including Sweet Child of Mine and a melding of The Roots hit The Next Movement with Kool and the Gangs Jungle Boogie.
Bon Iver Sunday
As the festival was winding down, gray clouds began to form around the main stage, and a light rain provided a serenity for Grammy-winning folk band Bon Iver. The atmosphere went along perfectly with the bands gentle harmonies and jazzy solos.
The band emphasized substance over style, with very few stage lights and special effects. Even their wardrobe suggested a laid-back temperament, with lead singer Justin Vernon donning a tank top and brown pants.
Just as impressive as the festivals music lineup was its stable of performing comedians,which included Aziz Ansariof Parks and Rec, Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock and Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords. Other less commercial, but just as talented joke tellers, such as Marc Maron and Steven Wright, rounded out the diverse comedy roster.
Maron catered to the crowd with a personal anecdote about tripping on shrooms at a Grateful Dead concert.
The laughter it induced proved the audience could easily relate to his hallucinogenic horrors.
Memorable moments worth mentioning
No Bonnaroo would be complete without a few surprises and unexpected guests. On Sunday, Kenny Rogers joined Phish on the main stage to close out the festival. The annual Superjam, which features band members from multiple groups, included a vocal performance by R&B singer DAngelo, who hadnt performed in the U.S. in more than 10 years.
Bonnaroo also got a dose of old school sound with performances by the Beach Boys and Alice Cooper. Cooper even surprised his audience by covering Lady Gagas Born This Way.
Polarizing yesterdays rock n roll was the new age electronic sounds of Skrillex, whose Saturday night set was by far the loudest of the festival and included a glowing spaceship on the stage.
Santigold redefined audience participation, when she invited most of the fans screaming in the pit to join her onstage. The result was a wild dance party that took up the entirety of the massive main stage. Mark Foster also interacted with festival-goers working as a disc jockey for the Silent Disco, a tent where patrons are given headphones to dance along to their own private nightclub.