Aw shoot, it was my first Bonnaroo this year. And they sold way too many tickets. During his set Macklemore shouted "It's official... Bonnaroo just BEAT COACHELLA!!!"
As the lowest on the wristband status chain (aka GA), my friends and I found it incredibly difficult to get close to some of our favorite bands.
On Thursday we managed to push and shove our way up close for WALK THE MOON...
But their set followed a DJ set; we had to stand through Araabmuzik and honestly, I wish there was a way to just completely cut that memory out of my mind... like please give me one of those Men In Black devices. I guess I'm just not an EDM fan. I like to see more than just a guy at a DJ booth on stage; put some people with instruments and singing voices and some actual musical talent up there. And what's the point of the extra dudes on stage jumping around in tank tops, taking iPhone photos of the crowd? Are they "pump up-ers?" Do I just not get the EDM culture? Probably not. Rant over. At least those fans leaving helped us get closer.
After WALK THE MOON was Purity Ring but we were done. My friend was about to pass out. But, as we were making our way out, people were pushing so hard toward the stage that we thought we were going to get stuck. You know how, in training, football players run into those tall red pads and try to push them as hard as they can? (shut up, I don't know sports) Well that was me, pushing myself into the guy in front of me to try and get out of the rabid Purity Ring stampede. My friend dropped something and when she reached down to try and grab it she was nearly trampled.
Maps & Atlases. They were great. We were just so tired, running on three hours of sleep with no caffeine and we don't do drugs.
Next up in the New Music on Tap Lounge was Capital Cities.
So we were exhausted. Obviously. But somehow Capital Cities got us energized. It was like musical caffeine. I felt like my body was just taken over, and sure enough they had the crowd taking their shirts off and swinging them around above their head, including us (relax, we had bikinis on). They had us imitating their choreography and dancing along to songs we didn't even know; so when they started their hit "Safe And Sound" everyone went absolutely nuts. After their set they got cheered back on for an encore and it was just one huge dance party with a fun "Safe And Sound" remix.
That was probably the most fun we had all weekend. I know; crazy, right?
On Friday we tried to see Of Monsters and Men but the Which Stage was so packed that we couldn't even get close enough to hear them clearly. So we gave up.
Headed over to see Passion Pit. They're always fantastic, but their fun lights were a bit pointless in the daylight. :(
We went to get a $10 quesadilla before seeing Wilco, who didn't play a single song I knew. Disappointed.
But we were waiting it out for Sir Paul McCartney, near some older folks who had set up camp earlier with their small chairs and Abbey Road t-shirts.
We may have had the most fun seeing Capital Cities, but seeing Paul McCartney was like nothing I've ever experienced. Being a music journalist sometimes I wish I could travel back in time to when The Beatles were at their prime, so I could just be there and soak it all in. But I was seeing an actual Beatle, a legend!
Even the guys behind us who were big dubstep and EDM fans were excited.
By far my favorite set of the weekend.
More photos here: http://amberstokosa.com/livemusic/bonnaroo2013
One of the things we wanted to do but never got a chance to was go to the Comedy Tent. We wanted to see Daniel Tosh and Bob Saget, but as we walked up there was a gigantic line, but it was moving fast so we waited in it. When we got to the front a member of the Roo Crew was yelling "this show is SOLD OUT!" We were confused so he explained that you have to get tickets for the comedy shows. We tried to get tickets for Bob Saget a couple days later but even the line for tickets was insanely long. Not worth missing good music.
On Saturday we stood in the shade to watch Lord Huron. Such an AMAZING band, probably my new obsession.
So here's a question for you: who puts Tallest Man On Earth, Frank Turner, and Portugal. The Man at the same time?? Bonnaroo.
I wanted so badly to see Frank Turner ("It's a long road up to recoveryyyyy from here!") but we wanted to get a good spot for Portugal. The Man, so we just went there instead. Met a guy with beautiful hair, made some arnold palmers, and then watched Portugal. The Man play "Dayman" from hit TV show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia AND watched Weird Al join them for a tune on the accordion.
The Other Tent was packed for Matt & Kim, so we stayed until we heard "Cameras."
Got another $10 quesadilla and went to get a good spot for The Lumineers. They are so much more energized live than they sound on their album! They got in the crowd for a tune, which was on the exact opposite side of the crowd as us.
One of the main reasons my friends were excited for Bonnaroo was Mumford & Sons. We're all glad that Ted is doing better now, but here's my little secret: when Jack Johnson was announced as Mumford's replacement I was actually more excited. I've only seen both bands live once, but Jack Johnson has a place in my heart and his music brings back great memories and makes me feel happy all over. We were incredibly far away from the stage for his performance but that didn't stop me from singing loud and dancing a lot.
Also there were fireworks. Did I mention that??
Then we were lame and tired so we just went back to camp.
On Sunday my friend was super pumped to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I like a couple of his songs but I'm not that into hip hop.
I had so much fun. So much! Macklemore is so energetic on stage and I found myself jumping up and down with my hands in the air in the 88-degree muggy-ness.
I realized that it was his lyrics that got me. He raps about s#!@ that actually matters.
We went to get another $10 quesadilla and get a good spot for Edward Sharpe, while being incredibly entertained by some kids on molly, dancing around like crazy among a further-back crowd of sitters.
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros' Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos went into the crowd and asked fans to tell them stories. One fan said he was diagnosed with a form a lukemia that he's finally rid of, so as everyone cheered Ebert took the fan to the stage and gave him a tambourine. It made me grin from ear to ear. What a great guy.
So I'm one of those people that gets pretty star struck around actors. Musicians though, not really. I could meet Paul McCartney himself and not have to fan myself or force words out of my mouth.
I once met Katherine Heigl and was like "Oh my gosh guys, she's right there! What do I do, what do I do! Oh my gosh I LOVE her!"
Anyway, although Bluegrass isn't my favorite, I was pumped to see Ed Helms in person, as you can imagine. Even standing back by the mix/sound board area I was a little star struck. But they were great! Ed Helms truly has musical talent.
And finally, it was time for Tom Petty. And it poured. So much so, we had to break out the ponchos.
Someone in front of me was either having a bad trip or was about to faint; I felt like if I accidentally bumped into her I would knock her over. But once she left I could put my hands up and jump around with no worries.
To my disappointment Tom Petty did not play "You Don't Know How It Feels." I was waiting for it all night. But he played the rest of his classics, including "American Girl," "Last Dance With Mary Jane," "I Won't Back Down," and of course "Free Fallin."
Good memories with those songs too.
What a great weekend. Exhausting, but great.