Hurple Hoopla

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My 2010 Bonnaroo Adventure - Part 3

No hippies were injured in the writing of this report. However, three emus, a humpback whale, and a chickpee weren’t quite so lucky.

We woke up on Saturday at 9 a.m. when the tent again heated up to the approximate same temperature that you use to cook a frozen pizza in a toaster oven. Hmmmm, that would be a good experiment for next year, if I get to go again. I’ll plop a frozen pizza down in the tent and see how long it takes to cook.

So, we got up, got ready, and, again, left the grounds and went to my parent’s house for the morning S’s and breakfast. The best part of this is that, with one exception mid-day Friday when I just *had* to do a poo, we’d been able to hold our bodies together enough that it was timed just right that we could expel our refuse each morning at the house and not need another break until the next visit to the house. Well, mostly. I think my lovely wife had to stop at the Guest Hospitality portables once Friday night.

And, that is an important part of Bonnaroo, finding any way possible to avoid using the portable facilities. Those things can scar you for life.

Our plans for Saturday were to first catch Conan O’Brien in the comedy tent. Yeah, right. We got back to the site and walked the few yards that separated our campsite from the comedy tent (eat that, General pass holders!) and found a line that stretched on seemingly forever. We walked around a little, then noticed there was a *second* line, leading to another entrance that was just as bad. Uh-oh that didn’t look good. I stopped and asked one hippie-dude in line what was up and he said it was the line for ticketholders to get in. Ticketholders? What? Oh, they had people lining up at 8 in the morning, so they gave everyone who came by a little placard with a number on it. The guy I was talking to was number 2518. Okay, so no way we’d be getting in to see Conan’s show. (Unfortunate, too, because we heard the finale from our campsite, later in the day, and heard Jack White doing “Seven Nation Army!” Damn! Damn!! Damn!!!

Oh well, instead we went over to the What Stage and caught Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Our neighbor campers turned out to be that act’s booking agent and his, um, wife, girlfriend, something. I know he told us, but I forgot. They were nice people and we’d said if we got the chance, we’d go see the show. It was very good. Very, very good. Great stuff.

Then we hung around at the What Stage for the beginning of Jimmy Cliff’s set. He arrived onstage, to a bouncy beat supplied by his backing band, wearing leather pants and a bright yellow fireman’s jacket. It was easily over 100 degrees in that hot summer Tennessee sun. How could he take more than a few steps in that heat, in that outfit without keeling over dead from a heat stroke? Oh, that’s right, he’s from Jamaica, so 100 degree Tennessee heat probably felt like a frigid winter day to him.

Anyway, joking aside, his voice was still in fine form and the setlist for his performance was classic after classic. This was a legendary performer giving a legendary performance.

So, of course, we had to leave early.


I wanted to get back to That Tent in time to catch a new British folk band named Mumford & Sons. That may sound like a strange thing to want to see bad enough to leave a Jimmy Cliff performance early, but only to those who’ve never heard the Mumford & Sons album, “Sigh No More.” We got to That Tent about 15 minutes before Mumford & Sons were scheduled to take the stage to find… the crowd was HUGE! Seriously, it was FAR larger than I expected it to be for a new British band that had only one album out so far. The crowd was a surprise for the band too, apparently, as after the first song, all Mumford said was, “There’s a lot of you.”

I wonder what it’s like for a band that’s used to playing to, at most, a few hundred people to walk out at Bonnaroo and find themselves staring at a few thousand?

Luckily, Mumford & Sons were the last band we wanted to see for awhile. The next thing on our agenda was a few hours’ break followed by Weezer in the early evening. So, we would be able to spread our blanket, sit outside the main crowd, and enjoy the band’s performance. Or, at least, we could have if it hadn’t started raining. ARGH!

Now, the rain shouldn’t have messed up that plan at all, and it didn’t for 99.9% of the rest of the audience. But, I had a brand new $200 video camera that I had won from Wired Magazine, and a $350 digital camera that I paid for out of my own pocket with me, and no waterproof case for either. So, we fleet footed it back to our tent with me doing everything I could to protect the electronics.

I guess it worked, as both devices are still functional.

But, we missed the Mumford & Sons performance of Wagon Wheel with the guys from Old Crow Medicine show and Dave Rawlings.

Boo rain!

Oh yeah, and as soon as we got back to the tent, the rain stopped.

Boo rain!

We grabbed some waterproof baggies and stuffed them into our backpacks, just in case, then headed over to Guest Hospitality to grab some food. Yummy!

Then, it was out to the Guest Seating area for the Which Stage to wait for Weezer.

We arrived about 40 minutes early and watched the crowd gather. It was a fun show. Weezer has a sort of odd, hyperactive nerd coolness about them that serves the band, and their material, well in a live setting. But, mostly, I was there, missing both Jeff Beck and John Prine, I might add, because my wife is a huge Weezer fan and I wanted her to get to see her favorite of the weekend’s acts, too. I mean, I’ve gone 42 years without seeing Jeff Beck or John Prine live, I guess I can go 42 more.

After Weezer, we traversed through the backstage area back over to the main stage to grab seats for Stevie Wonder. But, as we exited the gate into the crowd, we decided to turn around and just head back to Guest Hospitality, which was right behind the main stage, and just watch Wonder on the monitors. You see, the Weezer performance ended at the same time that Stevie Wonder was supposed to be starting, so our usual routine of arriving 30 minutes or so early to avoid the last minute crush of crowding was not an option for Wonder’s performance. And let me tell you, that 30 minutes or so makes a HUGE difference in navigating the space. Neither of us wanted to fight through that crowd to try to find somewhere to sit and see the show, especially when we had an air conditioned tent with video monitors just a few steps away from us.

After Stevie Wonder, we went back to our tent and took a nap. We had absolutely no interest in Jay Z, at all. In fact, I’m still even wondering how he even got asked to perform at Bonnaroo. I guess the invitation to a real artist with real talent got lost in the mail or something. Man, U2 would’ve been amazing to see in this slot. Hell, even Barney would be better at Bonnaroo than a no-talent wannabe loser like Jay-Z. He has no business appearing anywhere within 100 miles of anybody who has any actual musical ability or talent, because he sure ain’t got none himself.

Anyway, we slept through that, so that we could get up at 2:00 a.m. to see GWAR! They were entertaining, but the lead singer needs to get over his preoccupation with raping babies. That seems to be all he would talk about between songs. Also, guys, when Tenacious D does a routine just one night earlier as a joke during their set, it’s not wise to do the exact same thing as a supposedly serious set-piece, even if you guys have had it as a regular part of your act for years. Oh wait, that’s right, when you beat the giant robot, yours sprayed goo out into the audience. The robot that Tenacious D beat didn’t do that.

Sorry, I guess it’s not the same routine at all.

Fun show, though.


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