Monday, June 14, 2004

Bonnaroo day 3 and day 4

So when we left off we were sitting in our car waiting for the rain to stop. Well it didn't. It took nearly two hours for the rain to let up. Galactic went on about an hour and half late and we were able to listen from the car. We cracked the windows and heard their entire set. Towards the end of their set the rain stopped and we ventured back out.

When we left Atlanta we picked up a couple of hooded rain ponchos as suggested by the Bonnaroo "to bring" list. We thought we had picked up some white ponchos with an Atlanta Falcons logo on it. Once we opened the poncho up it turned out that we were a walking advertisement for the Atlanta Falcons. And we don't even watch football. So imagine the spectacle, a bunch of muddy and wet hippies that have no care for corporate america and then we walk in with bright white atlanta falcon rain ponchos. Helmets were all over it, we looked ridiculous and couldn't stop laughing at ourselves. And then to rub salt in the wound as we walk over to The Dead some guy stops me and says Atlanta huh... I hate you. He shot me the finger and mumbled something about how "our team" beat his. I think he said he was Minneapolis, I don't even know who "we" beat. Oh well, off to the Dead.

The one thing I didn't think about is dirt and rain brings mud. Lots of mud. The festival grounds were a mess. It took us nearly 30 minutes to make a trek that normally took us 10-15. We got to the VIP bleachers just as the Dead went onto the stage. We didn't know what to expect, considering this was our first Dead show. All I can say is we were in full people watching mode. There was this one man or woman (we couldn't tell) that was dancing around in the most uncoordinated way. Imagine a cross between Elaine from Seinfield combined with fat Monica from Friends and then a little chicken dance thrown in for good measure. This was as entertaining as the show itself. We must of watched this person for half an hour.

The Dead's first set lasted about an hour. You could tell they were good, and the crowd was into it but it was a little too mellow for Jacki and I. Warren Haynes was the best part of their set. Since Jacki's getting bored she says hey lets leave and head back towards our camp. As we were walking down the stairs to the grounds The Dead says were going to take a quick break. So instead of quietly sneaking out of their set we are back in the crowd of 90,000+.

It took us about 30 minutes to get back and we headed for the Primus stage. We got there about midnight in anticipation of a 12:30am show. Primus had their full stage set up and were in the process of having their video screens and props placed on the stage. About 12:15 we looked all set to go. A Johnny Cash cd was playing over the PA and was good music to hold us over. I think it was the American III cd, covers of I Won't Back Down, One, and some others. We heard about 40 minutes worth of music and it was pushing about 12:40 now. Then the cd started over. Then another 40 minutes and Jacki says I'm outta here. She goes back to the camp and I'm sitting in the bleachers soaking wet and cold, and then the cd starts over yet again!!! Then the crowd started yelling change the cd. So they did. About 1:15 or so they change the cd and the crowd thought they were about to come out. It felt like easily another 30 minutes or so and then they finally came out. Our tent was only about 100 yards away from the stage so Jacki was awoken by the crowd and the band.

Primus was playing the second largest stage and it looked as though the entire crowd from the Dead had come out for this set. It was solid people as far as the eye could see and Les Claypool even commented on it. I stayed for about an hour of the set and after hearing Jerry Was A Racecar Driver I decided to head back to camp. I was about to fall over from being so tired. In fact, while in the bleachers I nodded off briefly, would wake up, wonder where I was would see I was at a concert and then I would spaz because I'd then notice all of these people sitting right next to, in front of, and behind me. After the 2nd or 3rd time of doing this I headed back to camp.

I don't know what time it was but I got back to camp probably around 3am as the drum solo was finishing up. And then I was out. Rumor has it Adrian Belew showed up for the end of the set, but I'll just have to wait for the bootleg.

The next day we got up and went to see de SoL. They were awesome! Lots of energy and a cross between Rusted Root and Santana. Lots of percussion and great vocals. They also had guitar and keyboards. The guys we met the day before were the drummer (drum set) and the lead guitarist. They have an album coming out in August so be sure to check it out.

After their set we ate some lunch and headed back to the camp to cool off. We heard about a 45 minutes of Taj Mahal and then we headed over to see moe. It was hot, but we learned our lesson at Govt Mule. We brought an umbrella for shade. We sat through to the end of their set and then headed back to one of the tents for Maroon5. On our way to the tent we stopped by Cat's Music the cd store on the grounds and I picked up some more discs of some of the artists we had seen. I asked someone to hand me the Maroon5 cd and they said have you heard. They canceled. So I put the cd back and found Jacki sitting and listening to Antigone Rising. I mentioned that Maroon5 cancelled but I wanted to confirm so I headed over to their tent and sure enough the sound guy said the singer blew out his voice and they canceled their show.

It was now about 6pm and we made a decision to head back home and get out of the mud pit. We were able to hear David Byrne singing "Once In A Lifetime" from the camp. So I started doing my best David Byrne impression by chopping my arm from the elbow down to the wrist.... same as it ever was... Yeah whatever that means.

Once we got to our car our neighboring campers told us that another big storm was heading in with hail and gusts of up to 60 mph winds. Well whatever motivation was left for seeing Trey Anastasio was lost and we packed up. On our way out I asked one of our neighbors to give me his email address so he could turn me on to some good Trey shows. And then he gets excited and runs back to his car and emerges with multiple Trey shows. He explains that some friends he had planned to meet up with at Bonnaroo didn't show so I was able to take my pick of a couple of shows.

We left about 6:30 and got on our way. It was an uneventful ride home, although we could see a lot of Bonnaroo cars on the road. And right around 8:30 Bonnaroo time we put in one of the Trey shows to carry us back into Atlanta. When we got home the first thing on the list were showers. No more mud, and no more sulphur water. Monday is a day of rest and Tuesday is back to reality...

When it was all said and done, we saw or heard 20 bands over 3 1/2 days and got to see first hand what a crowd of 90,000 people looks like. It was a lot of fun albeit very tiring. The heat and the mud weren't fun but after talking to other bonnaroo'ers it is a part of the experience.

New bands we were turned onto include Kings Of Leon, de SoL, My Morning Jacket, and Los Lonely Boys. We ended up leaving with their cds in hand. Now we can look forward to next year, and we'll be sure to bring the rain boots.

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