Here's why an RV is key : 8AM Friday morning, when the sun is already baking folks out of their tents, I got up, closed the windows, and turned on the AC. I'm old and lame now, but it feels good to be so cool.
Started the day with some nice pancakes cooked up on a cam grill by our new friend Random Matt. Props to anyone who makes me breakfast.
Because of the rediculous heat we went with cranberry and vodka on ice in lieu of beer for the midday buzz. That, and some very tasty nugs.
Most of us made it into Centeroo by noonish to check out whatever we rumbled across. For me, that meant "James Blood Ulmer" in "This Tent".
He's sitting down witha guitar and backed by drums and bass. A very simple blues band arrangement. I'll give Ullmer credit though, he's a fairly unconventional player. He sings the blues in a straightforeward way, I believed him singing about "Katrina" even though he's from South Carolina and not New Orleans. Still, his guitar style was most interesting. Like the legendary Ornette Coleman (playing in the still overcrowded jazz tent) Ulmer has a sort of atonal and sometimes jarring guitar vibe. I took a second or two to get the hang of really...but we watched the entire set.
Here's what Jon Pareles at the New York Times said about Ulmer on his blog :
"In both blues and instrumentals, he loosed a new idea at each break: searing sustained lines, phrases that scurried into different keys, bent and wah-wahed notes, crunched funk chords. Each idea could have been the seed of a whole solo, but Mr. Ulmer kept coming up with more."
Sounds like praise to me!
I enjoyed it, and that's what matters on THIS blog post.
So, after Ulmer, I went back to the RV and did something I've never done at Bonnaroo before, something made possible by the glorious RV. I took a nap. Folks, Bonnaroo is all about the late night, I reccommend a nap.
I was up in time to do a little shakedown shopping (although I ended up just walking 2 RV's down for the fungus I needed) and then join the group, minus Uncle Ted, for the Roots at the What stage.
This may have been the best show of the weekend. A fantastic groove medly rap (was that Salt n' Pepa?) followed by a smokin' Bob Dylan cover (Masters of War starting to the tune of the National Anthem and grooving into a smoking guitar solo). Brotherman may or may not have peed himself a bit since he worshipps Dylan.
A good brass section too, headed by the AmBRASSador and a Sousaphone player called "Tuba Gooding Jr.".
Oh, and I enjoyed their rendition of "Roxanne" more than I'd enjoy the Police the following night.
I'm not a huge Rap guy, but if you get a chance to see the roots, DO SO.
BACK TO THE RV
Where the one person NOT at the Roots, Uncle Ted, had made us all T-Bones and Baked potatoes. Christ, that hit the spot. Plus it was a good base for fungus and the long walk back to catch the end of Tool and all of String Cheese.
I'll say this about "Tool"...incredible light show. Perhaps it was just my frame of mind, but I thought the lasers were pretty cool. It isn't my musical cup o' tea. Perhaps Brotherman said it best, "MAKE IT STOP!", after every song they played.
The real treat was next door, over at the Which Stage. String Cheese Incident is perfect for a man on a fungus excursion. I enjoyed it immensely.
Here's the setlist :
Set I: Outside Inside, Rollover, Can't Stop Now, Yo Se, Sometimes A River, Rain, Jellyfish, Just One StorySet II: Howard, Stayin' Alive, Best Feeling, Pack it Up, Love Is Like A Train, Little Hands, Bumpin' Reel, Drums> Howard, SearchEncore: Farther, Way Back Home
I loved it. Outside Inside and Rollover ahd just enough jammy groove to make me loose sense of my surroundings. Keller Williams joined the band for Stayin' Alive and Best Feeling.
Keep in mind guitar/vocalist Bill Nershi is leaving the band after this tour. So what we saw may never happen again. This was a highlight of the weekend.
You know to see Cheese when you can. I'll save the reccomendation. They were a highlight at Roo 2002 as well.
If I wasn't at work and had my pictures handy I'd show you the giant flourescent women dancing in the crowd. It prompted Uncle Ted to say my favorite line of the weekend, "Thank God for Creative Rediculous people!"
Thank God Indeed!