At the first Bonnaroo I showed up with my wife and a tent. We met up with good buddies from Kentucky and Chicago who were in a hurry to break camp. Long story short, I showed up with nothing but a tent and a spare T-shirt. No beer. No headies. No cash for spares. I mooched a good bit but it was a pretty pathetic scene.
When I went back in 2004, with my wife, brother, and his wife, we had about 7 gallons of booze and enough beer to cause a blackout in Germany. I spent weeks preparing for the camping scene and was thwarted again when we were camped next to the porta-crappers. By Saturday, when the monsoon hit during Steve Winwood's set, I'd been crippled again. Here's a good '04 pic of brotherman and tinysis :
Dear reader, it wouldn't happen again.
This year I was golden by December.
There were 7 in our group. My wife and I, my brother and his wife, random Matt and Julie, and my buddy Uncle Ted from Boston. Brotherman rented an RV, a bigass Fleetwood Tioga. We rode it out in style.
I'm done with non-RV Roo.
I'm done with non-RV Roo.
We finally pulled into the site at about 5:30 or 6. We had a super-secret backroads route that brought us in through GUEST access into a primo spot without a line. Being a media-type has it's rewards. By 9 we'd hit Centeroo.
After the requisite stumble around a gawk (and after being turned away from the overcrowded jazz tent where we'd gone to see Lou Donaldson), we hit "This Tent" for the second half of "MUTE MATH". I was drawn like a moth. The lead singer plays the keytar. THE HONEST-TO-GOD-KEYTAR! WOW!
I thought it was semi-groovy. The younger types certainly enjoyed it and random Matt thought it was awesome. I should add, though, random Matt enjoyed every show he watched. He and I mde our way a good bit closer to the stage, more often than not, than anyone else in the group.
I'll give MUTE MATH credit for this much, they made a solid effort at stagecraft. They had these long pillars of flourescent lights behind the band on stage. As the show wrapped up, they broke the whole shebang. Plus, I think the little fella playing keytar threw his instrument to the crowd. In summary, if MUTE MATH is at a local bar that you already enjoy going to, I'd check it out.
After the breadkdown the entire group of 7 made it's way over to "That Tent" to score a premium spot for Rodrigo y Gabriela. That meant watching the last half of "The National". Here's my review of the national as imagined in the head of someone actually watching them while waiting for a great show, "Jesus Christ! Another song! Get of the GodDAMN stage already".
And that was "The National".
"Rodrigo y Gabriela" hit the stage at midnight. I was kinda bummed really, because the were on at the same time as Tea Leaf Green which I also planned to see. We went with Rod y Gab because I already own a bunch of Phish bootlegs and watching a decent band try to clone a great band is less exciting than something new and original every time.
"Rod Y Gab" are an acoustic guitar duo. Random Matt calls them Dueling Mexicans. That's fair enough. Gabriela plays with a very percussive slap and, in fact, is often just slapping the wooden frame of the guitar itself. Rod is a sorta flamenco type of thing but is one helluva picker. I'd put it in sort of heavy metal/folk camp.
If "Rod y Gab" are playing in your hometown, go see them. In fact, if they're playing withing 60 miles, I'd make the drive.
Thursday is a sorta half-assed day. The music doesn't start until after dinner.
This place is a lot more crowded than in years past. Superfly claims to have sold another 80,000 tickets. That's on par with past years, but I don't remember it being this packed in everywhere.
Central Tennessee, the home of Bonnaroo, is in an extreme drought. Bonnaroo is on a dirt farm. The dust was so intense and thick it was like living in a very dense fog for days. Of course, fog is water vapor. I spent 4 days breathing pure dirt. I still have a cough.
Friday is a bette day for music. Perhaps the best show of the weekend happened Friday evening.
Saturday was NUTS.
Sunday was overcrowded with great tunes.
Part 2 in a day.