Jeff Sweatman

#Bonnaroo 2013 – Friday Corner recap!

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da!  Another great day of live music at Bonnaroo 2013!


Recorded a few updates from the backstage Radio Bonnaroo studios Friday morning, and after about an hour of frantic searching for my lost camera battery (it had fallen out of the charger and slipped through a crack into the bunk below me!), I was finally able to head out for Calexico a little before 2pm.  Since we are fairly close to the 2 biggest stages, even as I typed my blog entry & posted photos & looked all over for the battery, I could hear Trixie Whitley really going for it on the Which Stage and Tombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue had the crowd in a frenzy during their main What Stage set between noon and 1pm.  Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit are such a solid band, and it was nice to see them rewarded for years of steady touring & great songwriting with a spot on the Which Stage after Trixie and before Of Monsters & Men.  What a HUGE crowd for Of Monsters & Men, by the way!  The sound seemed to be a little soft for those way in the back, but by the end, the volume issues seemed to have been worked out (or maybe they were just playing louder songs!).


Caught several songs by the always-excellent Calexico, who was followed by the amazing Glen Hansard in This Tent.  Calexico covered “Corona” by The Minutemen & Love’s “Alone Again Or” and Glen even threw in a bit of “Respect” Otis Redding style with help from his band, which Friday included a few string and horn players providing very nice flourishes. Later in the afternoon, we happened to see Glen being interviewed live by the Chicago radio station that’s here too, but he was whisked out of the media area before we could get a pic with him!  I tired by Jack Johnson technique of the raised eyebrows & hand wave once we made eye contact…hopefully he saw my Pearl Jam bucket lid hat at least!  He’s been a frequent opening act for Eddie Vedder solo tours recently…


Grizzly Bear, Foals, Wilco, Amadou & Mariam all sounded great during their respective sets across the landscape late afternoon/early evening.  Foals had one of the most packed sidestage areas I’ve seen this year so far…and Wilco was joined by Calexico on “California Stars!”  Speaking of sidestage, there are different wristbands that go with different levels, and as we got ushered into the pit for Wilco by someone who had the top level wristband (he could bring 2 people into the show with him at a time), Joey Burns of Calexico was right behind us getting stopped for seemingly not having the right wristband!?  Then a few songs later, there he is, up on stage with Wilco, haha!  “Um, I kinda need to get through here…I’m with the band!”  Oh, and I did spot Wilco’s Pat Sansone scoping out Calexico’s set a couple hours earlier…


Before gearing up for Sir Paul, I wondered around for a bit of Wu-Tang Clan on the Which Stage, Jim James at This Tent (at least members of My Morning Jacket were in his band), and Conspirator at the farthest stage from our home base, The Other Tent.


Throughout the day, I caught a few songs here & there on a couple of the smaller stages…Rayland Baxter in the New Music On Tap Lounge, and Sea Wolf, Milo Greene & Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers on the Sonic Stage.  Some media folks staying on my bus were headed out to see Daniel Tosh in the Comedy Tent, but you had to stand in line 2 hours before his show (he was doing 2 sets) to get a ticket to get in to that air-conditioned tent!


Sir Paul was amazing, as hopefully you were able to see through the live webcast!  Lovely Rita, Helter Skelter, Get Back, Ob-La-Di, Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite…basically every song was a highlight!  And the Wings stuff sounded great too, like Junior’s Farm, 1985, Let Me Roll It, Hi Hi Hi…many people afterwards were talking about what an emotional experience it was too, and I certainly teared up a bit with “Maybe I’m Amazed” which he dedicated to Linda, “Here Today” which was for John, and “Something” for George.  Great video/picture clips on the big screen behind the band too, with rare intimate footage of Paul through the years really added nice touches throughout.


The XX sounded great once Paul was done after midnight back on the Which Stage, the hip-hop Superjam feat. DJ Jazzy Jeff, members of Wu-Tang Clan & Redman was super-funky & high energy, and as I drifted off to sleep back on the bus, the wub-wub-wub of Pretty Lights on the Which Stage was a fitting end to a pretty spectacular day at Bonnaroo!

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