Friday, July 8, 2011

Bonnaroo, Day #2

On the second day of Bonnaroo, I headed in at 11 with plans to make it to the 12:15 show of the New Orleans Allstars.  However, security had other plans for me.  I was wearing my 'party girl' hat so my vehicle got searched once again.  As did my backpack.  Which put a wrinkle in my plans!

But I did make it in time for Ben Sollee.  He can seriously rock a cello!  And here I was thinking cellos were only for the symphony.  I missed his show last year and was NOT going to miss him this year.  He is fantastic!  If you have never heard this guy, you need to!  A couple of my favorites are 'How to See the Sun Rise', 'Only A Song', and 'The Globe' - and that last one is live at Bonnaroo:)  And the video showcases the beauty of Bonnaroo - you never, never know who is going to show up where!

Next up was Justin Townes Earle, son of Steve Earle.  So much for me thinking that this year's lineup was heavy with rap artists because once again here is an Americana artist!  His music is like the perfect highway driving music - just enough rockabilly sound to keep things going.  One of my faves is Ain't Waitin'.  A highlight of his set was when he was joined onstage by Ben Sollee for 'Mama's Eyes'.  Friday was fast turning into one of my favorite Bonna-days!

I chose Abigail Washburn next.  Most of the crew headed to the main stage to see Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.  [And seriously, Grace Potter is fantastic!  But I had seen her before and for me, Bonnaroo is about seeing bands that I have never before seen.]  So I stuck with The Other Tent - it is my favorite tent:)  Abigail Washburn is known for her banjo picking.  And she is married to Bela Fleck (the foremost banjo player in the world - seriously, I'm not exaggerating!).  He also plays in her band The Sparrow Quartet as does Ben Sollee!  Seriously how could this not be fantastic!!  And I was not wrong.  They were awesome!  Banjo players truly amaze me and when you are talking banjo players of this caliber, it cannot be described.  City of Refuge is probably my favorite song by her.

Then I RAN to catch a short set by Bela Fleck.  His talent is beyond description!  Check out this video for a sample of his banjo picking live from Bonnaroo:)

Ray LaMontagne was next on the agenda.  He is a singer-songwriter.  He has a very raspy voice that adds such depth to his sound.  Most have heard one of his songs even if they don't know who he is - listen here and see if you don't recognize this from an insurance ad on TV.  One of his songs that I just love is his cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy.  His show was heavy with songs from his album, God Willing & the Creek Don't Rise - which happens to be a favorite of mine:)  If he is not on your iPod, he should be!

Then it was time to catch the end of Florence and the Machine.  I only caught the last 20 or minutes of this show.  The little I heard was good but their sound is a little too much toward the pop side of music and that's just not my favorite thing.

I moved on to the Del McCoury Band and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  Del McCoury is a bluegrass legend.  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a Dixieland jazz band based at Preservation Hall in New Orleans.  Join the two and you have a rompin', stompin' good time!  Seriously, The Incredible Woody does not dance and the world thanks her for it.  But I just could not sit still for this show!  Absolutely incredible show!

Then it was time to make my way to the main stage for the remainder of the set by My Morning Jacket.  Seriously, this band is just awesome!  I had seen them several years prior - for their 4-hour set!  But they never disappoint.  And apparently, another group of people made their way to the main stage as fast as I did because shortly after I arrived, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined them onstage for a couple of songs.  I seriously love lead singer Jim James' hair.  He has the perfect rock band hair - long, curly but without that greasy look that so many get.  His hair would blow in the breeze and when it was backlit by the stage lights, it is a look that I just love!  I'm Amazed is one of my favorites!

While making my Bonnaroo game plan, I had intended to RUN from the main stage after My Morning Jacket to catch the end of the set by Primus.  But after a full day in the heat, I was very content to sit on my blanket and rest a while.  While resting, we noticed that the sky was sparkling.  And no, we weren't hallucinating!  The sky was sparkling, like someone had dropped glitter across the sky.  Turned out someone had!  There were a dozen or so skydivers that dropped thousands and thousands of blue blinking lights.  It was magical!

Next was Arcade Fire.  They were really good and my favorite Bonna-story involves them but doesn't involve their music.  My friend, Robin, and her boyfriend were in charge of a beer tent.  Their beer tent was set just outside the main gate to the part where the stages are and is set up more like a bar, with tables, etc.  Late Friday night (or early Saturday morning, depending on your point of view) she and her boyfriend got on a shuttle that the vendors use to get in and out of the grounds.  There were already several people on the van and they all started talking.  She told the people about the place that they were working and told them they should come and hang out.  Then she told them "You should have come by last night because Arcade Fire was there hanging out with us" to which the other people on the shuttle replied " Uh. We were there.  We are Arcade Fire!"  Hahaha!!!  I just love that a Grammy winning band was riding the shuttle like all the rest of the little people and staying at the Comfort Inn.  I love when people are still down to earth in the midst of their fame!

All this and there are still two days to go!!


Snooty Primadona said...

Gawd, I so wish I was there. I could sit & listen to bluegrass, blues & jazz, all day & all night long.

I listened to all of your links & loved them. Ben Sollee sounded pretty cajun to me. I love it. Also enjoyed Abigail.

I've been to Preservation Hall many times. It's an experience no one should miss... even now.I think they're trying to incorporate the whole concept in the HBO series "Treme", where you can hear some of the best N'Awleans jazz ever.

And you've still got 2 days left? Man-oh-man...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow---you got to see and hear alot of great stuff, Woody.... I listened to Ben Sollee--and loved his music... ALSO listened to Abigail and loved hers. I'm a huge fan of bluegrass... Neat!!!!

Thanks for sharing.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Gosh...I would have loved this day with you. I love Bela amazing.
And when I read that you saw Ray heart jumped. I LOVE HIM so MUCH!!!!!!!

George said...

I admire your courage for acing the Bonnaroo crowds and traffic. But it definitely sounds as if it was worth it and you heard lots of good music. I definitely would have enjoyed Del McCoury and the Preservaton Hall Jazz Band.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Mental P Mama said...

Now I know lots of these...and I am officially jealous!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, probably so it is

Grandma J said...

Jealous! You are having way too much fun!

Tammy said...

Finally got a chance to sit and listen to your links! I would LOVE to attend Bonnaroo! Jim James and Eddie Vedder have very similar hair. When I first saw MMJ in 06 JJ's hair was really long and most of the concert he sang with it hanging in his face, haha! I loved listening to all that new (to me music) Thanks for sharing.