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I came home broke, unshowered, gross and exhausted. But I had the weekend of my life. If you can go to Bonnaroo and not feel like your life’s changed a little you did it wrong.
There’s something about existing in place where there are no concerns outside of music that is beyond incredible.
That said, by day 4, you’re bound to be exhausted, sore and flat out worn down. I woke up feeling a little like death. My back ached and my shoulders were on fire, but there were a few artists playing Sunday morning that I couldn’t wait to see.
We kicked our day off with a little bit of a country flair. One thing a lot of people at the buzz may not know about me is that I’m a big country music fan, and the artists we saw Sunday morning more than know there way around a good country song.
We started off with Lucero, a great Memphis style country band, who tread an interesting but great line between country and alternative rock. Lead singer Ben Nichols has the potential to be a great Nashville songwriter but thankfully opts to instead add his own gravely voiced touch to all of his brilliant country-rock songs.
Next we headed over to see Sam Hunt play a small, acoustic set. Sam Hunt is more well known for his songwriting credits, but he has more than enough ability to take over the country pop mainstream very soon. You may best know him for his song “Cop Car,” which Keith Urban has made a massive hit.
He played that song as well as other originals that have begun to grace country pop stations like The Highway on XM. He also has a slight alternative side to him and even puts hip-hop touches on his smart, crafty country songs.
From there we went to catch The Arctic Monkeys on the main stage. Getting close to the main stage is pretty difficult on Sunday as people congregate there, waiting for the night’s headliner. And it becomes even more difficult to reach when someone as great as The Arctic Monkeys are playing. The band sounded great as they played through a mix of their albums, relying heavily of course on their most recent album AM, which is one of my favorite albums from this year.
The Monkeys are so tight that the guitars seem to soar through the mix without much of a problem. Unfortunately, I think some of their sound got lost in the main stage mix, at least from where Joe and I stood, but for those who were close to the stage the set was probably mind blowing.
I headed over to see Fitz and the Tantrums from there. Despite the 91-degree heat, the band conducted their indie rock dance party without letting up. The band’s two lead singers bounced energy off of each other as their voices soared over top of the band’s mix of keys and saxophone. The unique instrumentation was refreshing in a week full of great guitar bands.
We soon went over to see a band that I was maybe the most excited to see during the weekend, Canada’s City & Colour. I’ve been a big fan of Dallas Green for a long time, and I was anything but disappointed when he opened with the gorgeous “Coming Home.” Dallas is one of those rare performers who doesn’t need to jump around or do anything crazy to be mesmerizing. His band of folk rock made quite an impression on the crowd who swayed along as if they were hypnotized. He even took a second to point out his appreciation of a Canadian flag adorning a pot leaf in the crowd.
I then caught a little bit of Wiz Khalifa’s set as the burnt out rapper put on an impressive performance for the crowd he invited to light up with him. Puffing on a joint, even taking a “motherfucking smoke break,” the pot-loving rapper fronted a talented band (appropriately named Kush and Orange Juice) through a great set, including songs from his first albums and recent mixtapes.
Then, along with the entire festival, headed to see the weekend’s final performance by the legend Sir Elton John. It was the 29th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so of course Sir Elton relied heavily on those songs, which the crowd, equal parts young and old, adored. No, Elton John can’t hit the same screeching falsetto notes that he used to, but his voice is as powerful as ever and he brought his incredible songs to a couple very appreciative generations. 20 year olds an 60 year olds a like shouted along to his hits “Your Song” and “Crocodile Rock” as he brought the weekend to a flaming conclusion. The most amazing thing was just how appreciative the legend was to be closing out the festival. He constantly bowed and muttered thank you’s reminding the crowd just how happy he was.
And with that, the weekend neither Joe or I will ever forget came to a close.