Monday, June 15, 2009
Bonnaroo Day 4: Sunday
With Sunday came the anticipation for a large finale. With Phish closing out the weekend, as well as an appearance by The Dead's Warren Haynes with Gov't Mule speculation ran wild that with the slew of guest appearances, a Grateful Dead and Phish union would be in order.
Dillinger Escape Plan
The New Jersey hardcore band, which had joined Nine Inch Nails on stage the previous night opened up a slew of metal performances for the day, which would later include Shadows Fall and Coheed & Cambria gracing the same stage. Despite playing earlier the band riled the crowd to mosh pit levels, standing aloft on boxes while hammering the crowd with rapid time shifts and belligerent screaming. While the group provided the crowd with a spastic energy, the lead singer even diving into the crowd, most of the group's songs over time proved indistinguishable though they imparted some useful knowledge including the universal truism "it's never too early to rock for roll."
While Todd Snider was entertaining the tent crowd with stories of his own psychedelic transformation and missed football practices, Citizen Cope kept a large audience rapt with his simple R&B influenced brand of rock. His soulful voice seldom missed a note as he went from soothing wailing to middle-eastern chanting. Citizen Cope proved the right fit for the slow Sunday atmosphere, with many lounging on the lawn, tired from the weekend's whirlwind of events.
Opening up with "Plus Ones" off 2007's "The Stage Names" Okkervil River showcased a set constituting mostly older material. The Austin, Texas indie act's frontman, Will Shef strained his vocal chords to the max belting out his intricate lyrics over danceable trumpets, while frequently acting apologetic for the band's soft songs. Though the crowd did not seem to mind as it only grew with time, no doubt incited by the group's tight live reproductions and witty song introductions like "this song is about jumping off a bridge."
Elsewhere Andrew Bird whistled his way through a tight set complete with a showcasing of his clear singing, and violin virtuoso-ship. Backed by swirling gramophones Bird was determined to provide an old-time feeling to his set, which was capable of both breathtaking quiet and mounting soundscapes.
Free from the burden of being the only hip-hop emcee whose legend has been marred by his recent reality show status, Snoop Dogg seemed at ease, if a few minutes late to his main stage evening set. Opening with strong song selections including "The Next Episode," "Gin 'N Juice," and Akon hit "I Wanna F*ck You," Snoop made many shout-outs to the ladies and proved adept at working the crowd. At times using anything to get a reaction including shout outs to fellow rapper Tupac Shukur and even turning the crowd on itself with a mini east coast, west coast chant battle. Eventually Snoop was joined on stage by Erykah Badu, fresh from her set on the stage earlier, the two collaborating on a few tunes however it was not the last collaboration of the day.
It seems few attendees left Sunday night, as most were intent on seeing the reunited Phish for a second time in three days. Armed with their signature light show and wild crowd which brought everything from beach balls to inflatable octopuses, Phish jammed out for an extended time on songs like "Tweezer" and "Gotta Jibboo." Phish proved a satisfying live act, with all four members showcasing their jamming abilities, evening welcoming Bruce Springsteen onstage to showcase his own. The Boss fronted Phish through a series of classics including "Mustang Sally" and "Glory Days." And while this might not have been the super collaboration many Phish fans and deadheads had been hoping for, there's always next year.