A Random Summation of Bonnaroo

3 Dec
Only one jersey can be worn with pride 4 days in a row...

Only one jersey can be worn with pride 4 days in a row…

A blanket of humanity stretched a mile back and half-a-mile to the right and to the left. The canvass pulsated and spewed smoke from unknown orifices. A strange colony of organisms, living harmoniously to varied harmonies, with no specific purpose for its existence. The desire to feed itself and to maintain even the most minimal of hygienic standards had been flushed from its multi-surfaced body by incessant perspiration. This was something primitive, something raw; a microcosm for every stoner teenagers vision of Utopia. This was Bonnaroo.
Humidity can be dangerous. Especially if you have say, consumed a couple ecstasy pills and started pounding beers at 7 am. Perhaps the danger is lessened when this is performed at mom and dad’s house, or at the camp, or in a relatively small, safe environment, but these crazy assholes were in the middle of a sun-soaked field, shoulder to shoulder with 79,999 other, equally as warm, bodies. Needless to say, heat stroke was frequent and always, always disconcerting. Drugs are fantastic, but if you are going for one that heats your whole shit up, don’t do it in Tennessee…at noon…in a field…with no water. Do it at night…during GWAR…and freak the fuck out.
Disregard any perceptions of danger from the previous paragraph, for only those who covet stupidity for stupidities sake need fear their own judgment. For the vast majority of festival goers, the weather was perfect. The heat allowed for abundant nudity–both welcomed and unwelcomed–and made the filthy water spewing from the colorful cement mushroom in Centeroo, a glorious and beckoning monument to refreshment.
Bands do not experiment with set-lists at Bonnaroo. This is not the stage to try-out your new acoustic version of a previously perfect song, or the fresh new mix with Linkin Parks “worst rapper in the world” talking over your once pristine guitar solo. Every band seemed to play every song you would want to hear, in the order you would imagine it should be played. Incredibly, it would seem, everyone in the audience had the same exact set-list in mind, and mass-telepathy was being used to convey their desires to the band on stage. Kings of Leon even played “Where is my mind” by Placebo which just happened to be playing softly in my cranium as I entered Centeroo. How could they have known?

Manchester Orchestra was there as well.  And I enjoyed them.

Manchester Orchestra was there as well. And I enjoyed them.

Tenacious D emerged onto the stage in a flamboyant dress. Jaybles wore windpants and a t-shirt displaying a majestic bald eagle streaking across an evening sky, and KG’s swagger was undeniable in his short khaki shorts and pocketed, yellow t-shirt. Throughout the show the intrepid duo battled Satan; who threatened to “tongue-punch (Jack Black),” in his, “fart machine”, and a seven foot tall robot known only as “the Metal” who  joined the D on stage to tell the story of his many victories over different genres of music.  On various occasions during the show, I attempted to hit on a woman so far out of my league, I felt like a backup JV quarterback trying out for the Patriots.  Her boyfriend watched—unbeknownst to me—from directly behind me, bemused my attempts.  Luckily, Tenacious D was playing, and merriment ruled the day.  By the end of their set, the three of us were sharing drugs and alcohol and laughing jovially at my hopelessly ineffective seduction techniques.
I like rap. I kind of put it in the same category as Folk Music–which I also enjoy–because it’s mostly story-telling and spoken-word rather than just a series of pleasing, vibrations of some sort. I have always been a fan of lyrics and rap has more lyrics than any other kind of music…besides “club-hits” which are completely and un-apologetically, meaningless. However, most hip-hop concerts I had witnessed have been pretty lame. One person standing on three, stacked boxes, turning the tables, and one person on the front of the stage, waving his hand in front of his face, and taking too many breaths between lines. Jay-Z did none of these things… Jay-Z killed it. He is actually wanted in Tennessee for the murder of 80,000 unprepared hippies, who had their minds blown by the live band, and Brooklyn brand of showmanship.  The enthusiasm that he pumped through the throng of filthy onlookers had me lying to every person I met at the concert; “Yeah, born and raised in the BK..two blocks from Hova.”  As far as anyone was concerned, if I said I lived in New York, it meant New York City.  Who am I to say their horribly wrong misconceptions are in fact horribly wrong?
Bonnaroo is something else.  I view it as the archetype  of freedom as America’s youth views it.  No places to be, little to no law enforcement, music resonating from far off distances and women wearing very little willing to do a lot.  Even the lack of basic hygienic facilities is a relief to the man who for 5 days out of the week must fight every instinct in his body that cries out to remain dirty and comfortable, and takes that hypothermia-inducing, morning shower to look the part he must play in life.  Rarely, am I even concerned about the line-up at Bonnaroo.  The music is important but it is not what draws me to that massive empty field in the heart of hillbilly country.  No, the music simply provides atmosphere for a magnificent display of benevolence and coexistence not possible in the Real World as we know it.  It is worth pointing out that even with 80,000 people crammed in together with little to no allotment of personal space in titty-melting temperatures, I did not witness so much as an argument.


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