The sun woke us up this morning. It became burning hot inside our tent at about 7:00am. Outside, many campers were already milling around planning the long day ahead of them. At 11:30am we attended a short media orientation session and then split up.
Eleanor went to see Sharon Van Etten play at the Which stage. She said once the singer/songwriter got warmed up the show was fairly indicative of Van Etten’s sultry style. Meanwhile, I prepared to do an interview with Freelance Whales and cursed my misfortune of having to miss a set by Phosphorescent to do so. That Willie Nelson cover they do of “Reasons to Quit” is by far one of my favorite songs.
And so I did the interview with a Freelance Whale by the name of Chuck Criss. He was very nice and a pleasant conversationalist. The reason for his solo appearance was due to the fact that the band was trying to fulfill the numerous media requests that were scheduled for the day. Some went to photo shoots and others did short interviews like mine.
Eleanor came back from Matt and Kim gleefully announcing that they were just as cute as always. We had a lunch break. I’ve been eating stuff I packed in the cooler which is a super smart thing to do if you are on a tight budget. Food prices are a little insane at the festival. Ten dollars will get you a cheeseburger or a plate dominated by rice. Six dollars for a soy double latte, in case you were wondering. So to combat spending precious monies on food I could have made myself, it’s best to buy the higher than average priced ice bags. Seven pounds will cost you a cool $3.50. Just make sure to get it back to your camp site before it turns into a puddle bag.
Back to the music, we went to This Tent to catch Florence and the Machine. The crowd was enormous. There was no way you could glimpse anything over the sea of floating heads, but Florence’s lilting voice soared above it all. The performance wasn’t marred by not being able to see what she was wearing. She sang wonderfully and showed off her skills well on hits like “You’ve Got the Love.”
Another food break was in order. This festival is intensely exhausting! The grounds are so epically proportioned. Traveling back and forth from camp will make your feet literally scream. The sun is a killer as well. Don’t you dare think you can skimp on the sunscreen. I’ve seen quite a few skin cancer patients in the making walk around as bright red as a boiled alive lobster. You will be drinking more water than you thought was humanly possible. You will need to take time out of your day to rest. The shows continue well into the wee hours of the morning, so if you plan to make it all day long you need to plan some chillaxing time.
As we were walking back to the festival from camp we heard the last strains of My Morning Jacket playing the What Stage, which is where we were headed to catch Arcade Fire. We got sidetracked by the alluring fried oreos. Three dollars will get you three mini heart attacks covered in powdered sugar. Let me tell you they definitely taste how you’d expect them to, but the kicker is the fact that the oreo is warm and gooey and amazing. Totally worth it.
At the stage, we decided to try and see if we could get on the fancy bleachers on the right side near a big screen. Our media wristbands did in fact give us access and soon enough we were waiting for the show to start at 11:00pm. If I said that the Florence crowd was enormous, I was kidding. The audience for Arcade stretched out forever. I have no idea where it stopped really. Right before the music began, the sky apparently seemed to glitter with falling blue stars. After, reassuring ourselves that we hadn’t accidentally ingested mystery drugs we found out that it was actually a clever marketing scheme for something… Apparently during the earlier sets of Primus and MMJ on that stage five parachuters released blinking blue lights attached to a promotional item. Sixty thousand were dropped according to Jeff Hahnes, Creative Loafing blogger, who nearly had a parachuter land on him and then smartly pumped the off-course jumper for details.
Arcade Fire aptly started off with “Ready to Start,” a track from their newest album The Suburbs. Their set included more of the new material as well as old fan favorites from Funeral and Neon Bible. Personal highlights were the rollicking renditions of “No Cars Go,” “Rococo,” “We Used to Wait,” and the encore of “Wake Up.” It was really great to hear all the fans singing with one voice all experiencing the magic. Seriously, as corny as that sounds it was a perfect Bonnaroo moment.
As we made our exodus through the masses, we decided to check out Big Boi at The Other Tent. We walked up in time to hear the end of “Ms. Jackson” and it sounded just like I remembered from the radio in junior high. “Ghetto Music,” “BOB,” and “The Way You Move” all sounded pretty stellar. It was kind of awesomely stereotypical that they invited a bunch of teenaged girls on stage to “shake dat ass.” We left to go check out Lil Wayne on Which stage. Lots of people stayed to see him. The multimedia projections that played behind Wayne were pretty obnoxious and didn’t really add anything to the performance. It was interesting to see the female singer he features on many of his tracks in person, though. She has killer style and an Indian nose piercing that connects with two heavy silver chains to her right ear.
By this point it was nearing 3:00 am and we were dead tired. We made the long journey back to camp accompanied by Ratatat, who was playing at The Other Tent.
Our second day was over. We saw a lot, ate a lot, heard a lot, chilled a lot. And now it was time to sleep a lot.