Together with approximately 80,000 other people we headed to Manchester, TN to witness this year’s edition of Bonnaroo. With great vibes and amazing music on display throughout the 4 days it is clear that Bonnaroo isn’t outdone by any of the other global festivals.
I awoke early for my last day on the farm, and came to Centeroo to catch Australia‘s newest acoustic sensation, Vance Joy. Backed by 3 other band members – drums, keyboards, and a bass – Vance played some simplistic, standard, singer-songwriter arrangements such as “Snaggletooth.” The only unique part of his set was when he performed “Play With Fire” on ukulele. I was surprised to see how well he kept the crowd despite how ordinary he turned out to be. Then again, like myself, we all might have been hanging around to hear him close out with “Riptide,” which is, undeniably his best composition by far. With its vocals that climb and fall down the scales much like that of an ocean wave, bolstered by a Hawaiian type strumming, “Riptide” is the standout favorite worth waiting for.
Fresh off the heels of their latest album release ‘Nabuma Rubberband‘, Little Dragon sauntered onto the stage for an especially mellow show, just as the night time was approaching. Despite the volume of chanteuse Yukimi Nagano‘s multi-colored full-length skirt, her vocals were way too low for the first half of the show. A gradual progression of better sound mixing, alongside the steadily increased BPM, songs like “Klapp Klapp” slowly and steadily came together. The highest energy of the show was brought on by past electropop favorites from ‘Ritual Union‘. Then, with the sunset backdrop, it was time to bring it down a notch to end the set. Amidst the haunting piano introduction of “Twice,” the entire audience held up their lighters – not their phones – for a moment of nostalgic concert-going beauty that closed out the show in sweet melancholy.
With his natural panache, the 67-year-old Sir Elton John made his way onto the What Stage, dressed in a blazer adorned with sparkly rainbows on the sleeves and pockets. Seated behind a bright red grand piano, he performed for 2 hours straight, breezing through old favorites, such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie & the Jets,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Your Song.” An amusing moment was when a festival-goer released the enormous Buzz Lightyear balloon he had been toting around perfectly in sync with the first chorus of “Rocket Man,” eliciting massive cheers from the audience. Later in the show, Elton invited friend, and fellow piano connoisseur, Ben Folds, to the stage to perform a tune off of “Yellow Brick Road“, “Grey Seal.” The only disappointment was the lack of Lion King songs, which were heavily expected to be slipped into the night’s repertoire. Thankfully, we were given “Crocodile Rock” to close out the night – and all of Bonnaroo – on a soaring high. —– Words by Jabes —–