Random Thoughts from Bonnaroo 2008

1. The diversity of musical acts was really quite ridiculous. Being able to say you saw Vampire Weekend, Metallica, Trombone Shorty, Pearl Jam, Chis Rock, B.B. King, the Disco Biscuits and Jake Shimabukuro all at the same venue is pretty damn cool.

2. Fact: White women LOVE Jack Johnson. His set had a lot of stuff from In Between Dreams, which is probably my favorite album by him.

3. When you walk around the ‘streets’ of the camp grounds, you’ll hear people hawking their various drugs. Surprisingly, the drug you find least is weed. It was so bad that people kept coming up to me and asking if I had any. No I did not.

4. And seriously, I wore a LeBron jersey the entire weekend (with cargo shorts and a Giligan hat, I was rocking), even if I did have weed, would you want it? I mean, you’re asking the guy from Cleveland? Go find a guy wearing a Bill Walton jersey.

5. Even hippie Cleveland fans are really worried about LeBron leaving town. I was asked multiple times for my thoughts on the matter (because of jersey I wore, it wasn’t like anyone was like, “hey, you’re mediocre basketball blogger Ben Cox! What’s your thoughts on LeBron leaving?”) and I answered truthfully: if they build a team with a chance to win the title, he stays. If Sasha Pavlovic is logging major minutes in May of 2010, he probably leaves.

6. Lot’s of NBA jerseys being worn around the festival. I saw some Bulls jerseys (Jordan, Rodman and Pippen), a couple of Charlotte Hornet (Larry Johnson) jerseys and various (crisp, bright) Celtic jerseys. But my favorites were a Grant Hill team USA and a John Wallace (who?) Knicks.

7. I don’t know if I looked approachable or what, but random people kept coming up and talking to me the entire weekend. Maybe I just looked comfortable because this was my fourth ‘Roo, but it was weird and kinda neat.

8. Vampire Weekend were much better live than I had anticipated. After their SNL performance, I wasn’t expecting much. Very pleasantly surprised.

9. Both Pearl Jam and Janeane Garofalo went off on some anti-Bush stuff and it didn’t really go well. I mean, I probably agree with them politically on 99% of things (the 1%? Dick Cheney. I love the guy and everything he stands for), but even I didn’t care for it. If I had gone to a show just to see them, I’d expect that going in. But when you’re a part of a festival, it doesn’t come off nearly as well.

10. Garofolo was not good. Her stuff didn’t really work and everyone in the crowd was waiting for Mike Birbiglia to come on. And I mean, it’s not like Bonnaroo is place crawling with Bush/Cheney fans, but it just didn’t work.

11. Zach Galifianakas had a couple of Bush/republican jokes that went really well (“I’m for the war but I hate the troops! God, can you imagine if that was actually your stance?”) and he ended with an Obama plug (at the end of his ridiculous Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror” video) that got a standing O.

12. From the “things I never thought I’d see” file: Robert Randolph calling out Kanye West and starting a “Kanye Sucks!” chant. I enjoyed it.

13. West had a late night set planned for Saturday night at 2:45. He didn’t arrive on stage until after 4 (I had left at 4). No one came out during the wait to explain things. There was never an explanation on what took so long. He screwed up bad. Kanye had a chance to perform in front of a bunch of people who would’ve never otherwise had seen him, and he fucked it up. It was also a slap in the face, because there was other stuff going on (for instance, I could’ve been watching Phil Lesh) and he not only wasted everyone’s time, but he didn’t explain why.

14. Jake Shimabukuro was a delight. The crowd really got into it as his show progressed and by the end you could tell he made a ton of new fans.

15. actual quote: “I’m Not There: much better on ‘shrooms”

16. Arriving at your campsite at 4 am and finding your canopy tent mangled from the rain sucks ass. That is not a fun situation to deal with while the sun is coming up.

17. I have not had a good track record for watching NBA games while at Bonnaroo. I watched Dallas blow a game to Miami, I watched the Cavs lose to the Spurs and I got to witness the Lakers choking against the Celtics. Lame.

18. I’m rooting for the Lakers in this series mostly because of my complete hatred for all things Boston. The Lakers used to be my second favorite team back int the day (I owned a Magic Johnson jersey) but I got sick of ’em during the the Kobe/Shaq era. But when up against Boston…

19. Plus, I really like Pau Gasol. I always thought he was underrated.

20. On Friday, the women mostly wore bikini tops. On Saturday you started seeing women topless, but wearing body paint. Sunday? Just plain ‘ol topless.

21. The Raconteurs: started off really great, but at the end it devolved into the Jack White Show. Still good… but if I wanted to watch Jack White show off, I would’ve preferred the White Stripes.

22. Most surprising act? Lez Zeppelin. Those chicks fucking rocked and they gave a killer late night show.

23. Also, lot’s of lesbian couples this year.

24. Widespread Panic gave a great performance on Sunday night and I enjoyed it much more than previous Panic shows I’ve seen. That could have something to do with both the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Robert Randolph cameos.

25. I heard many campsite playing the sweet sounds of the Coral and I highly approve. I can’t recommend their self titled debut enough (seriously, it kicks ass).

26. O.A.R.: not that good. They had a couple of decent songs, but I enjoyed their previous Bonnaroo sets much more.

27. Favorite show of the weekend: Disco Biscuits and their late night set. It was quite fantastic (I especially enjoyed their cover of “Killing in the Name”) and I’m searching for a torrent of the show.

28. Walking back on Sunday night is an entirely different experience than walking home on Friday night. The weirdos are always out at night, but on Sunday, it’s just the weirdos.

29. When you go with a bunch of friends, in multiple cars, your camping space is pretty big. When you have three guys in one car, your space is a tiny bit smaller. Just a tad.

30. I always try to think of bands that could fit as headliners. Artists I think we could see David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simon (with or without Garfunkel), R.E. M., John Mayer (not as a headliner) or some kind of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young combination (Neil Young has already played). I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Eric Clapton or Weezer presence either.

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3 Responses to Random Thoughts from Bonnaroo 2008

  1. Andrew says:

    a) I also saw a Team USA Pippen jersey.
    b) I thought Widespread Panic was much better this year than last year.

  2. Ben says:

    I’ve already downloaded the Pearl Jam, Jake Shimabukuro and Panic shows. I’m really looking for the Disco Biscuits and the Raconteurs and I heard that Death Cab and Rilo Kiley were really good. Jack Johnson wouldn’t be a bad show to find either.

  3. Aaron says:

    So, I’ve been reading this nasty rumor that there weren’t any tapers at the biscuits’ show. Can you recall seeing any mic stands? I mean, eventually, the soundboard will be sold, but the biscuits are notorious for somehow having sbds with sound issues. Fortunately, their fan base also is notorious. For spreading that shit around the interwebs. I’ll let you know if I see a copy. Glad to hear you enjoyed the Panic.

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