We kicked off Day Two: Still Rainin' with the Kings Of Leon (props to the drummer for the pink drum kit and the self-consciously lo-fi, masking tape KOL on the bass head). Really we were just trynna angle our way backstage to get a look at their lady friends, who ended up being less Karen Elson and more, oh, I dunno, Anna Paquin. Or whatever. It's impossible to keep their names straight, but suffice to say that Lead Singer Dude looked like he was having a bad hair day while Lead Guitar Dude look pissed off and played like it too. The Kings are kind of a mindfuck - they seem like the most heavily A&R'ed band since forever, but they're irresistibly good at the same time. In other words, fuck it - we're fuckin with em.
M Ward was on at the same time, so we ran over there as fast as we could with our kicks suctioning in the mud and slid to the side of the stage until some security dude came up a-spittin and a-cussin in our face, telling us to get the fuck out of there and he meant it, too. Thus started our 10 hour mission haggling with publicists to get our laminate game tight.
From our campsite tailgate scene we could hear Gov't Mule playing "Hungerstrike", which was dope even though the Mule is kinna poor-man's Allman Bros. But really Warren Haynes is now in the Allman Bros, so who's counting? Soon after our proper laminates arrived, we figured out that they gave us access to some kind of permanent open bar and a huge platform suspended above the side of the main stage, which makes for a fascinating combination. The platform view is probably about as close as we'll get anytime soon to knowing what it feels like to play in front of 75,000 white people rockin around in a mud field.
Going to Bonnaroo right after Summer Jam is strange. At Summer Jam the name of the game is to play each of your Top 10 hits in rapid-fire succession then get the fuck offstage as soon as you can. Lil Jon? 45-minute set. Ludacris? 12-minute set. But at Bonnaroo, to hold the crowd you just play whatever the fuck for as long as you want, as long as you throw a good cover in there somewhere and hit lots of instrumental climaxes. Widespread Panic felt like high school all over again to everyone except the kids there who are still in high school.
We can't tell if it's just the natural progression of the festival or if it's because of the absence of the Dead from this year's Bonnaroo, but there are way less blonde dreads, patchwork sunskirts and conversations about energies in Manchester this go ’round. Really, this year's about dudes, bros, girls and gals, any of whom will cut a noodle in the mud at the drop of a guitar lick, but the whole hippy-dippy stereotype just isn't really in effect this year. Save for the bowls and hemp chokers, of course.
The rest of the night was spent ducking in and out of the aforementioned bar watching KOL (and entourage) drink, and kickin' it with the dudes in Dr Dog. We ran over to see some of the Secret Machines' set, and ended up staying from 12 until 2:30. What can we say? Probably the best set of the festival, including a screwed version of the Beatles' "Money". Next year, we're shipping some purple drank into Manchester from Memphis. Until then, here's some more pics:
The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Panic's David Schools.
New to Bonnaroo: The Silent Disco, where there is no PA, just a set of headphones for everyone and a lot of kids gettin weird on the dancefloor.
We're pretty sure there was a memo sent out to the Future Girls Of Bonnaroo 2005 last week or something—damn near all of em are rocking the rubber rain boots in various colors, looking cute as hell.
"Rick Danko Is Dank!"
We don't know what's more ridiculous in this photo - the girl who's spontaneously flashing to guitar solos, or the American flag peace-shirt dude doing his best to snag a peek on the low.