As the emo-ist kids at Bonnaroo pressed up against the rails, hurt looks on their faces, singing along to every word of the Bright Eyes set, Gillian Welch joined the band onstage and it struck us how rad it is that Conor is turning the kids onto country/folk must-hears like Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch. Welch sang the third verse of "Lua" and it couldn't have been any better - "Got a flask inside my pocket we can share it on the train/ If you promise to stay conscious I will try and do the same..."
Oberst noted that it's a little early for a rock show - and fair enough - but we thought all the heat and sunshine put an interesting twist on his many "what seems normal at night seems crazy during the day" lyrics because it was daytime and all the weirdness of a Bright Eyes set seemed normal, beautiful, perfect.
The Mayor of Bonnaroo, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, as well as dude from Super Furry Animals also came out for a huge countried-out variety sing along with Conor.
Then everyone went to see Chan Marshall bka Cat Power - Devendra and his posse of beardos, Conor, Mike Mogis, a couple Clap Your Hands Say Yeahs, the holmie from Dios, Gillian Welch, etc. She looked beautiful and sang like an angel with a vicious nicotine habit. We heard she tweaked out a little and walked off half way through an acapella encore, but whatever - Chan was heart-stoppingly good, basically running straight through all of The Greatest and shadow boxing between lines.
Bobby Bare Jr played the bar-sized Budweiser tent with his very country-punk but also weirdly jazzy band (dudes were quoting "Giant Steps" while BBJr tuned his guitar???) Bare Jr has a ridiculous new record coming out that he recorded in one day, but you can wait till August for more from us on him. When he finished we walked out of the tent as the night's headliner Tom Petty was launching into "Free Fallin." Turns out Petty has two and half hours of pure rock & roll monster hits and he brought out STEVIE FUCKIN NICKS to help him run though them (!!!).
But, of course, My Morning Jacket was our headliner, holding down the midnight to 3AM shift in the big tent. The Jacket is the best live band in rock & roll right now - RCA you can quote us on that shit. The arrangements are breathtaking - the band storms through huge shred-sections, then stops on a dime for soaring statements from James's voice. The Jacket's late night set was so rocking we're considering the drive to Beantown next week to catch them live with the Boston Pops. See you there?
More live from Bonnaroo on the way - holler back.