I knew day two would be insane. Some of my favorite bands were scheduled that day, and they did not disappoint. Kirk and I split up more than once on Friday to check out different acts. He, also, had a photo pass which gave him sweet access to the pit level for Sam Smith and The Naked and Famous. We had steak and rice for lunch, and it was delicious. They definitely give you enough food for the price that you pay.
We ate at a table about 250 yards from the main stage called “What Stage,” it is where Elton John, Jack White, Vampire Weekend Lionel Richie and all of the other big names played or will play this weekend. After that we walked around a little bit before Sam Smith. Sam Smith played a great set. I didn’t know a whole lot about Sam Smith before this weekend since I only knew one or two of his songs, but he gave a fantastic performance. We stuck around after Sam Smith, and waited in “The Other Tent” for Danny Brown to go on at 4. We planned to only see Danny Brown for a few songs because Ben Howard was scheduled for 4:30. The crowd for Danny Brown was absolutely nuts. You couldn’t more an inch as they played Eminem and Dr. Dre before Danny Brown got on. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s conversations. We met a guy from Cleveland who was experiencing his second Roo. The place erupted when Danny Brown began his set. Girls and guys tried crowd surfing, but I saw at least two girls get thrown to the ground. People were reckless, and on all kinds of drugs. Kirk and I didn’t get to Ben Howard until 4:35. Ben Howard’s very soft spoken, and he just an amazing guitarist. I’m sure Kirk will discuss how great his guitar performance was in his recap. Howard played one of my favorite songs “The Fear,” which turned out to be my favorite of his set. After Ben Howard finished, I stuck around. The Head and the Heart played about an hour after Howard, so I grabbed some food while Kirk saw The Naked and Famous. I actually got in line to enter the pit for The Head and the Heart. It was the closest I got to a stage all day–about 15 feet. The Head and the Heart played a very memorable set, including “Let’s Be Still”, “Down in the Valley”, “Lost in My Mind”, “Cruel”, “Another Story”, “Shake” and others. Kirk missed the first few songs or so, but he said they had sounded the best out of everyone he heard. “Another Story” sounded phenomenal live. It’s a song about school shootings, and The Head and the Heart did a masterful performance during that one particular. It’s one thing hearing a live song in the comfort of your home, but hearing it in front of the band with a number of passionate, drunken fans is a whole new, fantastic experience.
I had to bolt The Head and the Heart 10 minutes early to check out CHVRCHES, while Kirk saw Vampire Weekend. I would have loved to see Vampire Weekend since I’ve never seen them in concert, but CHVRCHES is a newer band, and their debut album The Bones of What You Believe is one of the most played albums on my iTunes. Lauren Mayberry, their lead vocalist, is wonderful. She talked a little bit between songs, just saying how it was their first Roo experience, and how they are not American. Some people bring flags during performances. One guy had an Uncle Jessie from Full House one, while others had characters from South Park. This one person at the CHVRCHES show had a blue sword on a flag, or at least it was thought to be a blue sword. Lauren Mayberry asked if it was a giant blue penis on stage. CHVRCHES played mostly every song off of their album; they might have played their whole album but I missed at least the first two songs. They even played a song I never heard before, which I think is called “Strength”. Their best performance had to be either “Night Sky” or “Recover”, which are two simply phenomenal songs. I was at CHVRCHES alone, and I sat towards a fence to the right of the stage. I just wanted to sit down, and enjoy the music.
I noticed lots of basketball and football jerseys while walking around at Roo. Of course you saw the obvious ones like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, but then you saw some random ones like Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal Orlando jersey, some members of the Bad Boy Pistons, and my favorite random jersey a Jimmer Chicago Bulls jersey. Jimmer played about five games for the Bulls last season after the Kings released him in February. The runner up for most random jersey was a Jay Williams No. 22 Chicago Bulls jersey. After CHVRCHES, I met Kirk by the stage where Phoenix was playing. We only heard a few Phoenix songs, but they were loud and sounded great.
We headed over to Kanye West about 50 minutes early. We ended up scoring some decent grass. You can check out Kirk’s Facebook for a video of “New Slaves.” Kanye and Bonnaroo have an interesting history. He preformed their back in 2008, but stirred up controversy with his remarks about Bonnaroo’s producers. Many music critics blasted Kanye West for his lack of commitment and care. I had a feeling Kanye would address his critics during the 90-minute show. I’ve seen some great shows in my life, but I’m not sure anything tops Kanye West’s 2014 Bonnaroo Show. He was simply fantastic. He played all of his hits, including “All Falls Down”, “Touch the Sky”, “Heartless”, “Run This Town”, “Bound 2”, “New Slaves”, “Blood on the Leaves”, “Jesus Walks”, “Diamonds”, “Good Life”, “Runaway”, “POWER”, “All of the Lights” and “Black Skinhead.” I’m sure I’m missing a song or two, but seriously Kanye West played all of his jams. He also had some interesting things to say. He talked about the press a few times. He talked about how lots of people traveled just to see him. He talked about how 100,000 people were going crazy as shit during his set. Man, it was absolutely wild. You see hundreds and hundreds people in front you with their hands waving up and down, and then you turn around and you see thousands of people doing the same. Ye would start a song, rap the first few lines, and then say, “Stop that shit.” He then would say some more remarks about the press, give the crowd some inspiration and then would re start the song. Some of the crowd grew tired of his antics, some even left, but I loved it. He gave it his all in during his set, and he really delivered, and gave the people the songs they wanted. He spoke about how so many people traveled to Tennessee to see him humbles him. He told the audience that, “if you are a fan of me, you are a fan of your mother effing self.” In between his banter, Kanye West just played great music. “Runaway” and “New Slaves” had a great vibe, and before New Slaves he claimed that this next song is the realest shit he has ever written. I felt the most energy during “Touch the Sky”, “Bound 2” and “Jesus Walks.” The production of the show was something I’ve never seen before. The lights were bright, and the screen behind Kanye West had to be 100 or so feet with a silhouette of Kanye West’s movements during the show. The screen also gave some fascinating graphics of the sun. Ye didn’t disappoint, and I’m sure Kirk will go in greater detail.
I was totally dead after Kanye West even though it was midnight. I got a Gatorade and then headed back to the tent to fall asleep. Saturday brings Jamestown Revival, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Kevin Devin, Cherub, Cake, Cage the Elephant, James Blake, Frank Ocean and artists who I will soon discover.
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