The summer of 2014 will be remembered for all the great bands I had the opportunity to see in concert. Bonnaroo hooked the Buzz up with two free passes to their 13th annual festival. Manchester, Tennessee is where I saw the majority of the acts this summer. But I also saw Haim in Philadelphia and Counting Crows in Vienna, Virginia. Overall, I’ve seen 25 shows this summer. Although there’s still 66 more days of summer, I don’t see myself going to anymore concerts. But hey, maybe I’ll surprise myself and see another before summer ends. For now, however, let’s dive into which shows I was able to see these last two months.
Sam Smith, Kanye West, Elton John, Artic Monkeys, Grouplove, The Head and the Heart, Ben Howard, Danny Brown, Frank Ocean, City and Colour, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Sam Hunt, Jamestown Revival, Haim, Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket, CHVRCHES, James Blake, Kevin Devine, Phoenix, Cage the Elephant, Pusha T, Ty Segall and Lucero are the artists I’ve been fortunate enough to see this summer. Talk about an all-star list. It’s a summer I’ll never forget, to be honest. I wish I had a smart phone to document these shows, or at least a disposable camera. That’s the problem with me. I don’t think about bringing a disposable camera to a once-in-a-lifetime event.
I went to Bonnaroo with my friend Kirk. Kirk’s a music buff. He plays guitar in a band, and serves as the music director for my college’s radio station, WSBU. It’s not fair how much Kirk knows about music, so if you ever go to a music festival go with Kirk Windus… he’ll tell you everything you need to know about any musician playing. Kanye West and Elton John played phenomenally at Bonnaroo. Ye had his critics, but those who stayed throughout his show and ignored some of the bullshit he pulled, the show proved to be one of the best of the weekend. Actually, after Ye’s show on Friday the 13th of June I told Kirk that it will probably be the best show of the weekend. Sort of disappointing, right? To have been on Bonnaroo for two days and already see the best show? Well, turns out I was mistaken.
The set that completely blew me away was Jack White. He played for two hours and 20 minutes, and he could have played even longer. I just never experienced anything like it. White who loves nearby Nashville, so the homecoming for him added even more electricity. The entire crowd rallied around White. He could do no wrong. It’s one thing to see a great performer, but it’s another thing to experience it with thousands and thousands of people who get it. People that understood the importance of White’s set. White said that tabloids don’t make music, but that the fans and the musician make music. That’s the beauty of music. It’s personal yet universal. It’s an individual expressing themselves with the hope that their expression generates a connection to a larger audience. It reminds me of basketball, mainly. Watching Jack White on that June Saturday night reminded me of Allen Iverson’s 48-point performance in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. I had been in second grade, yet I remember Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue after knocking down a jumper like it happened yesterday. For just a night you can forget about everything. Your pain, your heartaches, your frustrations. Everything wrong in your life goes away in those moments. That’s what basketball and music do for me. People use different outlets to experience that thrill, to see that beauty. Watching Manu Ginobili has always been fascinating to me. His craftiness. His deceptive athleticism. His uncanny ability to slice through defenses and finish acrobatically. Ginobili’s dunk on Chris Bosh during Game 5 of the NBA Finals took place one night after White’s legendary performance. For back-to-back nights this summer, magic took place. White’s unfathomable set, and Ginobili’s 19-point, including that unexpected slam, which propelled the Spurs series-clinching win will be remembered for the rest of my life. Bonnaroo offered lots of entertaining and captivating shows, but none were as remarkable as Jack White.
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