Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Tales from Bonnaroo Pt 4

Day 3 Saturday

Day three started out hot, dry, and bright,just like the days before it. After the long delay at the gate the night before, I decided to avoid the main gate for the remainder of the weekend. I had to walk a little bit further to get to the side gate, but there was almost no line, and the security checks were much less strenuous. I was actually allowed to bring my camera on site for the first time all weekend. I went directly to The Other Tent, where Railroad Earth was playing and met up with my brother and his friends. We compared notes about the festival, and who we'd seen and heard. They were planning to stay there for the Hot Tuna, show, and I wanted to sample some other groups,so I moved down the road towards the Sonic stage, where I got to talk with Alexa Ray Joel again and get her autograph. I'd missed most of Railroad Earth's set at The Other Tent, so I was happy to see that they would be playing at the Sonic Stage in just a few minutes, so I stayed there,and happened upon another happy accident.

Jonah Smith,a singer songwriter I'd never heard of before was playing a set and I really enjoyed his music. His voice reminds me a bit of Ken Block of Sister Hazel, but that may just be me. In any case, I really enjoyed his set, and I've downloaded his album.

By the way, just about every artist I've mentioned has songs available on Zune Marketplace.

After Jonah, I listened to the full Railroad Earth show, and then wandered the venue checking out other acts, and doing some people watching. The crowds were the heaviest I'd seen at the festival and I decided since the Police were playing that night, I'd leave the crowds behind for a while and go out to my camp and get a little peace and quiet before the madness of 80,000 people trying to get to the same place at the same time. Yeah, I missed a couple of groups I wanted to hear this way, but I was fuly charged up and ready for the Police, followed by the Flaming Lips.

Unfortunately, as my live blog of the Police set covered, they didn't play for the full two and a half hours they were scheduled for, coming up about 45 minutes short. I guess the greatest rock band of the 80's didn't think they had enough good music to fill the full set. To be honest, Sting just doesn't seem to remember how to rock any more. He didn't really cut loose until the final song, and songs that should have rocked just kinda floated instead.

The Flaming Lips, on the other hand, put on one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Even though I was a couple of hundred yards away from the stage, I could still see what was going on.

Their light rig was built to move, and to look like a flying saucer, although you couldn't see that at first. The show started with the stage filling with red light and fog, while spacey organs played a droning chord. As the fog built, the lights came down from above the stage, showing the flying saucer, and on top of the saucer was the Lips' front man, Wayne Coyne, trapped in a large transparent bubble. The saucer moves down to the stage, where Coyne walks the bubble down the ramp and is released after a titanic struggle. The saucer then tilts up to reveal a monster light show underneath, and the show began in earnest.

I'm not going to describe the rest of it because you really should see it yourself, but even though it wasn't my favorite music, it was the best show of the festival.

Day 3 Tips

  • Saturday, the venue is packed. Be prepared for large crowds and nowhere to sit. Hot, tired, and cranky Rooers will be sitting everywhere they can find the least bit of shade.
  • Eating on site can be challenging since there are, as I just mentioned, not many places to sit. A few dozen picnic benches would go a long way towards improving conditions in Centeroo.
  • Flexibility is the watchword for the day. The large crowds make it certain you will miss something you wanted to see.
  • To avoid waiting in long lines to get into the venue, here are two helpful hints.
    • First, avoid the main entrance like the plague.
    • Second, and this will seem counterintuitive, don't go early. Get to the gate with just enough time to make your show. The reason is simple; everybody else will be doing the same thing and a huge crowd will develop. Health and safety concerns will force security to speed up the inspection process, resulting in a line that moves about as fast as you can walk.

  • Be prepared for the weather to change. Temperatures Saturday night dipped into the high 50's or low 60's which is very chilly unless you have a decent sleeping bag. Or a decent sleeping partner.
  • When going to a show at one of the main stages, you have two options.
    • You can get there several hours early and fight your way through the crowds to get somewhat close to the stage, then stand up for 5 hours straight. Or you can get there 10-15 minutes before the show, set up a beach chair and sit back under the stars and listen to the band play live.

  • The night and evening shows are much more pleasant than the day shows. They are also more popular. Plan accordingly.
Posted by Rich
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