Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The happiest place on earth

Hello, everyone mom. I'm back. And boy do I have a lot to tell you. Lots of people think Disney World is the happiest place on Earth. Those people are dweebs. I'm looking at you, friend G-mann. Because the happiest place on Earth is actually Bonnaroo.

B and I took off in a flurry Wednesday after work and made tracks down shfifty five gathousand 809 miles of highway. Sunglasses on, feet on the dash, hands out the windows, we were ready for Roo.

This is when B kindly reminded me not to crack the fecking window this time with my dirty-ass feet. This is also when I flipped him the bird promised I'd be a bit more careful.

Shortly after crossing the Tennessee border somewhere around 3 a.m., we caught up with our friends, also known as Eugene, Raff, Coz, and Ben. Actually, I didn't know Ben yet, but he's Eugene's friend from art school. I would befriend him later because he used to be a boyscout and knew how to tie really good knots and put up tents and make shade out of tarps, which is all very useful in the hot Tennessee sun.

Our two cars continued through the dark Tennessee highways until we reached the concert gates together at 7:30 a.m. After 13 hours and 8,000 butt clenches, my tired cheeks were very happy to get out of that car. If my butt could talk, it would have thanked me.
We pitched our tents.
Took our naps.
Had some drinks.
And headed into the magical land of Centeroo.
We kicked off Bonnaroo 2008 with Back Door Slam, who blew our brains right on out of heads. These kids could rock harder than almost anyone I've seen. Ever. They encompass the spirit of legends like Jimmy Hendrix and B.B. King more than anyone of my generation. There's more talent in their 19-year-old fingers than most bands out there today.

We also saw a bit of Grupo Fantasma, who brought the Latin funk to life, and stopped by for a little Vampire Weekend, who were like blah blah whatever.

And then it was Friday. And on Friday, things got down to business. And by business I mean nakedness and body paint and Shakedown Street and art and Tennessee heat and hoola hooping and lots and lots of music.
Let's talk about art at Bonnaroo. Because at Bonnaroo everything is art. Covering your body in paint is art. Spray painting the wall is art. Jewelery is art. Hoola hooping is art. Dancing is art.

At Bonnaroo pretty much the only thing that isn't art the port-o-potties. They just nasty.

Friday B and I spent our day wandering between stages with Drive By Truckers, Umphrey's McGee, Minus the Bear, Les Claypool, State Radio, and the Swell Season.

The Raconteurs rocked us with their incredible guitar riffs. And M.I.A. gave a insanely energized, last-hoorah-before-being-deported performance. Who would deport M.I.A.? The U.S. government, apparently.

After M.I.A., I was excited to see Chris Rock. But as we were waiting for funny man to take the stage, it started to rain, which was not so funny when you're carrying around your Canon and you're already pretty dirty and you have a sneaking suspicion that your tent from 1973 that you inherited from your uncle isn't going to do a very good job of keeping out the rain.

And you were right. So we skidaddled back to the camp site and tried to listen to Chris Rock from under the tarp that boyscout Ben constructed. Then Metallica came on. And who invited Metallica to Bonnaroo anyway? So B and I decided to take a nap while the sweet, soft melodies of Creeping Death and Seek and Destroy wafted through the air and lulled us to sleep.

But you can bet that B and I were wide-eyed and bushy tailed at midnight when My Morning Jacket took the stage. Amazing? Oh yah. So amazing in fact, that people got all My Morning Crazy. Glo stix flew through the crowd, giant eyeballs swung from the stage, and the sky rained on.

But after a while I started to bug the heck out I got a bit tired of the rain so B and I decided to head back to camp and dry off. And when we got there we were met with the most pleasant surprise. Our super deluxe 1973 tent had flooded. So we salvaged our pillows and slept in the car.

It's a good thing we were a tad delirious after a long day, because at the time, we found it all a bit funny. When I woke up at 4 a.m. freezing my wet arse off with one leg poking through the neck of a t-shirt and the other through the sleeve and my body covered in dog hair, it wasn't quite as amusing.

That's because sleeping in B's car when you're soaked to the bone is a bit like being tarred and feathered. Every square inch of the car is covered in massive amounts of Hurley hair. That means when you're dirty body is sticky and wet, every square inch of you is covered in Hurley hair. Yummy.

The next day we woke up a bit confused and completely stiff totally refreshed and ready for what would become one of the most outrageous days yet. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings ushered the sun back to Tennessee and brought old school funk back to life. By the end of their set we were hot and sweaty once again. And I was all like thank the fecking lord. So was this dude.

We scuttled between Ozomatli, Gogol Bordello, Ben Folds, Levon Helm, and Iron & Wine. And it's a good thing I stocked up on Red Bulls because I drank enough to completely erode whatever was left of my non-existent stomach lining on Saturday.

Saturday night went berzerk. We caught Pearl Jam at 10:15, then wandered into Centeroo to see what absurdities were taking place. Because on the last full night of the festival, things tend to get weird.

We bumped into the parade.

People love a parade. With LIGHTS and DRUMS. Crazed people emerged from crevices all over Centeroo to follow the parade like little kids following the pied piper. Only it was a drummer in a chariot of lights and all the followers were topless and covered in glitter and dressed like mermaids and omg is that a giant octopus?

Sigur Ros took the stage at 1 a.m. and while we initially assumed Bonnaroo would be the perfect atmosphere for a Sigur Ros performance, we could still hear Pearl Jam from across Centeroo (yeup, still playing three hours later) and decided to wander over to Chromeo.

And that's when the drugs really kicked in the magic happened. Chromeo sucked us right in with a mind blowing performance of Needy Girl. And if you think crunchies don't dig hip hop, brotha you sadly mistaken. Best show of the weekend.

We passed through Phil Lesh on our way to the What Stage to see the 2:45 a.m. Kanye West show. Kanye West? But then that 2:45 show was delayed until 3. Then 3 turned into 3:15. 3:15 turned into 3:30, etc., etc., blah, blah blah until 4:45 a.m. If you think it's hard to make crunchies angry, you should gather 80,000 of them for a Kanye West show then delay it for two hours. Those glo stix were a-flyin. And those booers were a-growlin.

Some time well after dawn B and I stumbled back to the tent car and tucked in for a little nap. A few hours later, tired, dirty, itchy in unmentionable places (ok it was my butt), we decided to skip the last few Sunday shows and end our Bonnaroo 2008 experience a few hours early to tackle the drive back to Philadelphia while we could still stand.

I was sorry to miss the Sunday shows, but 13 hours later, I was pretty dang excited to be stepping into a shower for the first time in five days and peeing into something that wasn't situated on top of a giant hole of human excrement. Too much?
After days of absolute bliss, I'm behind my desk once again, fully clothed, sober, and recently washed. How stifling. I miss the Tennessee sun, the dreadlocks, the Shakedown Street garlic grilled cheeses, and most of all, the complete pervasiveness of music.

But we had to come back to the real world eventually. And while I'm here I might as well be productive again. Like writing love letters to Paul Rudd. And practicing winning the lottery. And sleeping. Until next time, Bonnaroo.


Julia said...

Hey Bridge! I love this post. Very funny. Excellent retention of everything you saw, given the mind-altering substances I'm sure you imbibed :) Btw, totally digging the voice and style of your blog -- very funny!

iconjohn said...

Heard some Bonnaroo reporting from WRNR 103.1 out Annapolis on Saturday. Reminds me of a big New Wave Punk event that was held in Toronto in the early 80's. Friend went, I didn't but I'll ask her again if she remembers.

Kater said...

loved the post! I was fully expecting something awesome and witty for your post-bonnaroo recap, but this was just amazing - great detail with great pics :) Thanks for making me LOL on a daily basis!


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