Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 5 Bonnaroo shows (and what I missed)

Top 5 shows at Bonnaroo

1. David Byrne. This show was a perfect balance between showmanship and authenticity, with dancers serving as an accent to Talking Heads tunes like "Burning Down the House" (my musical highlight - low-quality video above). Byrne was electric, mixing up solo and TH material like it was no big deal in one long set and two encores.

2. Jimmy Buffett. This total surprise (unannounced until Wednesday night) lived up to the expectations my Parrothead partner (who began seeing JB at 12) set high. Buffett's positive vibes are infectious.

3. Jenny Lewis. I'd really been looking forward to this and the Rilo Kiley frontwoman did not disappoint with a comfortable and energetic set featuring Elvis Costello.

4. Phish. Phish live is hard to describe or translate to CD, but I love them and thought the Friday and Sunday performances, particularly the weird vocal jam and AC/DC cover on Friday and the Sunday encore and Springsteen songs.

5. Elvis Perkins in Dearland. I only caught the second half of this attractive band's set after Buffett on Saturday, but I'm sure glad I hustled over. That half of the show (recommended by the rad M. of Ped Xing) had some memorable instrumentals and snappy folk tunes that made me wish I'd seen more.

Other highlights: Drive-By Truckers playing instrumental cover of "Hey Ya", Gomez, Portugal the Man, Moonalice, Pretty Lights, Dillinger Escape Plan

3 Things I'm Pissed I Missed

1. Parts of NIN. After Bruce, Jimmy Buffett, the Drive By Truckers, and Jenny Lewis, I dozed through significant parts of NIN's last American set on Saturday night. Even when I was standing and moving, I couldn't focus on a highly charged and skillful set. Check out "Hurt" above - probably the most emotional moment of the festival.

2. Gov't Mule. I am rather sore about missing "Southern Man", U2, and Helter Skelter covers. But I missed it for Jenny Lewis, so I can't complain too much.

3. Al Green/Lucinda Williams/Ani DiFranco. I intended to catch all of these artists, but a quick return to the campsite turned into a multihour pow wow before David Byrne. Didn't hear much about the latter, but I heard raves about Al Green.

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