Review | Photos | Day 2 | Bonnaroo | Tennessee

Words & Images By: L. Paul Mann

Day 2 :: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival :: 6.13.13 :: Manchester, TN

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Day two of the Bonnaroo music festival dawned with near perfect chamber of commerce conditions. With highs in the mid 80's and lows near sixty, it was a fun in the sun day with cool nights conducive to sleeping in a tent. A sea of scantily clad bodies covered the festival grounds by noon, the first full day of the festival with all ten music stages up and running. An inordinate amount of short blonde bronzed bodies, most with southern accents dominated the crowd. But languages could be heard across the globe in the sea of music fans. The grueling schedule of bands mostly kept to set times like a Swiss train connection. About the only cancellation was early on, when Earl Sweatshirt didn't show for his set. In his place, young New York rockers DIIV took over the stage in a spirited set. The young lead singer proclaimed that the keyboardist had quit that morning, and his unused instrument stood on the stage as a testament to his absence. But the group as a foursome rocked the house, making the best of the situation. While ticket sales at the festival have remained with a constant cap over the last few years, it seems as if the venue grows larger every year. By early afternoon masses of people covered most every portion of the venue. But most seemed to take the crowded conditions in stride and were genuinely enjoying themselves. Anything to do with water, like the bathing fountain in the center of the tent area, became an afternoon hit.

Crowd at Bonnaroo

The music of the day was brilliant and overwhelming at the same time. Legendary guitarist John McLaughlin, played jazz fusion rock born of the sixties. Indy fans were in music heaven with bands like Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, and Wilco leading the way. Wilco played an especially intense jam session on the main stage. Hip hop fans were ecstatic with a sunset session by Wu Tang Clan, and again at midnight by an army of hip hop and funk legends in a Super jam.

But the big music story of the day was, of course, Paul McCartney. There were perhaps more people gathered around the massive main stage then at any other time in Bonnarro history. People were standing on top of porta potties, under bleachers and supply trucks, and all the VIP areas were shut down with an over capacity crowd. McCartney played a larger than life set full of Beatles and Wings tunes. He followed pretty much the same script, even with the same tributes, that he used when his modern tour began several years ago at Coachella. The elaborate stage show sort of dictated many of the same song as a small fortune went into a unique special effects video and lighting extravaganza for each song. But for most in the crowd, who had never seen a Beatles or Wings crowd it was a brilliant script to follow. The classic songs came to life in what is probably the biggest rock stage production in history. To his credit, Sir Paul has added several new songs to the latest leg of his tour, which began in Brazil a few months ago. McCartney played 37 songs in all stretching his set to nearly, three hours.

Fans waited patiently on the other side of the festival for McCartney,s set to end, before any of the other sets resumed. The xx played a moody midnight set on the other giant outdoor stage (What Stage). Meanwhile ZZ Top was belting out classic southern rock at the same time. And the Hip Hop Super jam was also going on simultaneously. Late night EDM fans were also not disappointed with a massive light and laser show by DJ Pretty Lights. The music and the light show lived up to the name. As Animal Collective banged away on a noisy set that lasted till near dawn the sun began to rise on day 3 of Bonnaroo.

Check out L. Paul Mann's coverage of Day 1 of Bonnaroo

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[Published on: 6/16/13]

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