Review | Photos | Day 4 | Bonnaroo | Tennessee

Words & Images By: L. Paul Mann

Day 4 :: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival :: 6.16.13 :: Manchester, TN

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It was a relatively reticent morning by Bonnaroo standards, the last day of the festival. Many campers were up early, no doubt because the music schedule started and ended early. There were no late night sets planned after the headline finale with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The weather was much more temperate than the days before, with evolving cloud cover and a cooling breeze. There were many more demure musical acts scheduled for Sunday, bands like The National, that were good to relax and chill out to. There were exceptions though, including a block of hardcore rock bands and another block of hip hop rappers. Many of the younger EDM fans packed up and headed out of the campground since most all the electronic acts, had finished playing. Genuine Bluegrass music was on point for much of the day with an all star jam session headed by Ed Helms leading the way. Beyonce's sister Solange brought a fresh Rand B sound to the Which stage early in the afternoon. The main What stage was the center of attention early on with a pair of much anticipated Hip Hop acts, playing their club hits. Ryan Macklemore and Ryan Lewis attracted a huge crowd early in the afternoon, mainly on the back of their mega club hits. The act featured a spirited horn session and guest appearance by 51 year old singer Wanz, who is the point man on the mega hit “Thrift Shop”. The song was preceded by Macklemore, bantering with the crowd and appropriating a conveniently placed fur coat from a “fan” in the crowd. Wearing the coat triggered a rendition of the big hit. But the crowd was in a dance frenzy for the entire set, especially when Macklemore crowd surfed into the audience. He was followed by rapper Kendrick Lamar, who also currently has a big club hit on his hands. The young rapper also had a huge crowd enraptured in an afternoon dancing mode. Over in This tent there was a rare showing of hardcore rock, with three acts in a row representing different sub genres of hard rock. Savannah Georgia band Baroness, laid down a heavy metal beat, fronted by lead singer and guitarist, John Baizley. Baizley is lucky to be alive after a near fatal bus crash with the band in Bath England last summer. New York based veteran post punk band Swans, followed with an ear piercing feedback drenched set of original music. Fronted by metamorphic lead singer and guitarist Michael Gira, the band was part of the so called New York 'No Wave” Experimental scene as far back as 1982. The veteran band creates their own visceral hard core sound. The new American-Canadian band Divine Fits played next. The band was formed last year by former “Spoon” member Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner formerly of “Wolf Parade”. The result is a new power trio with a nod to hard core rock music.

Crowd at Bonnaroo

David Byrne and St Vincent (formerly of Polyphonic Spree) brought their own unique classical rock sound to the final set of the Which stage, complete with their own marching band composed of veteran musicians, all with their own impressive recording pedigrees. The National played a sedate set to fans of the popular band in the next to last slot on the main What stage. Speaking of Hardcore, one of the most hardcore acts of the day closed the Other tent, with a rap set by infamous young rapper ASAP. He lived up to his representation by borrowing a joint from an audience member and smoking it onstage. “Welcome to my world”, he exclaimed. The crowd was in a full fist raising dance fever throughout the set.

By the time Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers played their finale set, most all the other stages had gone dark, refocusing another huge crowd on the performance. By the second song, the dark heavens that had threatened a deluge all day long, opened above and it began to rain. Petty seems to be some kind of divining rod being no stranger to playing in the rain. At the ACL festival in 2006, he played the closing set in a particularly nasty thunderstorm, which was eventually delayed by dangerous thunderbolts exploding about the festival. The band returned after the storm and played another hour for the faithful few who weathered the nasty tempest. At Bonnaroo Sunday night, few were in the mood to let a little rain dampen their Roo finale with Mr Petty and his team of wizard musicians. The band played impeccable renditions of some of their classic hits, pausing in between each song to drink in the adulate crowd. Petty who beamed widely after each song, would prance about the stage with extended arms, making eye contact with fans waving, signs of endearing messages. As the set progressed, the rain increased steadily in intensity, but most of the 80,000 or so fans in the audience stuck it out to the soggy end. By the time the concert ended with the bands third encore, a rendition of “American Girl”, the crowd was drenched and standing in a muddy mass that once was the bright green festival field. It was a fitting end to Bonnaroo 2013.

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

Check out L. Paul Mann's coverage of Day 2 of Bonnaroo

Check out L. Paul Mann's coverage of Day 3 of Bonnaroo

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[Published on: 6/19/13]

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