The temperatures continued to climb on Friday and the grounds finally started to feel full. Attendance may not be as high as Bonnaroo had wanted this year, but the vibes were just as strong as ever. Lines were short for water and food and you could definitely tell the crowds weren’t at the farm especially once LCD Soundsystem took to the What Stage for their headlining set and you could easily walk about the main field.
The day started with a strained panel of musicians and one comedian who saved the entire thing. Piff the Magic Dragon with a lot of humor and some magic tricks had the media rolling in laughter. I wish I had caught him doing his own sets at the Comedy Tent, but when you’re at Bonnaroo choices have to be made during times of conflict. The music portion began with Andra Day and her throwback sound. Her beautiful voice reached far over the grounds with the power of the sound system of the Which Stage. It was nice to have the main two stages open for business on Friday as that let the tents be a little less crowded at times.
Daughter controlled the crowd with their laid back rock. Those in That Tent who were in attendance all seemed to be die hards of the band. Public Access TV drew a small crowd in to the Who Stage for a set of pure indie rock while Shamir displayed the wild pop vocal that he is known for. Kamasi Washington set This Tent on fire with a set oozing and dripping with funk. His band was absolutely jaw dropping and had the whole crowd going nuts for the entirety of their throwback 70’s funk and soul set of music. This was quite the preview for the Superjam on Saturday night. Kamasi and his band, The Next Step, must be seen to be believed.
Changing direction completely and standing in the blazing hot sun, Whitney played a set of indie rock to a fairly big crowd. When you’re covering a festival you don’t go just to see the bands you haven’t yet, but you see your favorites and Lucius fit that category. As usual they tore it up and played a wonderfully rousing set of music. After a great set it was back to work with Arkells who had a small but faithful audience catching their set. Those in attendance seemed to be singing back every word to the five young men who were having an absolute blast on stage.
Leon Bridges got to bring the sun down on Friday with his set of sweet soul music. The talented Texan crushed his set and showed why he has been so high on many critics’ lists for the past year or so. Blending soul, blues, and old school rock and roll, the crowd stretched far back from The Other Tent and were constantly dancing and singing along. This will probably be the last time Leon is at a tent stage as he has clearly outgrown it. Flosstradamus had one of the wildest crowds of the evening who did everything that he asked of them. That Tent was spiraling out of control as I passed it for his and I could only smile and dance a little myself as I went through the throngs of people enjoying it. DJ Logic, one of the elder statesmen of Bonnaroo, was spinning in the Silent Disco to many people’s delight. It’s always an honor to get the chance to hear him spin records.
The main attraction of the night lived up to every desire that anyone could have had. LCD Soundsystem tore through their headlining set on What Stage and with just a few thank you’s from James Murphy, the band just constantly kept going forward. The giant disco ball lit up the farm and made it feel far more intimate than it should have being on the big field. It was the same set they have been playing, but it is the perfect set for them right now to reintroduce themselves to audiences all over the world. The middle section of “You Wanted a Hit,” “Tribulations,” “Movement,” and “Yeah” was a flawless part of the set with no breaks and great transitions between songs. “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” and “Dance Yrself Clean” ended the set before Murphy stated “this is our last song and thanks again for having us.” The crowd was ready for it and within a few notes began to dance wildly for one last time with “All My Friends.” One thing that will never become tiresome in the live setting is going wild during this song. The version was fantastic and put a great cap on the evening.
The late night began with Tame Impala and a visually stunning set. The band seems to be very hot and cold when it comes to their live shows that I’ve seen and this one was fairly hot. Confetti fell on the crowd early in the set and seemed to just constantly be in the air for the remainder of it. The band unfortunately didn’t use the entirety of their late night slot and ended a little early. It’s too bad, as late night shows at Bonnaroo are usually legendary and Tame Impala didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity. The Kalliope was going strong though and many found their way over there to keep going into the wee hours of the morning.
Article: Bryan Lasky