Friday at Bonnaroo, it’s the true kick-off to the festival and there was no better way to ring in the night of music with an extended performance from Radiohead. The main concert field at the What Stage was packed with around 80,000 music fans from all around the country and the world. It was evident from walking the concert grounds through-out the day that Radiohead was the most anticipated for the evening.
The band launched into “Bloom” followed by “15 Step” and “Kid A”. The entire two hour show featured new and old favorites in perfect balance. Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, could be seen in the front row for Radiohead’s performance and towards the completion, font man Thom Yorke made a dedication to his friends saying “This next one is for the Chili Peppers”.
As their 17 song set was coming to what the crowd believed to be an end with “Idioteque”, Bonnaroo attendees screamed for an encore. Radiohead delivered by playing five songs including one that Yorke dedicated this time to Jack White, called “Supercollider”. But even that wasn’t enough for the energized masses. A second encore began and eventually closed with a powerful version of “Paranoid Android”.
Late-night acts Major Lazer, The Word, and Umphrey’s McGee kept the party going into the wee hours of the morning. As always at Bonnaroo, the night time is the right time! Major Lazer created a bass heavy dance party in a packed tent of eager fans. The Word, a collaboration featuring Robert Randolph, John Medeski and the brothers Dickinson from North Mississippi All-Stars created a spiritual church-like atmosphere in their tent.
Those who could still muster the strength to stay up were treated to an Umphrey’s McGee set that didn’t see an end until six in the morning that started at two! The Chicago outfit played a hard driving and experimental collection of music. As the show reached the two hour mark, Dominic Lalli from the livetronica duo, Big Gigantic made his way to the stage to add some sonic texture on his saxophone. Sound techs brought out a table with Dominic’s Laptop and sequencers, beginning what became a surprise Big Gigantic performance.
Drummer Jeremy Salken made his way to the drum kit while Umphrey’s drummer, Kris Myers continued keeping the beat eventually trading places with Salken for a seamless transition without ever missing a beat. Big Gigantic played for about 25 minutes and at the completion, Umphrey’s McGee made their way back to the stage for yet another flawless transition. The band then played another full set only concluding once the sun had risen in the Tenessee skyline.
So as day three begins here at Bonnaroo, another group of musicians and bands will set out to put a smile on the face of each festival goer. Make sure to stay tuned to WTMD as we begin to air artist interviews from backstage in Manchester Tennessee.