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EDITOR’S NOTE: Phawker has two of its best correspondents on the ground at Bonnaroo. All weekend long, assistant editor EVA LIAO and her trusty sidekick, book critic MAVIS LINNEMANN, will be hanging out with guys named Dude and That Other Dude, consuming unknown substances and blogging photos and scene reports straight from the primeval muck of Bonnaroo to your mind’s eye. Hope you appreciate that these chicks are sweating their tits off in Vietnam-like conditions so you don’t have to. I sure do.
BY EVA LIAO AND MAVIS LINNEMANN MANCHESTER, TENN. — Friday went like this… After visiting Shakedown Street, the off-site drug and paraphernalia marketplace Bonnaroo staff isn’t allowed to discuss, and scoring some delicious Canadian nugget, things have been moving a lot slower for us Phawker reporters. But we’re still eager to work for the cause. Here’s an hour-by-hour breakdown of our first full day at Bonnaroo.
1 p.m. While everyone else seemed to have no problem finding drugs, it took us almost two hours just to find weed. We thought we were going to die of dehydration and hunger, when hippie Chris from Chicago hooked us up. Good things do come to those who wait.
[Eva and Mavis, I am shocked and appalled to learn you two are involved in illegal activities with mind-bending substances. I have called your parents to come pick up the two of you. Please go wait out front. — The Ed.]
3 p.m. We headed towards Centeroo with our next-door neighbors. Upon entering the main festival grounds for the first time, James immediately shouted, “We’re gonna spend all $200 that we brought here on lemon ice!”
4 p.m. Kings of Leon‘s set started during the first rain of the weekend, and the crowd responded with shouts and dancing. Once the sun came out again, Kings of Leon’s by-the-book show just wasn’t moving feet. Despite their noticeable efforts, the show was undeniably flat, with no jams or variations in their music. At the very least, they were nice to look at, with their long hair and sexy Tennessean cowboy boots.
4:30 p.m. It’s always nice when someone asks you to light their blunt for them, isn’t it?
6 p.m. In the past, both of us were unimpressed by previous Roots shows, but the crowd and the atmosphere must have sparked their creative vibe. They sampled everything from Warren G and MIMS to Salt n’ Pepa. Compared to the relatively motionless Kings of Leon show, the Roots were a nice change of pace. Forty thousand people stood dancing on the grass, each and every one of them with huge smile plastered on their face.
7 p.m. We made a smooth transition from the Roots to Manu Chao, who drew maybe the hippiest crowd yet. Along the way, a 30-year-old square asked us to smoke him up. He informed us that this is the first year the 700-acre property is actually owned by festival management.
8 p.m. — 12:07 a.m. Got too high and dehydrated. Passed out. Missed Tool. Kicking ourselves in the head.
12:30 p.m. Ate magic peanut butter & jelly and ventured into Centeroo.
1:30 a.m. We couldn’t decide where to go because the choices were endless, so we plopped ourselves in front of STS9 because disoriented reality made it hard to walk. As newbies to the band, neither of us knew what to expect, but the ferocity of the electronic jams was just what we needed to start our trip.
2:30 a.m. Things were a bit cluttered for a while. After various bowl-smoking and conversational pit-stops, we made our way to DJ Shadow. At the start of the show, there were about 20,000 eager fans; by the time we finished at 4 a.m. only a third of the crowd remained. This crowd consisted of those who were obviously out of their minds on hallucinogens. Candy-raver girls and boys fancifully danced and twirled glo-toys in the air only to enhance the atmosphere.
DJ Shadow was possibly the best show yet. The DJ knows his audience. He catered to the fucked-up crowd, delivering mind-blowing images and heart-pumping beats. He had the crowd climaxing to “Organ Donor” at 4 a.m.
6 a.m. We miraculously make it back to the camp site, surprised to have made it alive. At this point, our hair is dreaded and we’re knee deep in dirt. We’ve managed to see five amazing shows and we still have two more days to go.
It’s Saturday now. Regina Spektor is playing to the right of us and Ziggy Marley on our left. We’re about to head out into the madness once again, where we’ll be seeing The Police, Flaming Lips, Girl Talk, Ben Harper, Franz Ferdinand and Ween.