LIVE & DIRECT: Bonnaroo Day 3

BY EVA LIAO AND MAVIS LINNEMANN MANCHESTER, TENN. — We got a late start yesterday, spent the morning recovering. Some asshole started blaring Jay Z from his car at 7:30 in the morning. We all moaned and grumbled.

6 p.m. Ben Harper opened with a killer jam to “With My Own Two Hands.” Harper showed the audience a side they don’t usually hear on his albums. Known for his impassioned guitar skills, though not always evident in his recordings, his work on the slide guitar really highlighted his raw ability. John Paul Jones made a special appearance for a balls-to-the-wall, 12-minute cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” By the end of the show, he had the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands, drawing more excitement out of the crowd then even headliners like The Police.

7:15 p.m. As anticipated, upon reaching the tent known as “This Tent,” there were tons of people lying down and smoking joints to the familiar demented ’90s rock tunes of Ween. The crowd was reminiscent of Blind Melon in their video, “No Rain.” It was mostly blond, beach kids dancing foolishly to the twangy weirdness of the Gene and Dean. While the show itself was phenomenal, we got jipped because the show ended a half hour early. We all wanted to see more Ween.

8:30 p.m. Heading back to the tent to eat yet another ham-and-cheese sandwich out of the cooler, we ran into a friendly fat hippie who sold us Rice Krispie and Fruity Pebble ganja treats and a hemp anklet. We were happy about that.

9 p.m. Tent collapsed. Spent one hour in despair.

10:30 p.m. Joined the massive crowd watching the Police. The sound was crappy and the crowd was asleep. Even playing Roxanne couldn’t get the crowd going. Left after 15 minutes. [Jesus, Sting is gonna be PISSED! — The Ed.]

11 p.m. Thirty-five thousand people already waiting to see the Flaming Lips an hour before they’re scheduled to play.

11:30 p.m. The Lips psychs the crowd out with their sound check. I mean, who does a Led Zeppelin coverĀ for sound check? Fans are going nuts, but it’s only a teaser. The anticipation mounts.

12 a.m. Wayne Coyne makes his trademark entrance: Inside a giant see-through plastic ball rolling over the outstretched hands of the crowd and onto the stage while the band plays “Race For The Prize.” At this point, there’s confetti, balloons and giant beach balls floating in the air, but we take a brief detour to see the much talked about Pittsburgh deejay Girl Talk.

12:30 a.m. Upon our arrival, we realized that this was where the party was at. Twenty dancers stood on stage, each dressed as different party people. The tent itself was bouncing; he had the whole crowd moving to kitschy mash-ups of Elton John with Biggie, and James Brown and Fall Out Boy. Unfortunately, he ended what was a brilliant show with a not-so-brilliant vocal cover of Nirvana. But otherwise, taking a break from the Flaming Lips was well worth it.

1:30 a.m. Back to Flaming Lips. As cool as the idea of a festival seems, we realized that sometimes it’s hard to get the most out of a show. We all know the Flaming Lips are known for their extravagant live performances, but if you’re not willing to push your way through the tens of thousands of people at 2 a.m., as most people aren’t after a long day in the sun, the show just doesn’t sound as loud and clear as it should be. By the end of their two and a half hour set, we were cold and tired, and we walked home with Eva practically carrying Mavis. It’s Sunday and 96 degrees as we type this. Everyone is half naked or fully naked. It’s our last day here at Bonnaroo and it’s evident that the crowd has settled down a bit. We’re all waiting to see Wilco, The White Stripes and Widespread Panic. But the southern-fried fun continues.

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