Monday, June 25, 2012

Bonnaroo 2012: Part 1

Got back from Bonnaroo Music festival. In a short break from a long-term job and my filmmaker buddyTakeshi had asked me if I wanted to go and I said hell yes. Headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead, featured Phish, Bon Iver, Mogwai, Blackstar, and numerous other groove... why not?
I needed this in between intense TV& commercial works. I worked so hard, so will play hard. Simple. 


Our other company Hisa, "the music festival master", was the one driving most of the way into Tennessee (almost 20 hours in total from NYC!). 
We made the first stop in Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio- not only because it was on the way to Tennessee but also that Radiohead was playing!






To be honest I wasn't too excited with this plan first. I wasn't a Radiohead-head. So I just purchased the cheapest ticket for free seating on the grass hill. They paid enough to be far front. My REGRET #1.




Their show was truly amazing. The separate flat-top screen that hangs from ceiling was showing each members from different angle and they lifts ups and down spontaneously, and changes into abstract images that goes with the song. Art & Technology. 


The music they played were mostly new ones. I used to listen to Radiohead when I was much younger (OK Computer - Kid A era) and I didn't follow much after. Somehow I was almost avoiding them; their music was too sad for me, and also because of very intense cult fans I'd met (they won't stop talking about them). 


But I admit was wrong. Phenomenal performance. Unlimited creativity. Ambition for the progress. I understood why people can go crazy about'em: They are singing of the truth. Sometimes the sad truth. Then their melody and rhythm takes you to deeper into subconsciousness.


I got totally mesmerized that I don't really remember where we stayed on that night, I believe it was some motel in Ohio.


Later I found someone posting the video of the entire show: Click HERE to view. 
("House of Cards" was my favorite among them - such a personal and beautiful song that can make you cry)


I do remember where we had next day's lunch in Kentucky

Bonnaroo Day 1 kicked off with White Denim after sunset. 
White Denim was a good band, so was Alabama Shakes, but all in all they were prelude to the following awesomeness. Went back to the tent area and put up the tent I purchased. 






White Denim wasn't really dressed as their names, at The Other Tent 


Day 2. Waking up with slight backache (REGRET #2: didn't bring mattress), washing my body at communal water sink, headed off to stages.



Yoga session in the morning. Some people need that to get alcohol outta their system


Stage hopping between Michael Kiwanuka and The Kooks, first ear catcher was The Soul Rebels, from New Orleans. Ska sounds naturally good in open field. The sound of horns was reaching the sky and reflected to my soul. Rebels.


Michael Kiwanuka show at That Tent


At The Soul Rebels' show at What Stage (Main Stage)


Dropping by Two Door Cinema Club, The Avett Brothers, Little Dragon. They were pretty good too: especially I was happy to see Little Dragon whose free show in New York went over-capacity and I couldn't get in. Not too much remembered, though. 


Little Dragon show at This Tent


Feist, had left me with one of memorable musical moments somehow. She knew exactly how to entertain the audience and handle the stage. Very professional in every way- and so was Rodrigo y Gabriela which performed at the main stage later.


Feist show at Which Stage


Then master Radiohead again... shortly after sunset. REGRET #3: I lost my friends because I went to the bathroom and grab some food while the sun was setting. I thought I knew exactly where they were standing... but it just became impossible to spot them when it's dark and people are already "packt like sardines". 


The phone reception was so horrible that it couldn't connect. What the hell, I said to myself, and decided to enjoy it anyway, finding a comfortable spot. The couple standing next to me from Toronto was very nice and friendly, so I was kept entertained. 


Needless to say, they are once again awesome. They seemed like they were playing more seriously- at least Thom Yorke was (In Ohio, they looked like they play to enjoy it). They also played the old songs they didn't play, such as Karma Police which was my all-time favorite (and again, I reflected myself in the lyrics).




Radiohead at What Stage (sorry my camera is a piece of crap at night!)


It was kind of amazing to see how popular Radiohead is in the U.S. I just didn't think they'd come this far, like 15 years ago. There were even sing-along moments. The entire show was very, very "BEAUTIFUL" - the word Flea from RHCP used to describe the show was very appropriate.


After Radiohead past midnight, the party was still going strong. Blackstar was up and playing. Mos Def was partying. I stayed for a few tunes, feeling a bit guilty and worried of my missing friends. Again lost and stranded, I landed to our tent, where I found them ready for bed/tent (it's hard to spot the exact tent when there are hundreds in small area!). 


Blackstar at That Tent




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