My Morning Jacket were supposed to play from midnight to 3 a.m. last night, PopWatchers. Instead, they played until 4. In the pouring rain. For four hours. It was something I will never forget as long as I live. How good was the four-hour long show in the pouring rain? Well, first, it was pouring rain, and I didn’t leave. My raincoat went from waterproof to water-indifferent, and I didn’t leave. I had no food or potable water, and I didn’t leave. And then the dude behind me whipped it out and PEED ON MY FOOT while trying to relieve himself into a bottle, and I DID NOT LEAVE. No, the My Morning Jacket four hour concert in the pouring rain was so good that a man peed on me, and neither one of us was willing to break the MMJ spell long enough to walk away from each other. We just stood there. Pee-er. Pee-ee. Together. Soaked in rain, pee, and wonder. THAT is how good last night’s My Morning Jacket show was.
So you’ve got Jim James (pictured) and the rest to blame for the massive tardiness of this blog post– and for the fact that I missed Sharon Jones, Against Me!, and Two Gallants today. I needed sleep, I needed to warm up, I needed to process what I saw last night. I came to the conclusion that, Jacket-wise, I cannot. Not in any concise, constructive fashion, anyway. So here’s what we’re doing instead, PopWatchers: Because it was pouring so hard, I had to take notes on my BlackBerry. Those notes, written between screen-clouding raindrops, are not eloquent, but they’ll give you a sense of my brain activity during the show. Maybe go buy Okonokos and have it playing in the background while you read or something. And then, on Monday, I will try and write something more lyrical in my wrapup. Deal?
Luckily, I was not waterlogged for most of the day, and so coherent, almost-interesting thoughts about everything else I saw exist after the jump: Drive-By Truckers, Rilo Kiley, Swell Season, Raconteurs, M.I.A., Minus the Bear, the comedy stylings of Janeane Garofalo and Chris Rock, and the colossal force of Metallica.
“This is an early morning motherf—ing wakeup call,” said Patterson Hood, swigging from a bottle of beer as the Drive-By Truckers took the stage at 12:30. I followed his lead and grabbed a Bud of my own, then stood in the blazing heat and reapplyed sunscreen three different times during songs like “Ronnie and Neil,” “Righteous Path,” and “Shut Up and Get on the Plane.” Hood had us all wish legendary Muscle Shoals songwriter (and occasional Trucker keyboardist) Spooner Oldham a happy birthday before letting him take the lead on his own “I’m Your Puppet,” and after the Southern thing dissipated into the humid air, I decided to sample the comedy stage. Inside the giant circus tent, it is nicely air-conditioned and very popular; I made it over there in time to see Janeane Garofalo spend a good deal of self-deprecating time wandering amidst the chortling crowd in rain boots she got from Wal-Mart. Then it was off to Minus the Bear’s loopy, rhythmically active indie rock, where Jake Snider managed to bring the hairy frontman fury despite forgetting his contacts. “I’m sure you all look really good,” he said to the enthusiastic crowd, whose cheers were loudest after an eerie female synth vocal bled into the recognizable opening keys of “Pachuca Sunrise.”
Got to see only a bit of the Swell Season, the Bonnaroo schedule permitting me to stay for “Say it to Me Now,” “Lies,” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up” before I had to dart back across the field to be escorted into the Raconteurs photo pit. Spent most of this time thinking about how truly special it must be for Glen, Marketa, and the Frames to come into city after city and be greeted by adoring fans who’ve been legitimately touched by their music (and their mostly-fictional Once story). As I wandered off, Glen was trying to find a poet in the crowd to come up on stage and jam with them, “in the spirit of Bonnaroo.” I don’t know how that worked out, but once I finished with the Raconteurs– didn’t stay long, seen ‘em twice in the last two months and the set list is a not-very-changing thing (though we got “Store Bought Bones” yesterday)– I went straight back to the Swell Season tent for Rilo Kiley. There, a cluster of people was growing by the backstage area; closer examination revealed Glen and Marketa standing on what appeared to be a golf cart, happily chatting over the fence with their fans. And since Glen couldn’t figure out how to hop the fence in a classy way, the two of them eventually just came straight out the front of the tent and spent at least 10 minutes taking picture after picture with kids who stared at them with wide, moony eyes. It’s a worldwide crush if I’ve ever seen one.
Did someone say Rilo Kiley? I did! Another set that doesn’t always change that much, but Jenny Lewis is consistently a blast to watch (and photograph). I stayed for “Close Call,” “Moneymaker,” and “Dreamworld” before I felt called to attempt one last run at the M.I.A. photo pit. Off I went, elbowing my way through the hyped-up crowd as the humidity rose. Someone had thrown New Year’s-style horns out to the kids, and between the blaring blast and the endless clapping/chanting, I needed earplugs before the show even started. “M-I-A!” they chanted. Man, the kids love this chick. Except when she goes on stage late. “Where the f— is M.I.A.??” one dude yelled, as the minutes ticked by. Once she finally opened with “Bamboo Banga,” I got some shots, and then I fled the heat and the bruising and the noise and the angry security man whose face kept popping into my lens. It was like Coachella all over again, and I think I’ve finally learned my lesson. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m… ya can’t get fooled again!
Back to Rilo Kiley for “It’s a Hit,” “Better Son/Daughter,” “Silver Lining,” “I Never,” and Blake introducing “Portions for Foxes” by telling the crowd, “You guys are a bunch of goddamn beauties.” After the last “bad news,” I took off again, this time to make it to the mainstage in time for… Chris Rock! Who kicked Janeane Garofalo’s standup comedy ass, though I’m sure that would come as no surprise to her at all. I was told that if most Bonnaroo attendees showed up for his hour-long set it would be the biggest comedy performance of all time; no word on that record, but with material on politics, male/female relations, and racial relations in general (“Flavor Flav must be killed in order for black people to be truly free”), I’d say Rock more than lived up to his pre-Metallica slot. Speaking of, I thought it was nice that these dudes named Lars and Kirk introduced him. And in honor of the late Tim Russert, I’m willing to forgive him for comparing Hillary Clinton to a hooker.
Did someone say Metallica? F— YOU! No, really. Um, that got yelled a lot by both the band and the crowd at my first-ever Metallica show. Which was, by the way, kinda kickass. I never really figured I’d make it through two and a half hours of it, but 1) Metallica are really engaging live performers, with James Hetfield and Hammett running all over the stage as Rob Trujillo just stands there, murdering his bass by degrees, 2) they have gotten their production down to a science, and put on what was the best-sounding show I’ve heard all year from a purely technical perspective, and 3) I apparently have somehow osmosed a shockingly large number of Metallica songs. Before granting us a 900-hour-long version of “Master of Puppets,” they’d already knocked off “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Unforgiven,” “No Remorse,” and “The Memory Remains.” At this point, there was an hour left to go, and I figured I’d heard everything I was going to be able to scream along with. But no, PopWatchers! From there we got “Nothing Else Matters” (Hammett’s bluesy intro to this should be bottled and sold), “Sad But True,” a fireworks show, and a freakin’ monumental version of “Enter Sandman,” complete with loud, impressive pyro. Former burn victim Hetfield, it should be noted, did not flinch as the flashpots went off. That, friends, is a professional. “Who cares about you?” he asked the slightly-less-enthusiastic-than-I-thought-they’d-be crowd. “Metallica, that’s who.” Then a rousing rendition of “Seek and Destroy” (featuring a nearly-disastrous P.A. breakdown towards the end, quickly rectified but weird) sent us all home into the night.
Well, some of us. The rest of us stayed for My Morning Jacket. And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Whitney Types The Notes She Took On Her BlackBerry Directly Into The Blog!
Evil Urges / Off the Record / hey-oh! / rain! / I’m Amazed / [NOTE: Highly Suspicious was in here somewhere, but I guess I was too busy throwing down to write it down] / Thank You Too / Touch Me 1 / scarf! / Golden / Two Halves / Lay Low pouring / I am getting tired of your s— Tyrone / Not the dream that makes you weak / tossing raindrops out of his hair / POURING!!! / Patrick Jacket solo / Pause. / “Electronics and rain are not friends, but we’re trying to make ‘em be friends.” / Towel on head / Anytime / Aluminum Park / Stopped raining!! / ? / Dancefloors / HORNS!! / One Big Holiday w Kirk Hammett / HOLY F—ING S— / jump everybody jump / 2am / Break / Cape! James Brown cape!! / When you kiss me I don’t care I just want to understand / Jim wants to be in a soul band / “If you don’t remember it, I feel bad for you.” / Get Down On It dance party!! / This poor security guard thinks we’re nuts / Okay this is totally the soul revival portion of evening / You gotta be strong if you want to survive / 615 502 represent! (nashville/louisville area horns) / Wordless Chorus / phantom of opera / Poochie does not care about your rain! Poochie is undaunted! High five Poochie! / pouring again / Phone Went West / reggae in rain / Dude behind me peed on my foot / Magheeta / Oh sweety nothin you ain’t got nothin at all / Librarian – guitar f—ed / Also lyrics f—ed / Bermuda Highway / Dondante?? / Carl on sax! / Run Thru / Now they are just f—ing with us / End refrain over and over / broken string / Smokin’ / Touch me 2 / Omnichord breaks!!! / so he just sings it / god to get to this point and have no omnichord!! / Home Sweet Home motley crue wtf / crowd does Idol sway / Zach Galifinakis in Annie costume / 4:11 on clock in car
Best. Show. Ever. And I know what you’re thinking, PopWatchers: Can she possibly enjoy tonight’s Pearl Jam show as much or more than that? Ha. TRY ME.