Day three (June 13) of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival might better be known as the day of The Boss.
Although Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band started about 20 minutes late (sparking murmurs of another Kanye West fiasco), The Boss and the boys dominated the main stage for nearly three hours with hits like “Working On a Dream,” “Youngstown” and “Thunder Road,” emitting enough rock n’ roll clamor for the entire 80,000-person campground to hear.
Springsteen may be one of Bonnaroo’s best so far, but he was preceded by an extensive lineup of impressive performers.
Georgia-based indie-rockers Of Montreal (pictured above) brought the circus to This Tent with an hour and one half-long set that featured confetti, streamers and plenty of dancing extras wearing clown-esque costumes and animal masks.
Lead singer Kevin Barnes carried the band, whose members were adorned in the usual elaborate glam-rock garb, through mostly newer material off 2008′s “Skeletal Lampings,” but gave the most flamboyant performances during old favorites like the infectiously dancy “Party Crashing Us Now.”
After Of Montreal’s zoo of a show, I found a seat in the grass-mud just outside This Tent for The Decemberists (featured above). It seems like every other Decemberists show I see is a fantastic, multi-instrumental journey, but this must have been one of the off days. A few songs in, I found myself yawning, so I hopped over to the Which Stage directly behind me for the evening’s musical mindfuck with The Mars Volta.
It was difficult to discern which songs the band selected between all the jazz/funk/hard rock odysseys that saturated the set, but I was pleased to hear a fair amount of material off The Mars Volta’s first album, “De-Loused in the Comatorium.” The highlight of the hour-long set for me was a short reprise featuring lyrics from The Misfits’ (Danzig era) “Bullet.”
On the way to snag my spot for The Boss, I decided to give The Decemberists a second chance (after all, they ran late, so I needed some tunes to fill the gap). And good thing that I had a little faith left in my back pocket, because the band closed on a rowdy cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You,” which warranted a singalong that was easily one of the weekend’s best.
After getting dazzled by Springsteen (and nearly crushed by the crowd), I wrapped up my evening with the legendary Nine Inch Nails. As one of the band’s last shows on their final tour before their well-publicized hiatus, Trent Reznor and the boys were in top form, stretching the limits of the audiences vocal cords with scream-a-long hits like “Survivalism” and “Head Like a Hole.”
By the end of the set (nearly 3 a.m.), my legs were melting out from under me, so I dragged myself back to the campsite. Luckily, I was able to hear the wonderful psychedelic-pop ballads of MGMT all the way to the tent – gotta love the late-night Roo!
Check back here on Beatcrave.com tomorrow and Twitter throughout the day to witness coverage of this glorious festival’s final day: Cage the Elephant, Dillinger Escape Plan, Andrew Bird, Shadows Fall, Dear and the Headlights, Snoop Dogg and Phish (maybe)!