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R K Pope

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The Bonnaroo Chronicles, THE MUSIC, Part One - Friday
By R K Pope
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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The Bonnaroo Chronicles, THE MUSIC, Part One - Friday

Bonnaroo, the Music
Ahhhhhhhhhh, the moment you've all been waiting for............the music. Well, maybe not ALL of you. This one's dedicated to my fellow music lovers --- Marsha, Rick, Chan, Yale. I don't have the musical knowledge of Rick and Chan, nor is writing about it my forte. As a result, I know that I will not be able to do it justice from a musical aspect as Rick would.
Basically, I'll just tell you what we saw, and how the show was. And, obviously, it is impossible to see everything, so some of this will be based on Matt's report. I will try not to use the word 'amazing' too much. :o) And, unless I was at 'What Stage' (the biggest and the only one with a giant movie screen), I usually couldn't SEE much of the stage --- a downfall of being only 5'3" -- so a lot of my 'seeing' was actually only hearing.
I also split the music into 3 e-mails because they are incredibly long due to the 'people I met along the way' descriptions and stories I inserted.
FRIDAY
Friday 1:00, Old Crow Medicine Show is my first stop (of course I went to see them Rick). The entrance into Centeroo (where the stages are) is slow as security checks for illegal items. The crowd is getting anxious, myself included -- I did not want to miss OCMS. I'm concerned because I am completely unsure of where exactly 'This Tent' is. I make friends with a really nice group of folks from Toronto and Dundok (sp?) -- Andy, Vera, Rhonda, Ed, and Rob -- who coincidentally were also on their way to OCMS. It was fate. The natives are getting restless, though and, people start hopping fences. All of a sudden it is a free-for-all, and the gates open up to let everyone in.
Andy & his gang took me under their collective wing and delivered me safely to the right stage. And, for this they deserve more than just a few brief words of mention. Andy and Vera were a couple from Toronto. Andy was an extremely tall, with brown, wavy hair, and wore a cowboy hat and one of those short sleeved button down shirts with the metal snap buttons. He was very outgoing and friendly, but most importantly he was just so da*n excited to be there, and for ALL of US to be there, experiencing it with him. His excitement was infectious. I think Vera was a writer or reporter as she carried a camera and I seem to recall Andy alluding to this. She had gorgeous, thick, long, wavy, auburn hair, pulled back with one of those cowboy hats that curls up on the side. She was wearing a dress and boots, and makeup even. They were not in the least bit 'countrified.' Rhonda and Ed were married, Rob was Rhonda's brother, and the three of them were from Dundok (sp?). Rob and Ed, who I kept calling, much to my dismay and embarrassment, Ned, were very quiet. Rhonda was a short, plump blonde with a bubbly personality. She smiled the whole time, and kept saying 'I need some weed.' I found her to be very likeable. At one point during OCMS, I gave her my spot because she couldn't see at all, and I had managed to luck into a hole through the crowd of heads. I would spend much of my time at Bonnaroo searching for a hole in the heads in order to see the stage.
The band --Ketch Secor on fiddle and harmonica, Willie Watson on guitar, Morgan Jahnig on upright bass, Kevin Hayes on guitjo and banjo, and Critter Fuqua on banjo, accordion, and slide guitar; Some of the songs played -- CC Rider, Tear It Down, Tell It to Me, Take 'em Away - all played with such energy, it is impossible not to move to, and if you know the words, sing along with, the music. I think this crowd 'got it,' Rick. And, I have come to the conclusion that I am a violin/fiddle player slut, or could be should the situation ever present itself. Though, my infatuation for the band members is a tie between Ketch & Willie, who share lead vocals.
At 2:15, I take in a little bit of Joss Stone while I rest at the Brooers Village. Not really being familiar with much of her music, I don't know what songs she sang, but I enjoyed what I heard, though it isn't music I typically listen to. I believe Matt caught this show and was impressed - high praise from my young cousin - who does not usually like 'chick musicians.'
At 3:00, I head over to 'What Stage' to hear Alison Krauss & Union Station (AKUS). The band - Alison Krauss on fiddle and vocals, Dan Tyminski on acoustic guitar and vocals, Barry Bales on bass and harmony, Jerry Douglas on slide guitar, and Ron Block on banjo and guitar. I met two guys there, and am sorry to say I don't recall their names. They were fun, and we hung out for awhile, long enough for them to offer to find some alcohol for, and drive back to Florida with, me. I did mention how friendly everyone was, right? Alison Krauss & DanTyminski share vocals. Even if you aren't familiar with his name, surely you're familiar with his voice -- the singing voice for George Clooney/Soggy Bottom Boys in 'O Brother Where Art Thou.' I absolutely love Allison Krauss. Her demeanor and interaction with the crowd is just like her singing -- sweet, unobtrusive and she hits notes with seemingly almost no effort.
From 4:30 - 7:30, I walked around a little, pit-stopped at the Brooer's tent a lot to rest my already pitifully-in-pain ankles, and took in a little bit of Jurassic 5, Allman Brothers, and Herbie Hancock. I would have liked to have been able to enjoy all of the Allman Brothers (next time I will) -- but I had to save myself for Dave. I have priorities. At the Brooer's Village, I met another couple, this one from San Francisco. Dan, a carpenter, is a good-looking, quiet guy with long hair pulled back in a ponytail, and is wearing a ball cap. I believe his girlfriend's name was Becky. I have no idea why I can't recall. I did not write it down because I remember thinking it was a name I would not forget, which makes Becky sound more right. At any rate, that is what we will call her. Becky is a radio DJ for a classical rock station and is actually there to work as part of the Bonnaroo Radio DJ group for the weekend. Her shoulder-length blonde hair is braided into two low pony tails, and she is also sporting a cowboy hat similar to Vera's. They are very nice and we chat for a while. Becky was disappointed that she would miss the Black Crowes as that was her time slot on Bonnaroo radio.
It's 7:30, an hour away from the main event of MY Bonnaroo experience --- the Dave Matthews Band. They don't come out until 9:00, and I am ticked!! But, on Sunday, when I realized they cut out the intermission, all is forgiven. Here I meet Ruth and Angie from Rome, Georgia -- two very sweet girls with incredibly deep southern accents - it was funny to think of them as Dave fans. I don't need to explain their music to you, if you've been with me in a car, you have been forced to listen to them, I'm sure.
Dave is incredibly pumped up and the show is AWESOME!! They start with 'One Sweet World' --- appropo as Dave sings 'so let us sleep outside tonight.' The rest of the set -- Too Much, Die Trying, Rapunzel, #40 (tease), Time of the Season, Hello Again, Crash, Bartender, Smooth Rider, Rhyme & Reason, Jimi Thing, Hunger for the Great Light, Two Step (I tried Marsha), Louisiana Bayou (M & R, I've reversed my opinion), Watchtower, Steady as We Go (it was awesome Rick), and Tripping Billies. They are joined on stage by Warren Haynes (Allman Bros, Gov't Mule) to perform 'Jimi Thing' ----- okay, I'm going to say it --- AMAZING!!!!! I was beside myself with excitement. Warren Haynes is a hard working guitar player!! Then, they played, from the latest album - Louisiana Bayou - not one of my favorites, in fact, I didn't even like it. After Bonnaroo, I have had a COMPLETE change of heart. DMB is joined on stage by Robert Randolph (RR & the Family Band & The Word) for this number and the next 'Watchtower' (sorry Marsha). Randolph plays a pedal and lap steel guitar, and I am in awe, to say the least. Matt described his performance on the lap guitar as 'sick' (that's a good thing apparently). At one point, they are jamming so hard that Randolph actually STANDS UP in his chair and plays --- unbelieveable!!!! If you go out to the Bonnaroo website, there are some great pics of Boyd, Dave and Robert.
Okay, I'll stop 'geeking.' Is it too obvious that they're my favorite band?


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