WPG-“Roo”: Bonnaroo 2011 Recap Day 3

Saturday, Day 3 of 4. Vids and photos–check ’em out!

Mumford & Sons [Which Stage, 6:15-7:45 PM]
After hearing Mumford and Sons hit “Little Lion Man” on WPGU last summer, I became hooked. Though a late bloomer to this incredible act, I attempted to make up for lost time by buying their debut album, Sigh No More, and listening to it on repeat for days until I knew every last word to each song. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to hear and see them play live at Bonnaroo this year…and apparently so were thousands of other people. With a crowd half a mile thick on all sides of Which stage, it was easy to feel lost amongst the masses; but as soon as Mumford and Sons hit the stage that feeling dissapeared. They to the stage dressed to impress…if they were going to sit on the front porch on a hot summer afternoon. All members of the act had some version of a white tank and shorts on, but their laid back apparel made them seem all that much more down to earth. The Apache Relay gave Mumford and Sons quite the introduction. Explaining to concert goers that “we’re brought here today to celebrate love, unity, and our reality.” The returning Bonnaroo act kicked off the show with “Sigh No More,” then urged the audience to “have a dance” while they played “Roll Away Your Stone.” The rest of the set included “White Blank Page,” “The Cave,” and crowd favorite, “Little Lion Man,” among others from their album Sigh No More. Along with some of their older tunes, Mumford and Sons also played a number of new ones which they have been hard at work on, including “Beneath My Feet” and the flashy tune “Lover of Life,” in which lead singer, Marcus Mumford took to the drums. As the show came to a close, the crowd continued cheering for more. So, Mumford and Sons returned to the stage with a number of musical friends including Old Crow Medicine Show and Jerry Douglas to play a jam packed version of “Amazing Grace,” complete with an accordian, harmonica, fiddle and horn solo. – Aubrey Morse

The Black Keys [What Stage, 8:00-9:30 PM]
Formed in 2001, The Black Keys have become a powerhouse duo in rock music. These are two relatively simple dudes, proven by the obvious fact that their band consists of Dan Auerbach on guitar and Patrick Carney on drums. But, these guys are anything but dull and the huge crowd that anxiously waited for them to hit the stage proved that fact. Any doubts in my mind regarding The Black Keys’ ability to entertain such a huge venue began to dissolve when comedian Aziz Ansari hilariously introduced the duo on stage. Ansari introduced himself as “Ken Bonnaroo, founder of Bonnaroo” and then announced that The Black Eyed Peas (who were supposed to be playing tonight) got into a hot air balloon accident and that The Black Keys would be playing as a fall-back. “Give it up for The Black Eyed Peas,” Ansari said and the crowd went wild. The boys kicked off their set playing the short and sweet “Hold Me In Your Arms” off of 2003’s Thickfreakness. Without skipping a beat though they catered to the crowd by playing some favorites off of Brothers including “Howlin’ For You” and “Tighten Up”. By the third song Carney’s shirt was completely soaked through which was appropriate considering he was banging the shit out of his Ludwig drum-kit. The duo showed huge amounts of energy while never missing a beat during their blues-y, rattling rock ‘n roll. When Auerbach announced that they were about to play their last number masses of people pushed to the front and “I Got Mine” began to play, the sound of the cowbell echoing around the huge area. They boys didn’t play an encore (suspiciously in time for Buffalo Springfield who was playing at another stage soon after to have the spotlight) which prompted the people around me (all of who knew every word, to every song) to scream “More Cowbell! More Cowbell!”. – Natalie Wontorczyk

Eminem [What Stage, 11:00-12:30 AM]
When reviewing the Bonnaroo 2011 lineup for the first time months ago, I didn’t think twice about seeing Eminem on the bill. Though I knew I would be in attendance for his show, I didn’t think it would be the highlight of my music fest; or at least that is what I thought prior to seeing his performance on the What Stage. Something like 80,000 fans came out to see the Michigan born, Grammy Award winning artist who did not disappoint. From the beginning, Eminem who was rocking a black zip-up hoodie, long camouflage shorts, and a shirt that read “Bad vs. Evil” (perhaps a reference to his latest single, of the same phrase), came out swinging. He kicked off his set with “Won’t Back Down” and “3 a.m.,” which had the crowd going wild. The show was already off to a dynamic start and the crowd was watching, with eyes wide, to see what the rapper would do next. With a strong mix of both old and new, loyal fans from The Marshall Mathers days and those who are more accustomed to the recent hits off “Recovery,” were all made happy. Eminem’s strong set included “The Way I Am,” “Like Toy Soldiers,” “Crack A Bottle,” and “Stan,” among others. “Bonnaroo; Tennessee; Everyone in this bitch! I’m gonna take you all back.” And he did with a medley of “My Name Is,” “The Real Slim Shady,” and “Without Me.” He then thanked the crowd and dedicated his final song of the set, “Not Afraid,” to all of his fans who have stood by him over the years. Though the lights dimmed and Eminem walked off stage, the crowd had not had enough. A chorus of “We. Want. Shady,” erupted through the audience, shaking the Bonnaroo grounds. After five minutes of chanting, Eminem made his way back to the stage. As the bass line of “Lose Yourself” began, a fountain of sparks fell from the canopy of the stage, and the crowd began to roar. During this electric finale, everyone in attendance did, in fact, lose themselves. – Aubrey Morse

Gogol Bordello [The Other Tent, 2:00-4:15 AM]
The fact that Gogol didn’t come out to play until 2 AM told me that this would be one hell of a party. I had the privilege to see the group at last summer’s Lollapalooza and at the Congress Theater in April of 2010. Basically, I knew what I was getting myself into when I walked into a huge crowd that not only persisted through the late (or super early, depending on how you look at it) show but reveled in it. Gogol Bordello is constantly touring and the quirky frontman Eugene Hutz is a symbol of gypsy punk across the globe. Gypsy punk, yes. They have 9 members representing a variety of nations from across the globe and just as many instruments. Positive energy is all you felt throughout Gogol’s dancing dominated, just over two hour set. Songs like “Start Wearing Purple”, “Pala Tute”, “My Companjera” and “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher)” were but a few in a slew of tunes that literally rocked until dawn. There’s no way to put into words what a Gogol Bordello concert feels like, the whole crowd is dancing and jumping in union the. whole. time.. Eugene drinks wine on stage (always) and leads his little dancing army into what he calls “a global revolution”. It’s beautiful and zany and fun and so layered. You have to experience it. – Natalie Wontorczyk

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