Traditionally known for drugs and jam sessions, the fest has ratcheted up its style quotient in the past few years. Last year, I was surprised at the number of cute dresses and dapper duds being sported by my peers, so I obviously had to step up my sartorial game. However, I was still looked over by Style.com’s roving photog. You’re officially on my shit list Amy Dickerson.
Anyhoo, strapping on my cowboy bots, hiking up my booty shorts and tying my hair in an assortment of colorful scarves, I trekked through the savage heat, the unholy mud and the unwashed masses to witness some of the best artists performing this summer.
After a literal washout on Thursday night, Friday brought warm weather and the first must-sees of the fest. Former Icon of the Week and current ladycrush, Karen O. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put on an amazing show that afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to miss gold doorknocker-rocker Santigold who was scheduled at the same time (shame on you, Bonnaroo gods).
Luckily, Ms. O. (in a technicolor kimono and neon yellow zebra print leggings, no less) and Co. delivered brilliantly, despite some tuning trouble for adorable pocket guitarist, Nick Zinner.
Later that night, the Beastie Boys proved that three Jewish geezers from Brooklyn can still swagger with the best of them. About halfway through their eclectic set featuring hits such as “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and “Sabotage”, the trio brought out QB’s finest and renowned Kelis baby daddy, Nas, which brought the dazed and confused crowd to its feet.
Saturday afternoon, I missed the lovely Jenny Lewis, hoping to avoid any hint of sun. By nightfall, though, I had pulled it relatively together to see Bruce Springsteen slide his still sexy/nearing 60 crotch across the stage and show us that the Real Housewives are not the only entertaining thing that’s ever come out of Jersey. Later that night, Nine Inch Nails shook the earth and muscly-armed Trent Reznor and I made a little eyeliner eye contact.
According to Reznor, this would be the last gig the band would ever play in the U.S. Not a bad note to leave on, lady.
Then at 2:30 in the AM, Drew Barrymore and I hung out at the MGMT show, where we were both completely out of it and may or may not have made out with each other. I don’t kiss and tell.
The duo’s “Time to Pretend” could have been the theme song for the entire festival, as it seemed the entire festival stayed up late to see them. As the crowd sang along to the lyrics “This is our decision to live fast and die young,” I pondered, a la Carrie Bradshaw, the state of youth. How shallow it is, how exciting it is, the fleetingness of youth’s promise as well as the fleetingness of ecstasy’s high after four straight days of use. Though we were all together, thousands of silhouettes in the dark, were we at all connected? Or was it just the burgeoning coma talking?
Crawling my way through the last day, I genuflected at the altar of Erykah Badu, who is without a doubt the Messiah. In tranny heels, a Public Enemy sweatshirt and in spectacular voice, Badu held the crowd in the palm of her hands as she dove deep into tracks from her latest album and some old favorites, like “On & On” and “Didn’t Cha Know.”
After smoking a fattie with Snoop, I sashayed away to see Prog gods Coheed and Cambria turn it out before packing my giant LVs and hitching a ride out back to “civilization.”
I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked to have seen (TV on the Radio, Girl Talk and Al Green come to mind), or do anyone that I would have like to have done (seriously, the man-gazing at Bonnaroo is worth the price of admission alone), but Bonnaroo ’09 was an experience to be remembered. Too bad I don’t have any brain cells left to accomplish that.