BONNAROO 2005 | TOP SETS RECAP
3. Benevento/Russo Duo with Mike Gordon - It is one of the great pleasures to see how far these two kings of music from the gritty streets of Brooklyn have come since they hooked up (literally) in the tap room a few years back. To see them on that big Bonnaroo stage and to watch & hear the crowd sing the entire Mike's Song was the biggest moment of chills for me over the weekend. Trey can cover whatever Phish he want and none of it will make me feel like these three did honest justice to two of my favorite Phish songs, like "Foam". Plus the joy on Marco's face was worth the price of admission alone. And it wasn't just the Phish influence, the Duo stuff before Mike joined them was slammin and got a huge roar, especially 9x9. Them boys sick....and no longer just in the head! Plus, the Bonnarusso homemade shirt that some hippie gave Joe was shirt of the weekend!
2. The Black Crowes - my sentimental favorite, was looking forward to this set more than almost anything. I will stand by my statement that The Black Crowes are the defining rock and roll band of my coming-of-age. They broke up, tried what they tried, and realized they were better as a team. Brothers Chris and Rich back together, Marc Ford's moustache shimmering in the breeze, his scissorhand fingers showing megashred ability. The thing about this band in 2005 is that they are so versatile, they are able to play Phish-style jam rock and kick ass, they are able to showcase their southern roots by playing the dueling guitars of southern rock, and they are also second to none at playing gospel rock, showcasing those buttah-sounding backup singers. To play three styles of rock well, and to do it within the framework of some of the greatest songs of my youth, like "Wiser Time," "Thorn in My Pride," "Seeing Things," "Soul Singing" and "My Morning Song" - well, I was a kid in a candy store again. Not to mention their cover choices, opening with The Band's "Don't Do It" and closing the set with the cover song that gave me the most chills all weekend: "Brokedown Palace" - The Black Crowes toasted Jerry's memory with great taste and total class. Long live this incarnation, take back the title of best Georgia band from WSP. Can't wait for the Crowes at Fillmore run!
1. My Morning Jacket on Sunday at What Stage. I had never seen MMJ before, but have worn out my copy of It Still Moves waiting for this day to come. After last year's epic weather-soaked set, all eyez on them...but how could they possibly repeat? They had a white-haired conductor, but didn't need him. They had multiple ten foot puppets on stage, but could hardly notice, the music was so entrancing. Yes, the band is great, but there is one difference between everyone else. MMJ has what no one else has: Jim James' voice. It literally stopped the rain and brought the crowd to a crescendo, and took it down so delicately for an acoustic "Golden". The voice, the band, the songs...every song was great, and I only knew half of them. Saw many Dylan covers over the weekend, but MMJ cover of "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" was off the charts. "Mahgeetah" closer was phenom. This band brings it, I joined the street team.
Bonnaroo 2005 Honorable Mentions
The Mars Volta - What a buzz beforehand, everyone was talking about it, no one seemed to have any plans to miss it. I could not tell where the songs started and ended. Latin Rock explosion. Totally mystifying. Definitely sounded like aliens were coming to explode This Tent in the first notes, they blew out all the power. This is the biggest thing in rock right now, I hope they stay true to the intention, the Volta could be the biggest latin rock band of all time. Not kidding. (listen to "Drunkship of Lanterns" in case you have been living under a rock)
The Drive By Truckers played one of the best high energy sets of the weekend on Friday, and they ain't never gonna change! Was very impressed as to how they translated on the big stage, this is a solid band, getting better each time I see them.
Dr. Dog on Sunday morning in That Other Tent. Nothing better than wakin up with the Dog! Great band, I wore out my vocal chords telling people about the Dog! Chanting "Wake Up" with them is very therapeutic, I recommend it when they come to your town.
Widespread Panic headlining the big What Stage on Sunday made me a believer, after thirteen years of seeing them and being underwhelmed, the Sunday set brought the heat. Originals (opening with Space Wrangler, Tall Boy, Diner!), covers, and guests (Herb Hancock, Col. Bruce, Bob Weird, etc)
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