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Bonnaroo Day 3
:: June 15, 2014 :: by Joseph Phelan Jr

Bonnaroo takes a toll on your body. Walking around, standing during shows and sleeping on the ground in a tent can really make your whole body ache. Right now, it’s 10:13 central time on the final day of Bonnaroo. The first three days having been absolutely life changing.

Day three featuring some incredible shows, including the best show I’ve ever seen. Kirk and I began our day at Kevin Devine. Devine’s a Brooklyn musician who Kirk has had the pleasure of interviewing. Devine played a 40-minute set, and he was simply fantastic. He had a really strong surrounding, and even invited fans to meet him following the show. After his show we walked towards the front of the stage and see Grouplove’s Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi. Apparently they are fans of Kevin Devine. Kirk talked to Kevin Devine briefly. There had to be about 40 people waiting to meet Kevin. He was selling t-shirts and vinyl. After Kevin Devine, we grubbed before Grouplove’s show. I ate BBQ pork sandwiches, while Kirk went with Mac & Cheese. Grouplove started at 4 p.m., so we arrived about 30 minutes prior to try and get a good spot. Kirk has seen Grouplove before, but yesterday was my first time, and it was freaking electric. Grouplove goes all out during shows, and I’ve become even more of a fan during their performance. Grouplove opened with “I’m With You” and then continued with songs from their 2013 album titled Spreading Rumors, including “Schoolboy”, “Shark Attack”, “What I Know”, “Didn’t Have to Go”, “Bitin’ the Bullet”, and more. They even tossed out their “Drunk In Love” cover towards the end of their set. Kirk wanted to see Cage the Elephant at 4:45, so he left Grouplove early. He’s disappointed he missed out on the “Drunk in Love” cover.

My phone barely had any service this weekend, so it died on Friday. I didn’t have any way of contacting Kirk since I didn’t have his number saved, but we planned to meet at Cage the Elephant at the “Which Stage.” I couldn’t find Kirk as Cage the Elephant’s set was finishing. We had this meeting spot near a beer stand, but I couldn’t find him. I ended up walking to Jamestown Revival, who was playing at 7 near the main stage, but still I couldn’t find Kirk. Believe it or not, it’s damn near impossible to spot one person in a crowd of 80,000 in a 700-acre farm. I walked back to the spot we planned to meet at for Cage the Elephant, but he wasn’t there. I made up my mind that I would just go see Jamestown Revival, and then see whomever else and meet him back at the campsite later that evening. Amazingly, I saw him walking with his backwards St. Bonaventure hat on, and his neon orange spring weekend shirt, so we walked to catch Jamestown Revival, who really put on an excellent show. They had a number of passionate fans that knew each word to each song. I knew only a handful of Jamestown Revival songs, but I was impressed with what I had heard from the indie folk band.

After Jamestown Revival we ate some food while listening to the beginning of Lionel Richie’s set. We then walked over to see James Blake. We ended up just sitting down a bench away from the stage. After about 30 minutes of James Blake we walked over to Jack White and the main stage. We ended up catching Lionel Richie’s finale, which was Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.” We had to wait 45 minutes until Jack White’s set began, but we ended up with a great spot. My lower back had been killing me for a number of reasons, but mainly because of standing all day. I didn’t think I could make it. I tried to just continue to move around and try to think about anything but my back, but once Jack White began his set, I stopped thinking about my back and I just thought about the music.

White played the best show I’ve ever seen. It was two hours and 20 minutes of pure awesomeness. He gave some inspiring words of advice, along with telling us to thank those workers who have difficult and thankless jobs like those who work in the auto industry. He told the crowd how much he loved his mom, and that if you have a mom, you should tell her that and spend as much time as possible with her. One of the more inspiring moments of the show took place pretty early when Jack White mentioned, “Who makes music happen? Does a tabloid like Rolling Stone make music happen?” then he continued with, “You and I make it exist.” That really spoke to me, and it gave me a personal connection to Jack White and his music that every music fan longs for. Jack White has never been a musician I listen to regularly, but only because I never really got into his music. That show last night changed me. I don’t know if I’ll be some die-heart Jack White fan or anything, but I definitely gained a new perspective on things after hearing his show. My favorite part of the night was his version of “We’re Going to Be Friends,” which has always been one of my favorites. The fans adored Jack White. He could say no wrong during that 140-minute set.

I’ve seen some remarkable shows over the past three days, and today, the final day, hopes to bring even more remarkable shows. I’m excited to see Elton John, Lucero, Artic Monkeys, City and Colour and The Avett Brothers. I don’t know when I’ll post my next Bonnaroo post. It probably will be Monday or Tuesday, depending on what happens with the NBA Finals, but I just want to say how wonderful this opportunity has been to write about Bonnaroo. The word Bonnaroo means “a really good time.” It’s a completely fitting and appropriate word for such a festival. Never before have I witnessed so many people mesmerized in the music. I saw people actually get lost in it. I can’t thank Kirk enough for driving us down and making this weekend one of the best ones of my life. We hope to be back next year, and bring some of our friends, because every single music fan should experience Bonnaroo.

Here are the top 7 shows I've seen so far:

7. Kevin Devine

6. Jamestown Revival

5. The Head and the Heart 

4. Grouplove

3. CHVRCHES

2. Kanye West

1. Jack White

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