June 21, 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 - The Duhks

One of my favorite moments at Bonnaroo came on Friday afternoon. After a stroll around the parking lots, we made our way through the arch as Stephen Marley was rockin' the What Stage. We paused to see our fellow al"UM" on the Which Stage and then made our way to That Tent for Minus the Bear, back to Which to see what Les was up to this year. Turns out he's up to a lot of the same tricks as always, mainly playing the bass better than nearly anyone else in the universe and looking equally bizarre while doing it. After we'd had our annual fill of Mr. Claypool (or so we thought until later that night) we headed to !!! (pronounced "Chk, Chk, Chk").

On the way, we were drawn to the Troo Music Lounge by the sounds of a powerful alto backed by a rock band with country sensibilities which momentarily drowned out the noise of the bigger shows. The Duhks, a five-piece from Winnipeg, were playing to a nearly packed crowd and they were taking full advantage of the opportunity. Regardless, we were ready to move on after about a song and half. You've gotta remember, its Bonnaroo. There's just not enough time to see everything. One and a half songs for a single, unknown band is a lot of time.

Then the Duhks seamlessly transitioned into Whole Lotta Love.

It was the first of several times over the course of the weekend when I showed Marcus the hairs sticking up on my arm, my barometer for a noteworthy performance. MB and I headed to the front, basking in the familiar yet unique version of the Zeppelin staple from II. I swear, Robert Plant himself would have appreciated the power of the performance (I hate to downplay the rest of the band - the were incredible - but the vocalist did Mr. Plant justice in a way that I've rarely witnessed in a live setting). As they wrapped up their set, I walked out of the tent, literally choking back tears. The performance was just that powerful. When we met up with the rest of our crew at !!!, I struggled for a few minutes to describe what we'd just witnessed. Failing miserably, I found consolation writing in my Moleskine.

The rest of the night wasn't too shabby either. M.I.A.'s "final" performance, Willie Nelson (I strolled up to his show as he finished Bobby McGee and went into the fan-favorite portion of his set - On the Road Again, You Are Always on My Mind, and one of his pot anthems), Chris Rock, Metallica (holy crap!), Tiesto, My Morning Jacket (mainly during runs to the bathroom or water trailers but their version of Erykah Badu's Tyrone while we waited out some particularly strong rain in the Troo Lounge was insane), Superjam (Les, Gogol and Kirk Hammet...uhhhhhh), and Disco Biscuits. Mix in a few brews, some simosas, an oddly wonderful, horribly beautiful karaoke version of Radiohead's Creep, and a seemingly endless ride on the Ferris wheel and I went to sleep a contented Bonnaroovian.

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