Bonnaroo 2005 was the best ever. Like the last two years, Bonnaroo had a diverse lineup, with everything from bluegrass (Earl Scruggs) to psychedelic rock (The Mars Volta, Secret Machines) to reggae (Peter Rowan and Crucial Reggae). A schedule of acts is here.
We drove all night Wednesday night and arrived on Thursday, around 9 in the morning and were at our campsite in less than two hours. Two years ago the wait to get in was six hours so it's nice to see that the organizers continue to improve the logistics of handling 80k+ plus people arriving in a town of 10,000.
On Thursday, we played in the arcade (Defender! Phoenix! Asteroids! Tempest!) and basically just chilled out. Caught a little of Trent Dabbs' set in a cafe stage but stayed away from the bigger tents because a) I drove all night and was just exhausted b) no one was compelling enough to see to endure the over-enthusiastic first night crowd and c) Dave Matthews Band was Friday night and we knew we needed all our energy to survive the full day.
On Friday we eased into the day with Ollabelle. They were a good choice. They do covers of traditional and gospel numbers. Some pictures here and here. Next were The Gourds. They put on a great show. Throughout their set we heard people screaming "Gin and Juice," their signature cover of the Snoop Dogg song. After about 40 minutes, one of the band members said "Don't worry, you'll get it." They closed the set out with a rollicking, crowd-pleasing "Gin and Juice" (you can see Snoop himself diggin on their version here) with refrains from AC/DC's "If You Want Blood" and Waylon Jennings' "Just Good Ole Boys" thrown in the bridge for good measure. A picture I took at the show here.
After resting a bit, it was on to see John Prine in This Tent. His set was excellent. He was clearly excited by the enthusiastic, loud crowd. He closed his set with a superb and rollicking "Lake Marie". Some pictures here and here (My spot wasn't that great view-wise, but the sound was impeccable.)
Then we headed over to the Main Stage (The What Stage) to get a spot for the Dave Matthews Band. We sat through a fairly typical, uninspired, yet still entertaining set by the Allman Brothers Band. They miss Dickey Betts something fierce.
It rained a bit, and it was intensely crowded in front of the soundboard, but Dave's set made it worthwhile. The band was absolutely on fire. Some pictures here. I also took some pictures when Robert Randolph came out to play slide guitar on "Louisiana Bayou" and "All Along the Watchtower". Here is one and here is another. I like this one, which is a picture of the big screen during the same time frame. You can see the setlist here. The highlights for me were "Bartender," "You Might Die Trying," and "Two Step." Just a fantastic set.
After his set we were so exhausted we just mosied back to the campsite to rest up. Sat/Sun roundup to come......