June 13th, 2009
03:48 AM ET

Phish comes 'home' to Bonnaroo


Bonnaroo, a massive four-day music and arts festival held every June in Manchester, Tennessee, was practically built for Phish, so it felt a bit like a homecoming when the Vermont-based jam band took center stage Friday night, taking its first of two headlining sets (the band plays Sunday as well) well into the early morning hours to a standing-room only crowd.

Seemingly rejuvenated from its five-year hiatus, Phish pulled out all the stops in its first ‘Roo performance, playing classics like show-opener “Chalkdust Torture,” “Harry Hood,” and an epic 25-minute “You Enjoy Myself” (complete with synchronized trampoline jumping). The four-man group also worked in stellar covers of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and show-finale “A Day in The Life” by the Beatles.

Another standout performance Friday night came from the Beastie Boys, who took the stage by storm by playing punk metal before dropping rap classics “Pass The Mic,” “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and “Root Down.” Their set included perhaps the highlight of the night as hip-hop icon Nas joined the Beasties on stage for a new track – which included a reference to “The Situation Room” news anchor Wolf Blitzer and CNN’s hologram technology.

French outfit Phoenix delighted the hipster crowd who passed on Phish with their irresistible indie-pop – particularly when lead singer Thomas Mars climbed into the crowd during show-closer “1901” off their stellar new album, "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix."

Over at the This Tent, Flavor Flav and Chuck D brought the noise as hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy delighted an eager crowd with favorites such as “Don’t Believe The Hype” and “Rebel Without a Pause.”

Al Green – backed by a dozen musicians, singers and dancers, schmoozed the audience, throwing stemmed roses to female concert-goers, and coaxing mass sing-a-longs to some of his best-known tunes, like “Let’s Stay Together” and “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.”

TV on the Radio and David Byrne rounded off a series of fantastic performances on the Which Stage Friday evening.

I knew there would be some artists I would not be able to see, but still I'm kicking myself for not catching these acts:


*Toubab Krewe

*Grizzly Bear

Here’s hoping I have the energy for Girl Talk.

Stay tuned to the Marquee Blog for more updates, and you can also follow my exploits on Twitter.

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Filed under: Bonnaroo • Music • Uncategorized

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. jimmy

    This is a stupid debate being talked about on here, but Mike Doyle is correct on the Phish thing. Bonnaroo was inspired by the Phish festivals, even the people at Superfly will tell you that. Trey has always had a good relationship with them, he closed the festival with his solo band the first year. The rest of the festival scene has now evolved from Bonnaroo. Panic is one of my favorite bands, but they have nothing to do with the creation of Bonnaroo, they have just played there a lot. If you don't like Phish that's fine, but they are one of the main sources of inspiration for Bonnaroo being created. Its nice that Bonnaroo has evolved with music of all types, but nothing will ever top the first two years. There were hardly any rules and wasn't very expensive, just pure fun. Hope everyone had a good time this year.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tyler

    this is all making my synapses burn

    June 15, 2009 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Doyle

    Bonnaroo was not built for Phish, and it definitely isn't their "home" (this is their first appearance at the festival). Bonnaroo was probably largely modeled after Big Cypress, Lemonwheel, The Great Went, Clifford Ball, Oswego, etc. And for those that think WSP had some grand role in "building" Bonnaroo, that is equally as laughable. They aren't the only band that has headlined Bonnaroo, and they have no hand in planning the festival. And Joe, its cool if you don't like Phish, but your reasoning makes absolutely no sense and sounds completely ignorant.

    June 15, 2009 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Amy

    It IS Santigold... She changed it from Santogold.

    June 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bwoulfe

    It's pretty obvious that Bonnaroo was not built for any band, hence "music Festival," which assumes the fact that it was built for NUMEROUS bands, good and bad.
    One question I do have is, How many bands do you think can get 80,000 people to Limestone, basically the border between Canada and the US? If any of you know anything about music, Trey Anastasio hits notes at certain instances during songs that almost nobody can do. This was confirmed by one of the greatest guitarists of all time, BB KIng, when they played a small venue that was recorded for TV.

    June 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    Obviously this shows how many people have really been to Bonnaroo because you would not be saying that it was built for Phish. Widespread Panic played two nights of the very first Bonnaroo festival and four more times over the life of the festival. So even though Panic didn't play this year Bonnaroo was built for WSP.

    June 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RyaN

    Hey James Parillo. If you are going to demand that CNN conduct some research you might want to think about doing some yourself. The Clifford Ball was in 1996. The Great Went was in 1997.

    Do some research James, RESEARCH!

    June 14, 2009 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. the truth

    Built for Phish? Hello, WSP was, is and will be what built Bonnaroo.

    June 14, 2009 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    UH, sorry...Everything at Bonaroo not because of PHISH...they totally Suck.. It's Widespread Panic that has been the headliner for the first Bonaroo and headliner for three years after....Panic is THE band....Phish is weak...any jam band can play better than them...C'mon! Phish are only slightly good if trippin on acid and totally stoned.. They just happened to be the jam band by chance that had financial backing when the Grateful Dead dissolved in 1995.

    June 14, 2009 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    It's actually "The Phish, from Vermont"

    They were forced to change their dame due to a lawsuit.

    June 14, 2009 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. coach buttermaker

    clifford ball was in 96, not 97. better do YOUR research there jimmy p. but i do agree that the phish festies greatly influenced the creation of bonnaroo as we know it, but bonnaroo has taken on its own identity with a more diverse (and way too commericalized) feel. anoyne know if flavor flav was on stage w/ public enemy??

    June 13, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. iowa

    What did the Beasties have to say about Wolf B?

    June 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. buhda2

    Bonnaroo owes everything to Phish? Do your research CNN?

    You must be on the downside of 13. Ever hear of a thing called Woodstock?

    June 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dennisl59

    Another American Corporate Music Machine concocted "event".

    Prolofeed for the Masses and don't forget to take your Soma.

    June 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. matt

    james parillo, seriously brah? i went to the first two roo's and will see phish a couple of times this summer. i think YOU should do some research and stop baggin on this writer. what about woodstock or all the other festies of the 60s/70s?

    June 13, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Parillo got it wrong

    James Parillo – Clifford Ball was in 1996 – not 1997 – in NY state. The Great Went was in 1997. Must be a fact-checker for CNN 😉

    June 13, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  17. BRAIN

    "punk metal?" It's called old school New York Hardcore....

    June 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  18. smizz

    @ James Parillo: Point taken, but Clifford Ball was 1996; Great Went was 1997. Also, Phish played 6 sets at Clifford Ball (7 if you include the flatbed truck set...)

    "Do some research James Parillo, RESEARCH!"

    June 13, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ann

    Oh my! My brother and his family live nearby in Manchester and there is NOTHING they can do to get away from the noise!!! What a nightmare! My heart goes out to you!

    June 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  20. mark

    no, it used to be santogold but she changed her name recently to santigold

    June 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jason

    Enjoy your $8 cup of lemonade and security pat-downs.

    June 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. brian

    girl talk is garbage. pop mash ups. that's not trendy at all. it's also about as creative as a transcription.

    June 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  23. DAN

    Oh and 1997 was the Great Went not the Clifford Ball... The Clifford Ball was in 1996. Both were HUGE Phish concerts. about 80,000 people PHISH ONLY!!!!!!!!!! Its better that way... : )

    June 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Charlotte

    I'm from Asheville. Home of Toubab Krewe. Big mistake missing them. Don't let it happen again!

    June 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  25. steve

    Research would tell you that The Clifford Ball was in '96, other Phish fests were The Great Went in '97, Lemonwheel in '98, and the greatest Phish fest of all NYE 1999, in Big Cypress Indian reservation in the florida everglades. They played from midnight to sunrise no set breaks. Then there was IT in '03, and Coventry (the bands "final show ever") in '04. Hopefully next year will bring a other festival.

    June 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  26. DAN

    I LOVE PHISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Bug

    I hate Phish.

    June 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  28. james

    you're gonna waste your time on Girl Talk and skipped Toubab? How did you get this job?

    June 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Glenn

    Alisha- It's Santigold. She had to change her name in Feb b/c of a lawsuit.

    June 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Rich

    @Alisha Santogold changed her name to Santigold due to legal reasons. "They" are still a she.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Matt

    It's actually Santigold, she was forced to change her name because of a lawsuit.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Mason

    @alisha Careful when you're correcting people. She is Santigold now.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  33. forbin

    PHISH is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rob

    Would love to be there to see Nine Inch Nails play.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  35. James Parillo

    Bonaroo was NOT built for Phish. Bonaroo is BECAUSE of Phish. If you look back to 1997, fans of Phish (some 75,000) came for a two day concert called The Clifford Ball where they camped out and lived peacefully among one another to simply hear 3 sets of music from this band.

    Everything Bonaroo is and will be is BECAUSE of Phish. Do some research CNN, RESEARCH!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Drew

    Save your time and don't see girltalk. See someone that does something other than push buttons and combine other people's art. He is the most over rated dj/musician(?) i've ever seen in my life. Save it for the e-tards.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Tubby The Tuba Texas

    Hope my daughter and her boyfriend enjoy their stay as I think they paid $200.00 each for their tickets. Sounds fun and enjoyable.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Bob

    Legalize it!!

    June 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  39. bryan Solari

    its actually santigold now – she changed her name to a different vowel...

    June 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  40. tea

    It is pretty funny how commercial 'Roo has become.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Lee Harless

    i thought there was a shortage of hippies in town last night. didn't quite feel right. i knew there was something going on. they're building a temporary nest in tennessee.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  42. patricia wihnyk

    how's the weather? My son and daughter are there and I have not heard from them since yesterday. can someone post a comment on weather? thanks. a worried mom.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Philip

    Santi White ,a.k.a. Santigold, changed her stage name from Santogold to Santigold.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Suzy Greenberg

    Bonnaroo was built for Phish?? I'm not sure what festival you were at but the Beasties were very diappointing and Phish was rather bland. They did not want to explore too much because of the different fans that were there. The YEM wasnt 25 minutes because they went into Wilson midway. It seemed very rushed so they would meet curfew.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Alisha

    Santogold not santigold.. but they are awesome live.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyson Wheatley

      Thanks Alisha, but I'm pretty sure the artist formerly known as Santogold is now Santigold, despite the 2008 eponymous album.
      My wife caught them, and says they were great!

      June 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Kyra

    wish I could be there

    June 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Nick

    Too bad you missed Toubab Krewe they are extremely skilled musicians and put on a great live show!!

    June 13, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |

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