June 13th, 2009
03:48 AM ET
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:
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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