June 15th, 2009
10:55 AM ET

Summing up Bonnaroo: Glad you're back, Phish

When I was a broadcast journalism major at the University of Illinois, my friends and I would take off for long weekends and criss-cross the country to the closest Phish and Grateful Dead shows. You never knew when a magical moment was going to happen. Seeing the rejuvenated Phish come back from their extended hiatus and have a blast jamming with one of the band's boyhood heroes - Bruce Springsteen - was an instant classic. (See photos from the festival here.)

Phish plays to a huge crowd at Bonnaroo.

This is the seventh Bonnaroo for Stephanie Katsaros, who attended school in what we call "Chambana" (Champaign-Urbana) the same time I did. A few years ago Stephanie quit her job as a radio producer at WCKG in Chicago, and traveled to South America, North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Last night left her and her boyfriend nearly speechless.

“Phish as a backing band for the Boss singing 'Glory Days'?! The only thing that came close to that was him walking into the crowd. Bruce Springsteen crowd-surfing Bonnaroo!”

We've been attending Bonnaroo for some time, and our great friend Robert Kwon from Southern Recording has helped us record it since 2005. Robert has two day jobs working for an electrical distributor, and also works with his family making upholstery, not to mention a bit of moonlighting as a Korean BBQ caterer extraordinaire. But he also makes time to see Phish.

Before meeting us here, Robert took some vacation time to go to Asheville and Knoxville on the Phish Tour. “I started seeing them in college, and I had to go meet all my dear friends to celebrate,” he said.

This was John Appleman’s first trip to The Roo, and first time seeing Phish. He traveled from the Quad Cities area - Moline, Illinois - to hang with his uncle and finally get to see Phish. “I finally got to experience the crazy roller coaster ride everybody has been talking about,” he said. He’s hooked for life. Have fun at Rothbury, John.

We look forward to sharing fascinating interviews and intimate performances with some of the most talented artists on earth. We hung with The David Grisman Quintet, Jenny Lewis, Allen Toussaint, The Mars Volta, Ani Difranco, Grace Potter, Gomez, Bela Fleck, Warren Haynes, Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade and TV On The Radio, among many others.

Stay tuned to CNN.com/Showbiz all summer to see more Bonnaroo highlights, and see what’s on the minds of your favorite artists.

- Jason Morris, CNN Producer

Filed under: Bonnaroo • Music

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. michael odishoo

    Top-notch reporting. One really feels the story is coming from a true fan. I'm keeping my eye on Jason's career.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. B

    You were at the LAST Nine Inch Nails show in North America (EVER!) and you didn't write about it?

    June 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JAMO

    It's what we love to do mom, It's what we love to do.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JBM

    Great report, your comments visually bring back memories of seeing the Boss at Soldiers Field in the 80's. Yes, i'm that older generation that grew up on rock. but, isn't that the point, music transcends generations and we all remember those "classic" musical gems known as concerts / festivals. let's hear more of those magic music Roo times both from the viewpoints of the artist and listener.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |

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