Muse (photo by Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic)
While Bonnaroo has seen many changes throughout its 17 years, a constant has been the wide diversity of musical styles happening on a single day. Friday’s lineup was no exception, featuring rock, pop, rap, soul, country, electronic dance and the one-of-a-kind SuperJam.
Muse headlined the What Stage with a powerful eye-popping 80-minute set that stayed true to the trio’s themes of fighting authority and creating your own destiny.
With 11 vertical screens behind them providing visuals and filmed segments, Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard opened with “Thought Contagion,” “Psycho,” “Interlude” and “Hysteria.” There was barely time for the crowd to catch their breath.
Matt Bellamy, Muse (Photo by John Patrick Gatta)
“Dig Down” provided a momentary respite before the trio returned to a mighty big sound that brings together dramatic anthems with hard rock tendencies and influence of Queen, particularly Bellamy’s guitar tone which takes the sweetness of Brian May and toughens it up into a mighty roar.
After “Stockholm Syndrome” the band returned for a six-song encore. “Madness” featured Bellamy wearing sunglasses that displayed specific words from the lyrics. A similar approach was done using the screens for “Take a Bow.”
Canons shooting confetti and streamers occurred during “Mercy,” while “Uprising” and “Knights of Cydonia” provided the soundtrack for all in attendance to feel as if they were ready to take on the world.
David Shaw, The Revivalists (photo by Alec Gowan)
That view crept into the Revivalists set. Years of touring and the success of Men Amongst Mountains’ single “Wish I Knew You” gave the New Orleans act a proper spot on the Which Stage. During its hour-long set, singer David Shaw reminded the audience during “Stand Up” to “vote and make history.” They ended with a cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Of course, Bonnaroovians have a chance to vote in the upcoming elections by stopping at the HeadCount booth to register.
Earlier in the day, Sheryl Crow delivered a hits-filled set that opened with “If It Makes You Happy,” “Everyday Is a Winding Road” and “All I Wanna Do.” She also mentioned how this wasn’t her first Bonnaroo, as she attended years ago with her now-11 year old son when the Police headlined in 2007.
Tom and Sheryl (photo by Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic)
Noticing a homemade sign in tribute to Tom Petty, Crow asked to borrow it, gave it a smooch and mentioned how much she misses the legendary musician.
Earlier in the day, Paramore’s hook-laden pop gave an energetic boost to a crowd that was dealing with 90 degree heat. Led by Hayley Williams (who previously appeared at Bonnaroo while guesting with Chvrches in 2016), the group opened with “Hard Times” and “Ignorance,” and ended with “Idle Worship.”
Tash Sultana (photo by Alec Gowan)
At the same time, across the Farm, Melbourne, Australia’s “one woman band,” Tash Sultana performed an electrifying set in This Tent.
It was a work day for Sturgill Simpson who performed on the What Stage on his birthday. Fans didn’t let him forget by serenading the country star with “Happy Birthday” the moment he stepped onstage. He treated them to a 75-minute that included some fiery guitar playing during “Welcome to Earth” and “It Ain’t All Flowers,” as well as the touching “The Promise.”
T-Pain, among others, brought the party atmosphere to Bonnaroo during a set at That Tent in front of a crowd that could have easily filled the What or Which staging areas. When prompted, fans shouted the choruses to “Buy You a Drank,” “Can’t Believe It” and “I’m Sprung.”
A memorable set in Centeroo wasn’t enough for T-Pain who later made an appearance at Plaza 7 for some late night karaoke.
The colorful late night sounds also included Bassnectar who included a sample from Cage The Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” on the Which Stage.
Meanwhile over at This Tent, Cage’s Matt Shultz and Nick Bockrath were among the many guests to join the Into The Great Wide Open SuperJam, which celebrated the music of Tom Petty, who performed at Bonnaroo in 2006 and 2013. My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan and VHS Or Beta singer/guitarist Craig Pfunder served as musical directors for the performance that included guest appearances by Shultz and Bockrath on “Breakdown,” Sheryl Crow on “American Girl,” Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Vanessa Carlton on “Learning To Fly,” The Wild Feathers on “I Won’t Back Down” and The Revivalists’ David Shaw, along with guitarist Audley Freed and photographer Danny Clinch on harmonica for “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
Still the SuperJam was far from the last dance of the night with The Glitch Mob performing a surprise set at Plaza 9, while the sounds from Kalliope could be heard thumping across the site as dawn approached.