With a lineup anchored by legends Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, Bonnaroo blossomed into a truly multi-generational festival this year while still maintaining the wide variety that has provided the foundation for its culture of inclusiveness. Though the tenth anniversary in 2011 may have been considered the high water mark, the 2013 iteration set a new standard. The overwhelming quality of the acts, the spirit of creativity, and countless once-in-a-lifetime moments all came together to make this the best Bonnaroo ever.
The Rock n’ Soul Superjam may have epitomized that most. Michael Winslow, of the Police Academy movies from the 80s, opened up the set by performing a spot-on take of Jimi Hendrix’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, with just his voice, dressed as Jimi at Woodstock. Led by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Carl Broemel the show featured announced players John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste of The Meters, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bilal, Cyro Baptista, and Larry Graham playing soul standards such as Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” and Prince’s “1999.” Surprise guests Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes sang on a few songs including The Rolling Stone’s “Satisfaction,” R. Kelly belted out Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” as well as Willie Dixon’s “Bring It On Home” after rushing over from his own Which Stage show, and Billy Idol joined the gang for “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone, ending the show around 2am.
While my preview post was pretty accurate for anyone who might have been paying attention, there were still plenty of surprises to be had throughout the weekend.
Check out pictures from the event in our Facebook album! All photos by Joshua Mellin.