The clouds withheld their rain, opting instead to roll on by; but that did not stop the heat from cranking up for day three on The Farm. ‘Roovians trudged from their campsites wielded a variety of sticks to help spot their clans, carried umbrellas to hide from the heat or bared it all to soak up the sun. Over in Centeroo, Bonnaroo’s signature watering hole called The Fountain, along with a fifty-foot inflatable waterslide and slip-n-slide, was all the rage throughout the day. Nevertheless, music lovers alike could not ignore the plethora of amazing bands that were lined up throughout the day.
Blistering in the sun, Cake took to the outdoor Which Stage. “Frank Sinatra” off of Fashion Nugget opened up their set. The California natives took the time to crack some jokes, taking breaks in between songs to comment on the beautiful Tennessee foliage. It was obvious who was from California when they stopped to take the time to identify what type of tree they were admiring. All in all, Cake provided a fun set, but tried hard not to overheat with their geek rock vibes. This did not stop the crowd from running from all sides once frontman John McCrea’s lyrics echoed their most popular hit, “The Distance” to wrap up their set.
Ain’t no rest for those who “’roo.” The electric-rock band, Cage the Elephant with their blues folk feel welcomed the sunshine with open arms. Upon beginning their set, guitarist Brad Shultz, was quick to grab the mic and make a nod toward Kanye West’s performance the night before. Shultz ensured that the band would most certainly be dispensing more music and less rants during their set before laughing away to himself. The crowd cheered in approval and even more so when vocalist Matt Shultz ran on stage dressed in a metallic fitted blazer.
Between the golden blazer and keyboardist Nick Bockrath’s gold wire crown, it was nice to see the band fully engulfing the spirit and spontaneity of Bonnaroo – something Cage the Elephant embodied naturally. “Spiderhead” was the first song on the set list and the boys were quick to put on a spastic show. It only took the Shultz brothers to get to their second track, “In One Ear” before they both jumped off stage into the crowd. Brad took to stage left into the crowd, guitar attached to his hip, whereas young brother Matt ran straight down the photo pit with mic in hand. If anything was taken into account it would have to be Cage the Elephant will always provide an authentic high-energy rock show without going too far over the top. Special thanks to skipping out on the glitter.
Bringing it down a notch and back a few decades, the renowned Lionel Richie took the main stage. Richie greeted the thousands of young fans, old fans and everyone in between who gathered around for his set. His light-hearted, joking attitude set a light tone across the field as he acknowledged that many of those in the crowd merely grew up listening to Richie thanks to their relatives. Flying through his catalogue throughout the years, Richie made sure to play everything from “Brick House” from his time with the Commodores to the crowd favorite “Sunday Morning.” Beaming from ear to ear, Richie expressed his love and enthusiasm at his first Bonnaroo by promising to return at the next opportunity. Expectations of Richie’s groovy performance were surpassed, especially during his closing rendition of the late Michael Jackson’s “We Are The World.” Fans cooed and swayed to the harmonic pop song, which seemed to help truly unify the Bonnaroo spirit that Saturday night.
Prom-like decor, loose blowup balloons, and gold metallic streamers lining the stage wall were the backdrop for Los Angeles’s R&B heartthrob Frank Ocean. Fans lined the front barricade chanting his name and even waited several hours for this set to finally arrive. White fog cascaded the floor and Ocean slinked on stage. Once center stage, Ocean loomed over a small table with a vinyl record player to the right of the mic, placing the needle on a record. The sound of violins cued the opening track, the fan favorite “Thinkin ‘bout You.” Immediately the crowd assisted Ocean with the lyrics, at times even drowning out his vocals with their enthusiasm. His smooth collected demure cooled the room while still heating up onlookers with his coy smile. His ease and charismatic grin had everyone hanging on each word throughout his deliveries of “Pyramids,” “Lost” and festival favorite “Novacane.” Frank Ocean’s raw, mellow performance was exactly what was needed to wind down the night as temperatures cooled.
When Jack White’s time slot ticked closer to the golden hour, stage crews scrambled on the outdoor main stage in vintage attire while setting up White’s stage. The stage crew looked like they walked straight out of an episode of Mad Men. A white piano appeared onstage, allowing the crowd to buzz excitingly about what was to come.
The man Rolling Stone dubbed as “the rock ‘n’ roll Willy Wonka” opened with long instrumental intro and slid into The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump.” The high energy of the opening track immediately electrified the audience as they belted the first couple of verses with White. In between songs, White made it a point to pay homage to Tennessee by going a little country with his song, “Hotel Yorba” (another White Stripes song) before playing a track off his record-breaking album Lazaretto.
With a blend of tracks from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and songs from his solo projects, whatever slot of White a person preferred they received. White owned the stage that night and continued to be completely unapologetic for his music. The beauty of White’s set was honest and beyond exciting to watch live. Thus far, it was White who left the crowd well-fed with his large serving of true, authentic rock ‘n’ roll.
Jack White Set List:
High Ball Stepper
Hotel Yorba (White Stripes)
Steady, As She Goes (Raconteurs)
Top Yourself (Raconteurs)
I’m Slowly Turning Into You (White Stripes)
Freedom at 21
You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) (White Stripes)
We’re Going to Be Friends (White Stripes)
Alone in My Home
Ball and Biscuit (White Stripes)
The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
The Hardest Button to Button
Hello Operator (White Stripes)
Misirlou (Dick Dale and His Del-Tones cover)
Cannon (White Stripes)
Blue Blood Blues (Dead Weather)
Astro (White Stripes)
Little Bird (White Stripes)
Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)