Sun-baked, slightly dehydrated and still wearing glow sticks from the previous nights, everyone felt the fourth day of Bonnaroo Music Festival sneak up. Nevertheless, in Bonnaroo fashion, it did not dampen any of the festivities. A cardboard neon cutout of Hank from King of the Hill with the words “Turn Down For What?” written underneath the image made this clear. With that mantra still in the Tennessee air, it was easy to see that although it was the last day, it did not mute the excitement for the bands to come.
Blending retro Motown vibes with their pop groove, Fitz & The Tantrums’ dreams came true when granted the opportunity to perform at Bonnaroo. Fans squished in closer to the festival’s second largest outdoor stage, straining to catch all of the band’s hits off of their sophomore album More Than Just A Dream. The Tennessee music festival is just a notch on the band’s long list of their summer music festival tour.
Taking a break from the southern heat under This Tent, Dallas Green took the stage as City & Colour for an organic, raw acoustic set. The former Alexisonfire bandmate traded in the hardcore punk lifestyle from back in 2005 for a much more honest and stripped acoustic sound. Shying away from the crowd under his glasses, Green timidly strummed his guitar, diving right into a sweet lullaby written for his wife, “The Girl.” His fragile voice serenaded the ears of many as crowds clung on to every word strung together with soft chords. Playing a variety of songs off of his latest album The Hurry and The Harm and pulling out throwback tracks from his older albums such as 2005’s Sometimes, City & Colour pacified both new and veteran fans alike.
Dressed to impress, vocalist Yukimi Nagano was last on stage as the rest of Little Dragon played a series of synths to get the crowd excited. A high energy set was anticipated and was delivered with Nagano’s smooth, cooing vocals and her tambourine hitting moves. Of course, it was the instrumental into of “Ritual Union” off of their 2011 album sharing the same name that jolted the set into overdrive. Even keyboardist, Arild Werling joined in to the high energy by continuously throwing beach balls back and forth into the crowd. To witness the excitement and satisfaction on the faces of each band member was equally as rewarding as the sea of fans feeding off of the positive vibes.
Two English acts were lined up as the last sets to wrap up Bonnaroo’s weekend festivities. Warming up the main stage for the last act of the night, the legendary Elton John, Arctic Monkeys took hold and conquered all. Known for their fun onstage antics and costumes, this time around the Arctic Monkeys sported a rockabilly look. With greased back locks and black boots to match, frontman Alex Turner dished out their lower, hard hitting hit, “Do I Wanna Know.” With an assortment of songs from their discography, the Arctic Monkeys’ blend of their garage rock hits from the early 00’s to their new, sultry rock singles, their set was beyond sexy and high energy.
The thirteenth year of Bonnaroo could not go out with more of a bang than with the last and final act, the legendary Rocket Man himself-– Elton John. Rocking a bedazzled navy blazer with the words “Rocket Man” bejeweled on the back, Sir Elton John tickled the keys of a bright red piano all night long. His toothy grin and strong vocals transported the audience back to the sixties and seventies with his hits “Bennie and the Jets” as well as “Tiny Dancer.” Bonnaroo welcomed the legend with everyone’s attention and love as it was the star’s very first music festival within the United States.
Elton voiced his pleasure to finally share the experience on such a magical night, and magical it was. The honor to share it with thousands of people from all over the world was breathtaking. Traditional Thai lanterns set sail into the night sky over the audience. Peace, love and good vibes engulfed Bonnaroovians as it was a mutual understanding how precious it was to be in the presence of such musical talent. Keys were tickled and memories were made, but with a bow and a wave the Rocket Man took off before blowing kisses to the crowd. Another year came and went, but for next year The Farm still stands, waiting for the next experience to foster. Only 365 days and counting.
Elton John Set List:
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Bennie and the Jets
Candle in the Wind
Philadelphia Freedom (Elton John Band)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Grey Seal (with Ben Folds)
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
All the Girls Love Alice
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
I’m Still Standing
The Bitch Is Back
Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘n Roll)
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting