Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rock Out With Your Sun Block Out -and- The Return of My High School Rock Star Crushes

**Click on the slideshow to the right of this pane to see all of our Bonnaroo photos!!**

Wow…there is so much to say about Bonnaroo 2008 that I’m not even sure where to start. I guess I’ll start with the titles of this post…

Title the First:

It was really, REALLY hot and sunny at Bonnaroo this year, as it is every year, but for some reason I still need to be reminded to wear sunscreen. You would think that after living with albino-like fair skin for thirty years that I would know that I need to apply sun block liberally before going outside for more than, oh, thirty seconds, but sometimes I forget, and I end up with skin that looks like this:

Yep, it’s totally gross, blotchy sunburn skin. And it hurts like hell. I didn’t put sun block on my legs on the last day of the festival because I was wearing a skirt that went all the way to my ankles, and I figured, hey, my legs are covered, I’m all set. Well, it was like 100 degrees that day and while we were sitting on the lawn in full sunlight watching the Rogue Wave show, I hiked my skirt up past my knees to get some airflow going to my lower extremities. And now I suffer. And I’m not just burned there…my scalp is scorched (even though I wore either a scarf or a headband each day) and my forehead and chest are burned as well, despite the fact that I applied SPF 30 a couple of times each day. Sucks to be a redhead.


Title the Second:

I was a little bit surprised at the choices of headliners at Bonnaroo this year. Generally, Bonnaroo is a jam band hippie festival and so when I saw that Metallica and Pearl Jam were headlining, I scratched my head and wondered whether or not the festival was being redefined. (Although my confusion was cleared up a bit when Metallica stated that as a band they love live music, and all of us Bonnaroo attendees are live music lovers as well, so maybe there aren’t such stark differences after all.) I was also quite excited because there was a point in time, way back in high school, when I was a HUGE fan of both Metallica and Pearl Jam and I was stoked that I’d get a chance to see them live after all these years.

Ok, actually, I had big high school girl crushes on James Hetfield, lead singer of Metallica, and on Eddie Vedder when I was in my long-haired/dangerous/metal head dudes phase back when I was fifteen or sixteen. I spent HOURS staring at the cassette tape insert of the Black Album by Metallica and hoping that one day, James Hetfield would spot me in a crowd and decide that he was madly in love with me and whisk me away forever.

Obviously that didn’t happen, but when I was at the Metallica and Pearl Jam shows this weekend, I closed my eyes and suddenly was a sophomore in high school, wearing a flannel shirt and ripped jeans and playing metal music in my bedroom with the volume low enough so my parents wouldn’t hear. And my crushes on James and Eddie? Alive and well. They rocked my world.


Other ‘Roo Happenings

Saturday was by far the best live music day of my life, thanks to some great shows by Sharon Jones, Gogol Bordello, and Ben Folds. The three artists are so different musically, but their shows were all high-energy and engaging, so kudos to them for kicking ass. Ben Folds’ show was one of my favorites—he played a great mix of old and new stuff and made sure that his crowd was enjoying the music. Other fantastic shows were brought to us courtesy of Tegan & Sara, Mike Birbiglia (even though he didn’t show up for his autograph signing session), Rogue Wave, Chromeo, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Actually, all of the shows that we attended at the ‘Roo were awesome, with the exception of the Vampire Weekend show. We saw Vampire Weekend at a smaller venue in Milwaukee a couple of months ago, and I enjoyed that show far more than I did the show they did at the ‘Roo. Maybe they are just one of those bands that do better in smaller venues, but their show at the ‘Roo sounded sloppy to me. Don’t get me wrong—I still love them and their music, but this wasn’t their best show.

The big disappointment of the weekend was Kanye West. He was scheduled to play a late night/early morning show after the Pearl Jam show, and his set was all hyped up because it was supposed to be this super cool “glow in the dark” show. So, even though he was slated to play at the ungodly hour of 2:45am on Sunday morning (seriously, whose idea is it to schedule shows at 3am?), I was willing to sacrifice some sleep to go and see him. Aaron and I showed up to the stage where Kanye was scheduled to play at around 2:15, and I decided to lie down on our blanket to catch a quick nap before the music started. A while later (when some moron kicked my foot and woke me up as he was walking past), I looked up at the stage and noticed an alert on one of the screens that said that Kanye’s show was postponed until 3:15. I decided that I could force myself to wait another half hour to see the show, but when another alert popped up at 3:15 stating that his show was pushed back AGAIN to 3:30, I told Aaron that there was no way I was waiting around any longer for a hip hop show when I don’t really love hip hop and I do love sleeping. We headed back to our campsite and I fell asleep shortly thereafter, not really feeling bad at all that I was missing Kanye’s show (I had seen him a couple of years ago at Lollapalooza and wasn’t overly impressed).

Turns out that Kanye didn’t go onstage until 4:40am and the crowd was understandably upset with him. People tell me that he just did his show, didn’t wait for applause in between songs, and didn’t offer any sort of explanation as to why he was two hours late for his show. People were angry about it for the rest of the festival—I heard several Bonnarooers say, “F*%# Kanye!”—and I am REALLY glad that we didn’t decide to wait it out to see his show. You can’t expect fans that pay more than $200 for a festival ticket to wait for you for hours and be excited about it. I know he’s a big name celebrity, yadda yadda yadda, but the hippies were pissed, and they were telling others about it. I am SO boycotting his show at this year’s Lollapalooza.

I was also going to write about how our camping neighbors were total douche bags, but Aaron said that he was going to resurrect his blog just to write about them, so I won’t steal his thunder. And now I have obligated him to do just that, so there you go, Aar. Go write about those hippies.


Summing Up…

Bonnaroo 2008 was fabulous, wonderful, awesome, marvelous…it was a great time, plain and simple. It was all that I hoped it would be and then some. By far, the best part of the trip was my time with Aaron. It was so cool to step out of our normal “roles”, get away from everything, have some really good talks, and relax. It was exactly the medicine that we needed at this point in our lives.

And, I feel that Sara has made a bit of a comeback. This weekend, I was able to leave Sara the mom/wife/daughter/coworker/grieving miscarriage patient behind and just be Sara the woman, jumping around and singing along and doing the best rendition of the Hippie Noodle Dance that I could. I may not have made a total comeback yet, but the foundation has been laid and I’m feeling a bit better about things. It’s amazing how much perspective can be gained just by stepping away for a bit and catching your breath.

Bonnaroo pictures will be posted soon—as soon as I get caught up on my sleep.