Bonnaroo 2011: 10 Things Seen and Heard Sunday
Bonnaroo 2011 came down from its Saturday high with an epic Widespread Panic set, a subdued Strokes one and an abbreviated one by Dallas Mavericks fans Explosions in the Sky. Offstage, fans led dance circles, chipped in for Neon Trees and snatched up merch and artist-tossed banana peels. Here are 10 highlights from the fest's closing day:
1. Widespread Panic capped off Bonnaroo 2011 with a mainstage performance that pushed three hours and inspired a slew of gloriously uninhibited dance moves. Bruce Hornsby, who performed with the Noisemakers earlier in the afternoon, joined the performance as a special guest, along with brass group the Mega-Blasters. Porn legend Ron Jeremy was spotted grooving in the audience during "Up All Night" and "Old Neighborhood," two days after he took in Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' set.
2. The Strokes singer Julian Casablancas sauntered backstage in a leather jacket and lime-green sneakers five minutes after the band set was slated to start. When Casablancas and Co. rounded up and headed to the stage a few minutes later, the frontman looked serious before greeting his adoring fans; his rapport with the crowd during the band's set, as per usual, was fairly muted.
3. Robyn, who was celebrating her birthday (her 32nd) on Sunday, delivered the most badass moment of the day when she ate a banana as the beat of "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" started building. The Swedish pop singer then flung the peel far into the crowd, giving one fan a slippery souvenir.
4. In the press area, Mavis Staples warmly embraced Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools in between interviews. The R&B legend later told Billboard.com that she would have loved to be a special guest during Widespread's headlining set that night, but that its 8:30 p.m. start time was simply too late for her.
5. Explosions in the Sky didn't play an encore despite frenzied fan clamoring after their set, but for good reason. Guitarist Munaf Rayani came back to the stage and explained that while the performance was "a fun day of work for us," the Texas natives had to watch Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals and support the Dallas Mavericks. The crowd begrudgingly understood.
6. Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn barely sang any words to the band's Hot 100 hit "Animal" when they unveiled it halfway into their set. Glenn went through about 20% of the lyrics himself and commanded the audience to belt the rest themselves, leading to Sunday's first mass singalong.
7. One night after rocking the main stage as the leader of the Black Keys, Dan Auerbach was more than happy to participate in 'Superjam' with Dr. John and a backing band on That Tent. "I'm surrounded by my friends and great musicians," Auerbach gushed at the top of the set.
8. Artist merchandise tents were mobbed on Sunday, with fans eagerly snapping up Eminem T-shirts for 30 dollars each. One tee read "Wake up drunk/Go to sleep fucked up," an obscure lyric from Wiz Khalifa's track "The Thrill" that made a fitting mantra for plenty of Bonnaroo fest-goers.
9. Sunday inspired a few hippie-led dance circles as the sun came down: three suspenders-clad Iron & Wine fans grooved out during a horn-laden version of "Woman King," while six teenagers were twirling with ribbons in their hands during the second half of Explosions in the Sky's set.
10. Bonnaroo's official newspaper, which included show recaps and was distributed throughout the festival, was guilty of some wishful thinking. French rockers Phoenix were listed as performing on the Which Stage at 7:15 in the paper's daily schedule, even though the group was not on the bill this year.