Saturday has come and gone. The heat continued to bear down on us, but luckily there was a much needed breeze and some clouds to help block the sun for brief moments. Of course those clouds came back and bit us all on the butt later.
Day three of Bonnaroo usually has the bigger name acts performing throughout the day and the SuperJam that starts in the wee hours of the morning. Things were rolling smoothly until a little after 8pm when those wonderful clouds brought a little rain and lightning causing Bonnaroo to briefly shut things down (safety first, kids). Not to worry, the party picked back up a little over an hour later when the minor storm passed.
Rewind to much earlier in the day, and my Saturday started with Grace Potter taking the What Stage. The rock goddess owned the afternoon, playing hits like “Turntable” and “The Lion The Beast The Beat” (my favorite pump-me-up song). Towards the end she paid tribute to the late Prince by singing and playing the first verse of “When Doves Cry” on her acoustic guitar before seamlessly transitioning to the heartbreak ballad “Stars.”
Of course UberApe and I caught bits and pieces of other bands throughout the day before the lightning drove us back to camp. Going back in, I managed to catch some of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They are not my cup of tea, I was there to stake out a badass spot for Pearl Jam as the rap duo were finishing their set. Even though I don’t enjoy their music, I can appreciate the enthusiasm of the performance. UberApe was at The Claypool Lennon Delirium. If you ask nicely he will probably tell you all about how amazing it was.
I couldn’t have been more excited to see Pearl Jam. I have been a huge fan of the grunge rockers since Ten was released in 1991. Not all of their albums have been as great as that first genre breaking one, but to me they are still better than 95% of the other rock bands out there. I’ve never gotten to see them live. Something would always come up when the opportunity arose, so last night was a real treat for me. The two-hour set was packed full of their immense catalogue, including many songs from Ten. Eddie Vedder ranted a bit about politics and brought out his daughter to sing Happy Birthday to her, but the night was about music and love of Bonnaroo.
Pearl Jam closing the What Stage down and the fireworks display after should have been the best part of the day, but miraculously it wasn’t. UberApe and I had one of those moments that not only make the festival special, but the whole year nothing short of awesome. That moment came in the Comedy Tent during the mid afternoon when we went to go see Judd Apatow, Vanessa Bayer, and Pete Davidson.
When Apatow took the stage to welcome everyone and start his set, he assured us we were in for a treat. This performance was going to have a special guest, who will only be at this set, that will blow everyone away. I was thinking he was saying that to get everyone excited and he would say it again to the next crowd a couple of hours later. Apatow then launched into his act telling stories about his daughters growing up and the odd crap trolls say to him on Twitter. Bayer took the stage next with her adorable brand of comedy and was wonderfully entertaining. The Trainwreck director came back, but this time the crew started to set up an extra mic, a guitar, and a couple stools while Apatow talked about his relationship with Garry Shandling. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know what is coming next.
Like many great comedians now, Apatow was given his first start by Shandling. When the comedic great passed away in March, Apatow had found many of Shandling’s journals which were filled with his notes for material as well as random thoughts. Apatow gave the journal to a musician friend, who in turn wrote a song using the thoughts as inspiration. That’s when Eddie Vedder took the stage.
Yes, you read that right. Eddie Freaking Vedder came on stage with Apatow to sing an original song dedicated to Shandling. While Vedder sang the chorus, Apatow read some of Shandling’s one liners, leaving the audience in both stitches and tears. In a day filled with various tributes to those who left this mortal coil, this was easily the most heartfelt and best.
Understandably, Pete Davidson was off to the side both tearing up and fuming. How in the hell do you follow that? The SNL actor rallied with his brand of bitter-at-the-world comedy. Normally on someone so young, the angry man bit comes off as disingenuous. On Davidson it somehow works. It is almost like a Lewis Black kind of act. Finding the humor in the stupidity of life.
Yesterday couldn’t have been a better day. Sun, music, laughter, and a once in a lifetime moment. Sunday will be great, but there is no topping yesterday.