Where Day 2 of Bonnaroo saw some of the festival’s most electric sets (LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala) and drop-ins (Chance), Bonnaroo Day 3 featured the classic festival sentiments of “magic” at the farm, brought about by some literal electricity – heat lightning confused for severe weather – forcing a full blown evacuation of the festival grounds providing brief respite for the dogged Bonnaroovians before headline sets from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pearl Jam (freaking Pearl Jam!).
As you might have guessed, the evacuation was one huge overreaction, however the prevailing concern for safety is much appreciated. Anyway, Day 3 saw even more Nashville folks assume the various stages of Bonnaroo – Dylan LeBlanc, Chris Stapleton, Grace Potter, Natalie Prass (former Nashvillian),
Judah & the Lion, Luke Bell, Promised Land Sound, Sam Hunt and Ron Gallo – all of whom commanded with more than enough presence to draw in gawkers and admirers alike. Some of the sets got thrown out of whack by an hour or so due thanks to the evacuation, but that did nothing to subvert a handful of impressive headlining and late night sets.
Following the lightning “storms,” Macklemore came out screaming “We survived the lightning!” and eventually finished his set with far more quirky bravado and satirical silliness than I (not all that familiar with Macklemore’s discography) think I was prepared for, but it was fun nonetheless. Amongst the chaos of the evacuation and subsequent Macklemore set, I unfortunately lost my primo spot for Pearl Jam, but nevertheless, Eddie Vedder and co absolutely, unequivocally crushed their What stage set. It was Pearl Jam ended up starting their set around 11:00 or so, and much like Macklemore before them, Eddie Vedder made reference to the non-existent lightning, prefacing their track “Lightning Bolt” with “I’d like to think this song has nothing to do with the clouds that were here earlier.”
Pearl Jam’s set ended up running well past 1:30 PM, and admittedly, there were some other acts I wanted to check out in the late night, so I headed out halfway through the set to pop into one of the most underrated sets of the entire weekend, Sir the Baptist. Full of energy and unabashed bluster, Sir the Baptist fit a solid 12-piece band on stage while he “baptized” everyone on the Miller Lite Stage. His live set was intoxicating, and had a truly watershed feel to it. Don’t be surprised if you see his name popping up more and more, seeing as his dynamic live set made “Atlantic Records give [him] $3 million” (that’s a lyric).
Following Sir the Baptist’s set, I popped into Kamasi Washington’s SuperJam, which was “meh” to say the least. There were highlights – Kamasi as a bandleader, The Internet backing, and Nathaniel Rateliff’s rendition of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.” – and a lowlight – Stephan Jenkins – so my time spent at SuperJam was ultimately short, and preceded nothing more than sleep, of which I got some shortly thereafter.