While Saturday’s lineup was the most set-hopper friendly, Sunday’s spread offered two trump cards with eagerly anticipated sets from Wilco and the first post-Icky US show from the White Stripes. Before we got there, though, there were a few acts worth checking in with, including lady Feist at the Which Tent (dedicating “1234″ to tourmates Grizzly Bear and promising corn dogs to anyone who sang along) and the Decemberists, who opened with “The Mariner’s Revenge Song,” dipped deep into The Crane Wife, and explained the appeal of Colin’s trademark seersucker suit (“It’s breathable!”).
Wilco‘s stop on the Bonnaroo Main Stage was sensational, Jeff saying mid-set, “I can tell you one thing — we’re having a really great time. And that doesn’t happen all the time, either, so that’s saying something!” The Tweedy troupe opened with a killer “You Are My Face,” letting Nels show those frets of fury, before indulging in Summerteeth tunes (“A Shot In The Arm” and a killer Kotche workout on “Via Chicago”) and A Ghost Is Born‘s “”Handshake Drugs.” Jeff asked for some singalong action, and unsurprisingly, the crowd’s was at its strongest for Yankee cuts like “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” and “War On War.”
The biggest Sunday show, though, was Jack and Meg’s American coming out party for the Thump.
And honestly, it should have been a main stage show (the mosh pit didn’t have anything on the insane me-first photog area). Jack in red-on-red, Meg in white with red polka dots, the White Stripes opened their set with “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground” and proceeded in grand sister/lover/brother fashion, Jack scurrying over to his Meg mic for some eye-locked wailing, dipping deep into the stage recesses, charging up front to lay a riffage assault on the crowd. We got lots of Icky (including the barreling title track, “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As Your Told),” and “I’m Slowly Turning Into You”); a pounding, falsettofied “Blue Orchid”; and a sludgy/shrieky take on Dolly standard “Jolene,” before the Stripes bid adieu to the militant groove of “Seven Nation Army.” The Stripes were the perfect endnote to a sweaty, dusty, weekend in the Tennessee sun. Sorry, Widespread Panic.
Now for the obligatory assessment of this year’s crowd: it’s no longer a hippie festival. If 2006 was a crossover success, 2007 cemented the fest’s reputation as THE destination rock weekend of the summer. We smelled no patchouli. We did smell plenty of body odors, but the greenest hippie and greasiest hipster shower with the same rate of absolute infrequency … so we’ll call it a draw. And as always, great seeing blog brethren Muzzle Of Bees, Louder Soft, You Ain’t Not Picasso, and Each Note Secure.
So 73 arrests and 200 citations later (but none for Stereogum!), we pack our bags and make the trek back to NYC. Big THANKS go to the folks at Big Hassle and Superfly for being so accommodating, and of course much appreciation to Jon Bahr of ASCAP/Team Slip for providing many of the pics you’ve enjoyed scrutinizing all fest long. Now, back to reality. Anything happen while we were gone? We’ll get busy catching up while you scroll on to the last crop of .jpgs.
THE WHITE STRIPES