MANCHESTER, Tennessee (Billboard) - A headlining performance from quirky hard rock act Tool and a once-in-a-lifetime jam session between Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Ben Harper and drummer ?uestlove highlighted the first full day (June 15) of the Bonnaroo festival, which has drawn 80,000 people to rural Manchester, Tennessee.
Tool drew a massive crowd to the main stage for a set heavy on material from the band’s latest album, “10,000 Days,” including the single “The Pot,” as well as older hits such as “Stinkfist” and “Schism.” Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello joined the group near the end of its set for “Lateralus” and conjured a tornado of sound from his instrument. Earlier, frontman Maynard James Keenan teased the dusty, dirty audience by gloating about the hot shower he had taken. “Thank you for putting up with our cynical attitudes,” he said near the end of the performance.
As midnight passed, Jones, Harper and ?uestlove treated an amped-up, overflow crowd at the Other Tent to frequently jaw-dropping jams on Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks,” “Good Times, Bad Times” and “Dazed and Confused,” the latter a 25-minute epic that drove the audience into hysterics. The impromptu trio also covered Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” the later with the help of Roots guitarist Kirk Douglas.
DJ Shadow held down the fort in the This Tent during a set that began after 2 a.m. The artist mixed and matched elements from throughout his song catalogue, on one number laying the vocal melody from “Six Days” atop the hip-hop beats of “Walkie Talkie.” Other highlights included “Changeling,” from Shadow’s acclaimed 1996 debut, “Endtroducing,” and “3 Freaks,” the first single from his 2006 release “The Outsider.”
Friday also featured performances from the Roots, the Black Keys, Lily Allen, Hot Chip, the String Cheese Incident, Manu Chao and Kings of Leon. Saturday evening’s headliner is the Police, in their first major festival appearance since reuniting.
On a sad note, the festival’s first fatality was confirmed to be a 25-year-old man from Kentucky. It was the sixth death in the festival’s six-year history.