The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is in the books, though the memories are still pretty vivid.
In many ways, this year was the best one of the eight that I've been to. Weather is always one of the factors in this, and this year was near perfect with little rain and low humidity. The other factor is that festival organizers keep making alterations that make everything go better.
But it is the music that draws everyone, and this year had some real highlights. In no particular order, the best moments for me were:
* Macca: Without a doubt, Paul McCartney's 38-song tour de force of Beatles, Wings and solo hits was the best show I've ever seen anywhere. Watching him do the songs I've known my whole life was incredible, but it meant almost as much watching more than 90,000 other people of all ages having the same kind of emotional moments I was.
One of the things people were comparing on Saturday and Sunday was how many times they cried during Macca's Friday night show.
* Macklemore: I love "Thrift Shop" with its funny video, lyrics and infectious hook, but I honestly did not expect he would draw more than 40,000 people to the main What Stage. I also didn't expect the show to be as touching, powerful, funny and fun as it was.
Watching him spot the guy in the "Tennessee bobcat" fur coat and having it crowd-surfed up to the stage so he could wear it while performing the hit was cool.
* Matt & Kim: I'm a fan and so, apparently, are a lot of people. The crowd at The Other Tent was overflowing, and the energy surprised even the performers. When Kim Schifino suggested that people in the back might want to come forward for an upcoming song, even she seemed stunned that more than 40 people were suddenly body-surfing toward the stage.
It was one of the wilder scenes of the festival.
* Superjam: This show is always a highlight because you never know who will be performing. On Sunday morning (it started at midnight), we got John Oates, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Larry Graham, Jim James, Billy Idol, R. Kelly and Brittany Howard. Both Kelly and Idol rushed over after their own late-night sets to perform.
They did a bunch of Sly Stone songs, as well as some Sam Cooke, T. Rex, Rolling Stones and more during the nearly two-hour set.
* Cloney: These two guys wear tuxedos and George Clooney masks and rap some of the dirtiest lyrics since Blowfly, but they made me laugh during their half-hour show. Then they posed for pictures and sold merch, which was cool.
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...
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