The Remix: Bonnaroo features Weezer, Jay-Z and Stevie Wonder
Manchester, Tenn.—While Saturday was naturally a great day for music, it was also a day for some of the best backup bands to show what they’ve got. Those guys don’t get enough credit from the fans, but they sure do bring the house down.
Rebelution kicked things off on Saturday with a captivating, fratty reggae performance that included hits from the catchy album “Courage to Grow,” among other great songs.
The Avett Brothers played a nice neofolk set that was definitely well-received by their fans.
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights tore it up early in the afternoon. Their performance got a lot of people moving their feet. And might I say that their guitar playing was spot on! Oh, the sounds of summer.
Dawes served up some indie perfection in the afternoon with a light, relaxed set in a sponsor tent.
Weezer played “Pork and Beans,” their single from their latest album, “Raditude,” as well as righteous covers of MGMT’s “Kids” and Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface.”
Ozomatli had more people dancing in a tent than any other non-techno band. They really got their crowd in high spirits. Their set was truly enjoyable. They’re definitely a band that drew in a lot of people just with their sound alone.
Stevie Wonder kicked off his set on a keytar, segued into a little more of a reggae feel, and then jumped right into the soul hits “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” “For Once in my Life,” and “Higher Ground.” Stevie even busted out a harmonica for a brief solo. He then turned up the heat with a little bit of funk. He kept up the energy with a salsa-style jam that really got couples twirling and dancing. The backup band played beautifully. He also did a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” during which he used a vocal synthesizer for a neat effect. He went straight into “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” which the crowd undoubtedly loved. His whole two-hour set was spectacular.
There’s almost no better way to mix rock and rap than the way Jay-Z and his backup band do. There’s no doubt that Jay brought his A-game, and his band and rapper Memphis Bleek compliment him quite well. Everyone absolutely lost it when Jay did a hard rock version of “99 Problems.” Then he took the crowd by storm even further with his series of hits that included “Can I Get A…,” “Dirt off Your Shoulder” and “Bring in the Boys.” His fans all threw their hands in the air, making their signature sea of diamond symbols. At one point he even rapped over the melody to U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The incredibly talented Bridget Kelly joined Jay-Z on stage for “Empire State of Mind.” The crowd went wild when he played “H to the Izzo” on top of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Jay also did a medley throughout which he sampled a minute or so of a bunch of his older hits. Jay was even so sweet as to bring a fan on stage whose birthday it was, and had the entire audience sing “Happy Birthday” to her. He closed out with “Forever Young” and a heavy rock version of “Encore,” and all was well in the world.