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Published: 2007/06/25

My First Roo: Reflections From Members of Widespread Panic, Brazilian Girls, The Slip, Tortoise, Benevento/Russo Duo

Here is another series drawn from the pages of the Bonnaroo Beacon, including some bonus content as Dave Schools, Sabina Sciubba, Doug McCombs, Marc Friedman and Joe Russo reflect on their initial Bonnaroo experiences.

My First Roo: Dave Schools

Photo by Jake Krolick

What were your expectations prior to your first Bonnaroo trip?

I really didn’t know what to expect from such a daring experiment…I only hoped that it went off without a hitch and that everyone had a great time. I was really nervous about headlining two nights. I also knew it would be hot and humid.

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

One of the first things I heard upon arrival was Les Claypool invoking the word "BONNAROO" at the top of his lungs from the Main Stage. It kind of set a mood that lingered as long as I was there.

Describe the music that you found most moving or enjoyable at your first Bonnaroo?

Since I was playing with Gov’t Mule and rehearsing so much with the special guests (Dottie Peoples and Steve Winwood) for Panic, I didn’t really get to hear all that much. But I can tell you some great stuff went down in our rehearsal trailer that never made it to the stage that year.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

There was nothing more amazing than when we segued from "Tallboy" into the gospel tune "Testify" with Dottie Peoples and her People’s Choice Choir. I watched 80,000 music lovers literally levitate as Dottie channeled the spirit. "Summon the holy ghost," indeed! This moment was made all the more bittersweet watching Mikey [Houser] smiling the biggest smile I had ever seen while he played along. Of course having Steve Winwood sitting in on "Glad" and "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" was another highlight that I will remember forever.

Sabina Sciubba, Brazilian Girls

Photo by John Patrick Gatta

What were your expectations prior to your first Bonnaroo trip?

Had none, didn’t know anything about Bonnaroo because I’m a Euro chick I guess!

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

Some of my thoughts at the time:

1) “Wow, that’s some serious hippie action…
2) HmmI wonder what these steam tents are for?
3) Killer lineup, great energy.
4) Oh, the sound!!
5) Wow!
6) Ehi!!
7) Ooohhh!!
8) God, he looks really high.
9) Jesus they are all topless…"etc.

Describe the music that you found most moving or enjoyable at your first Bonnaroo?

I thought Mars Volta when we saw them was amazing!! It was like tripping on acid…
Oh, wait, I think we were ;)

What do you remember most about your own performance?

The audience was very energetic and ready to explode. I think they saw all kinds of things that might not really have been happening. Lots of love and seriously good energy.

Doug McCombs, Tortoise

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

Tortoise has played many festivals over the years and to be quite honest, we don’t feel like it’s the best situation for us to do a good set. Going into our first Bonaroo set I didn’t have much hope that it would be any different.

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

Arriving at the festival for our soundcheck I was surprised to find a friendly stage crew and that our soundcheck alotment was 2 1/2 hours, unheard of at a festival.

Describe the music that you found most moving or enjoyable at your first Bonnaroo

The only Band I saw at Bonaroo was Sonic Youth who played right after us. It was one of my favorite times seeing them. I’ve seen them a million times but it seemed that, much like us, they were able to get beyond the psychological barrier of playing in a setting like that.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

Our set was made enjoyable by the amount of attention that was paid us by the audience. We really felt like they were with us. You can’t blame some one for wanting to cut loose and have a good time, but we felt like they were actually listening to what we were doing.

Marc Friedman, The Slip

What were your expectations prior to your first trip to Bonnaroo?

The size. I knew it was going to be a large experience as far as people, stages and bands, and it pretty much filled my expectations.

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

It was the first festival we played or had been to where we could get offstage and then be entertained for a full day. We hoped to see a lot of music and have a lot of people hear our music and that’s what we got. It was a really large set for us.
Describe the music that you found most moving or enjoyable at your first Bonnaroo

Ben Kweller, Sonic Youth, the Flaming Lips, Tortoise, James Brown.it just went on and on. The Flaming Lips had a great slot. I think they started at 1 AM or something and they were really riding high on the Yoshimi [Battles the Pink Robots] tour and that was really special to witness. I wanted to take it all in, so I watched right from the side of the front of the stage.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

It was kind of an early slot in the day, so it was really bright everywhere, but also one of the biggest tents we had ever played in which was really cool. The music felt really good and I wore this shirt that said Nintendo on it. We had these really cool pictures of us taken that day, which we’ve since used for other things, so whenever I see them I look at that shirt [laughs].

Looking back at your initial experience at the festival, what was your quintessential Bonnaroo moment?

There were these upside-down stunt motorcycles going around in this sphere, but that could have been some of the food I ate [laughs]. But, I think, I saw motorcycles going upside-down at one point.

Joe Russo, Benevento/Russo Duo, American Babies

Photo by Jeremy Sanchez

What were your expectations prior to your first Bonnaroo trip?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Marco and I [The Duo] had been touring like crazy that whole year. We played tons of festivals that summer, but I was really excited to be in a festival situation where it wasn’t just the same bands playing for the same people. I really couldn’t even have imagined the crowd we played for that first year with Mike [Gordon] and of course that was even blown away by our attendance last year playing with Mike and Trey.

What were your initial impressions when you arrived that first year?

Well, we were running late getting down there for our first set on Thursday at the VIP area so it was a bit hectic at first. As soon as we started playing, the energy was amazing and continued to be that way for the rest of my time there. It was great to see so many different people so excited for the weekend.

Describe the music that you found most moving or enjoyable at your first Bonnaroo?

Hmm, I gotta say I saw and enjoyed way more music last year at our second appearance, but I remember being blown away by the Mars Volta and Brazilian Girls as always that first year.

What do you remember most about your own performance?

It was loud!!!! I had never heard a crowd that loud before when we walked on stage. I also I had never sweat so much on stage in my life. I had to leave one of my favorite shirts backstage after the show because it was so soaked in sweat! Every one of my experiences at Bonnaroo have been absolutely amazing and I’m looking forward to
feeling that again this year.

Comments

There is 1 comment associated with this post

Raul April 24, 2012, 02:17:56

A few points:Deja Vu inevlvos all your sense, the double eye or even double ear theory don’t work unless we’re modifying the theory to not be sense based but rather brain based. It is plausible that one side of the brain experiences a delay in perception. As to Tig’s point that nothing meaningful is ever Deja Vued thus ruling out psychic, religious and fringe interpretations of Deja Vu I have two arguments:#1) Most of life consisting of the mundane and insignificant means that statisically there is more mundane things to experience as a deja vu. So if reincarnation, The Matrix, or psychic abilities are in play here, the odds of there being a deja vu experience during a meaningful time in one’s life is low. Which begs the question: Has anyone deja vued an important event? #2) Who is to say the moment of Deja Vu is not in fact a very significant moment. Sometimes a mundane occurrence can eventually have great impact on one’s life.Personally, I’m leaning towards the short term/long term memory feedback theory. It seems the most solid.

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