10 finest performances of Bonnaroo 2019: Infantile Gambino, Phish and extra – USA TODAY


At Bonnaroo, it doesn’t matter should you’re a contemporary nation queen, a huge jam band or one of many hottest rappers on the planet — each musician will get the prospect to seize the hearts of 80,000 followers in Manchester, Tennessee.

The 18th annual competition packed greater than 150 performances over its four-day stretch, and a handful of them had been actually impressed, with a form of distinctive magic that can solely be conjured up “The Farm.”

Learn on to see our picks for the 10 finest performances of Bonnaroo 2019.


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10. The Lonely Island

Bonnaroo … on a ship! 

Practically a decade and a half since comedy outfit The Lonely Island seeped into the cultural zeitgeist as recurring “Saturday Night time Stay” musical shtick, the group —consisting of SNL alums Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer — took to The Farm for a rousing hour-plus comedic efficiency.  

The early Sunday present on the Which Stage supplied one of many first seems to be into the group’s hotly-anticipated summer season tour, the primary in Lonely Island historical past.  


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Opening with the uber-meta “We’re On Stage,” the Island’s twenty-or-so songs got here with costume adjustments (“The Creep”), props from music video canon (“Shy Ronnie”) and hilariously easy skits. For instance, Samberg’s character in “Ras Trent” will get promoted, seamlessly launching “Like A Boss.” 

“Rick and Morty” actor Chris Parnell shocked the viewers by showing in the course of the formative “Lazy Sunday” rap, which he launched with Samberg as an SNL digital quick in 2005.

The group did not minimize corners on its comedic bangers (particularly those just a little too inappropriate for print), busting out “Yolo,” “We Like Sportz” and “Jack Sparrow,” full with a digital Michael Bolton cameo.

Oh! And “I am On a Boat,” duh. It would not be a Lonely Island present with out the tune that went viral earlier than “going viral” was cultural commonplace. 

“Thanks a lot you guys,” Samberg stated. “That is superb.” 

9. The GRiZ ‘G.O.A.T.’ Superjam

American DJ and saxophonist Grant Richard Kwiecinski, higher recognized by his stage identify GRiZ, hosted Bonnaroo’s annual SuperJam with a variety of particular visitors early Saturday morning. 

The post-midnight present included performances by Deva Mahal, Okay.Flay, Nicholas Petricca (Stroll the Moon), and plenty of extra. 

Host GRIZ takes a sax solo at Superjam June 15 at Bonnaroo’s This Tent June 15 in Manchester, Tenn. (Photograph: Tyler Lamb/MTSU Seigenthaler Information Service)

This 12 months’s theme: Covers of in style songs from previous artists which many may describe as G.O.A.T. (Biggest Of All Time). These throwbacks included crowd favorites “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, “1999″ by Prince, and “Respect,” made well-known by Aretha Franklin.

As you’ll count on, the packed, colorfully lighted tent made for one huge vibrant singalong.

–Megan Cole, MTSU Seigenthaler Information Service

eight. Maren Morris

It had been a barely rocky week for Maren Morris.

On Tuesday, the nation star introduced she’d executed a photograph shoot with Playboy — and ended up having to fireside again on the many followers who disapproved. 


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Effectively, Morris couldn’t discover a extra accepting viewers than the one which greeted her at Bonnaroo.

“I like this competition a lot,” she instructed them.

“I’ve been right here just a few instances, but it surely’s been just a few years. So I really feel like I’m coming residence. I simply love how glad everyone seems to be once they’re at this competition. No judging. It’s like, ‘Be you, and go see your favourite artists.’ I get to be a fan at these items, too…Who noticed (Infantile) Gambino final evening? That was simply subsequent degree. Otherworldly.” 

However on Saturday afternoon, it was her flip to encourage others on Bonnaroo’s greatest stage. As she opened with “Lady,” the anthemic title observe of her new album, multiple feminine fan raised their telephones within the air to beam their mates in through FaceTime. 

“Lady, do not you grasp your head low,” she and her band belted in stacked concord.

“Do not you lose your halo/ Everybody’s gonna be okay.”

Morris and her band kicked off the “Lady” tour in March, and simply took on Nashville’s Nissan Stadium final week throughout CMA Music Fest. With just a few strong months below their belt, Morris and co displayed a headliner degree of confidence and precision, tearing via hits and highlights from “Lady” and her 2016 debut, “Hero.” 

She’s among the many most assured singers Bonnaroo will see all weekend, with vocal runs and excessive notes coursing via “All My Favourite Individuals,” “‘80s Mercedes,” “The Feels,” “The Bones” and “RSVP.” 

However her viewers on the sector — which she praised for “packing it out” — impressed her, too. 

“Can I get a hallelujah,” she belted as an introduction to “My Church,” her breakout hit. The group wailed and hooted in response. 

“Alright!” Morris stated. “Requested and answered. Let’s do that collectively!”

7. Publish Malone

“NOTICE: This set will characteristic a loud bang sound impact that could be startling to some patrons.”

That message stayed on the video screens in entrance of Bonnaroo’s fundamental stage lengthy earlier than trendy rap celebrity Publish Malone appeared — out of the thickest cloud of fog conceivable.

Publish Malone performs on the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Competition in Manchester, Tenn., Saturday, June 15, 2019. (Photograph: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com)

The warning was a wise transfer, contemplating the blunder eventually 12 months’s competition. In 2018, Eminem’s headlining set included some menacing pyrotechnics that sounded near gunshots, which despatched many attendees ducking for canopy. 

And that heads up wasn’t the one factor Publish Malone acquired proper the place Marshall Mathers went mistaken.

To begin with, he uniquely speaks to this viewers — which is as all the time predominately of their late teenagers and early 20s. 


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They crammed out the sector in entrance of “What Stage” with a turnout that frankly put Phish’s Friday evening crowd to disgrace. 

However extra importantly, Publish is totally upbeat and inclusive, and that performs very properly in Manchester — to say nothing of the scads of pop hits this man has racked up briefly order, together with breakout “White Iverson,” “Rockstar” and “Sunflower.”

“My identify is Austin Richard Publish, and I’m right here to play y’all some (expletive) music and get (expletive)-ed up…let’s get (expletive) bizarre!”

In case you didn’t discover, Publish is usually a little difficult to instantly quote should you’re avoiding the F-word — however he makes use of it with love.

“What a (expletive) kick-ass crowd, man,” he stated. “Thank y’all a lot.” 

6. Cardi B

Forward of her look at Bonnaroo, Cardi B needed to bow out of a number of deliberate gigs on account of cosmetic surgery. After weeks of fear from ticketholders, the world-famous rapper did certainly make it to the competition stage in Manchester, Tennessee — however nonetheless, she confronted setbacks. 


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“I simply wanna let y’all know that my outfit rip,” she instructed her viewers, just some songs into her set. She pressed via for a few minutes, then vanished from the stage. After a time-filling singalong of “Previous City Highway,” she reemerged — in a white bathrobe. 

“We gonna maintain it shifting, child,” she stated. “We gonna maintain it horny. I don’t know the way on this (expletive) gown, however we gonna do it!” 

“Preserve it shifting” was a mantra throughout her brisk 45-minute set, as a uncommon feminine rap star, who’s used to working more durable than anybody else within the room – or on a competition lineup. 

Cardi B, her dancers and tireless hype man tore via each hit she’s loved in three quick years: “I Like It,” “Cash,” and her collaborations with Bruno Mars (“Please Me,” “Finesse”), Maroon 5 (“Ladies Like You.”) and shutting along with her breakout chart-topper “Bodak Yellow.”

5. John Prine

The group that gathered for John Prine might not have been the biggest or youngest to congregate on The Farm throughout Bonnaroo. 

However it may simply be the rowdiest. 

John Prine performs on Saturday, June 15, 2019 in the course of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Competition in Manchester, Tenn. (Photograph: Anthony Merriweather / tennessean.com)

Passionate chants of “John Prine! John Prine!” awaited the newly-inducted Songwriters Corridor of Fame member as he walked onto the That Tent stage, flashing a coy grin and sporting his acquainted black button-down. 

And his rabid following would not depart unfulfilled. Prine delivered a 15-song set of what he’s unquestionably profound at: Singing heartfelt tales with a sly wit and unabashed honesty. 

“All people doin’ alright?” Prine requested with a gentle rasp (as if he did not already know the reply!). 

The 72-year-old pulled closely from his newest studio album, 2018’s Grammy Award-nominated “The Tree of Forgiveness.” He requested for assist with a can of pork and beans throughout album opener “Knockin’ On Your Display screen Door.” He despatched the backbone tinging with eerie, Southern Gothic-tinged “Caravan of Fools.” 

And he did not stroll off stage with out spinning via the shimmering and lighthearted “… Forgiveness” album nearer, “After I Get To Heaven.” 

Prine did not sort out Bonnaroo alone, both. He invited Kelsey Waldon, the primary signing in 15 years to Prine’s personal Oh Boy Information, for a duet on fan favourite knee-slapper “In Spite Of Ourselves.” He adopted that second up by inviting Brandi Carlile to the stage, her second look of the night. 

The singer earned a uncommon competition encore, returning for the aforementioned “After I Get To Heaven” earlier than inviting Waldon, spouse Fiona Whelan and son Tommy Prine on stage for an ensemble jam of 1971’s “Paradise.” 

four. Brandi Carlile

“Did you get your second wind?” Brandi Carlile requested her viewers because the solar beat down over Bonnaroo’s largest stage on Sunday afternoon. 


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It was day four — or presumably 5 — for the 80,000 followers who’d been residing out of tents and campers in Manchester, Tennessee, and it undeniably felt prefer it. 

Carlile was proper there with them. She made a number of shock appearances on the competition on Saturday, singing with John Prine and Hozier. 

“I stayed up too late final evening,” she admitted.  “I wakened feeling just a little bit delicate. And I intention to assuage your drained coronary heart at present.” 

In truth, Carlile has been at Bonnaroo for lots longer than two days. 

“We’ve been a part of the Bonnaroo household for fairly just a few years now…You in all probability didn’t see us the primary time we performed right here. We performed subsequent to some rubbish cans within the cafeteria tent, within the second 12 months Bonnaroo was operating.”

“It wasn’t even a stage…and we rocked that (expletive), man. We’ve been loving y’all for all these years, and to face up right here on the principle stage means extra to me than I may ever absolutely talk to you.” 

It was one other victorious second in a banner 12 months for Carlile. After carving out a good area of interest and fanbase over the past decade, she made a sudden breakthrough along with her latest, Nashville-made album, “By The Method, I Forgive You.” 

That led to a show-stealing efficiency on the Grammy Awards, the place she was up for Album of the 12 months. 

The tune she performed that evening was “The Joke,” which presents a message of hope to those that’ve been bullied and counted out. 

As she launched it on Sunday, Carlile waved a rainbow flag and instructed her viewers to “sing it as loud and as proud as you are able to do, as a result of everyone wants this tune.” 

And afterwards, she stated she had by no means felt extra emotional singing it than she did at Bonnaroo. 

She instructed the group about her spouse and their two daughters, aged 5 and 1. 

“I really feel that it’s so necessary to face right here in entrance of you proper now and discuss to you about my household, and our proper to exist on this nation at present,” Carlile stated, to cheers across the subject. “Progress doesn’t solely transfer in a single course. It may well additionally go backwards, and we should not let it.”

For her half, Carlile is proving to be an unstoppable drive, with an unbelievably highly effective voice. She charged via her beloved ballad “The Story,” and the tender, harmony-fueled “The Eye.”

After which got here a shock look from nation nice Tanya Tucker, who tapped Carlile to supply her upcoming album. Collectively, they sang her “The Wheels of Laredo” – after knocking again pictures of Tucker’s new signature tequila, which she went to nice lengths to advertise on stage. 

To prime a triumphant evening off, Carlile was introduced on stage with the important thing to Manchester from metropolis officers. 

“What an expertise this has been,” she stated. “I can’t wait to go residence and inform my infants about it.”

three. Phish

“Do you may have any vitality left?” Phish frontman Trey Anastasio requested his Bonnaroo crowd. 

“As a result of we do,” he added with fun. 


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After a fast warm-up set on Friday, the jam band giants acquired all the way down to enterprise at Bonnaroo on Sunday evening. They closed out the 18th annual competition with a run of centered, generally livid tunes that reaffirmed their standing because the competition’s godfathers. That included an epic guitar solo journey via “Sand,” and breezy singalongs “Free” and “Wolfman’s Brother.”

Phish, should you’re unfamiliar, is a massively profitable “jam band,” established in Vermont in 1983, and second solely to the Grateful Lifeless when it comes to success and affect.

Phish performs on the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Competition in Manchester, Tenn., Friday, June 14, 2019. (Photograph: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com)

Imagine it or not, there was a time when music festivals had been few and much between within the U.S. — main live performance promoters had opted to construct amphitheaters as an alternative. 

However within the ‘90s, Phish dared to dream, holding epic, bold and fiercely unbiased gatherings in distant corners of the nation, and bringing as much as 85,000 followers together with them. 

With their successful method, Phish offered the blueprint for Bonnaroo, and most of the numerous festivals to sprout up afterwards.

2. Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves performs on the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Competition in Manchester, Tenn., Saturday, June 15, 2019. (Photograph: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com)

For the previous couple of months — as competition season has set in — an simple wave has been constructing below Kacey Musgraves. Issues have escalated rapidly since her third album, “Golden Hour,” introduced in followers from properly exterior the nation world, and received the Grammy for Album of the 12 months.

However at Bonnaroo — a competition that has welcomed her with open arms for the final six years — it’s secure to say the adoration reached a brand new degree. 

As she emerged to the strains of “Gradual Burn,” the pandemonium unfold via the sector in entrance of Bonnaroo’s second-largest stage, the place Musgraves was greeted like a contemporary icon. 


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“Our yee-haw queen!” one fan hollered.  Close by, one other stood on their buddy’s shoulders to wave the signal she’d made — a photocopy of Musgraves’ much-memed expression when she heard she had received the Grammys’ prime prize.

Talking of on the spot classics, I took this photograph @KaceyMusgravespic.twitter.com/okE94db86u

— Dave Paulson (@ItsDavePaulson) June 16, 2019

“In Tennessee, the solar’s happening,” she sang on “Gradual Burn,” and people phrases may by no means be taken extra actually in live performance than at that second.  

“I don’t assume that this might get any extra stunning,” Musgraves instructed the viewers. “You guys, you look superb tonight. Welcome to ‘Golden Hour’ at Golden Hour. I’m not mendacity in any respect once I say that Bonnaroo is my absolute (expletive) favourite place to play. I’ve been trying ahead to this for therefore lengthy, understanding that you just guys are gonna (expletive) convey it.”

She wasn’t mistaken. Each tune — at the least those from “Golden Hour” — changed into field-wide singalongs, and it’s arduous to think about any tune from Bonnaroo’s all-male headliners evoking as a lot ardour. 

1. Infantile Gambino

Bearded and shirtless, flailing his limbs rhythmically and smiling a wild grin, Infantile Gambino made one promise to the lots who greeted him at Bonnaroo. 

“I do know Bonnaroo is concerning the mom (expletive) music,” he supplied. “Put your telephone down and comply with the second.”

“Really feel some (expletive) with me as a result of tonight is church.” 

Infantile Gambino performs on the What Stage at Bonnaroo June 14, 2019 in Manchester, Tenn. (Photograph: Tyler Lamb/MTSU Seigenthaler Information Service)

Gambino — the musical pseudonym of multi-talented Atlanta entertainer Donald Glover — took The Farm to the altar along with his 80-minute headlining set Friday evening. The soulful, spacey fruits of the star’s decade-long profession supplied the primary fundamental stage top-bill set of the bought out Manchester competition. 

Gambino commanded his band with a tender contact, extending tracks into psychedelia and providing offbeat jams — a worthy precursor to competition mainstay Phish, who closed the stage Friday evening. 

“I am unable to even charge you guys as a result of that is positively the (expletive) finest crowd we have had to date,” he stated. 

With a roar that immediately affirmed his proclamation, he continued: “I can really feel it. I can really feel it proper now. It is like my portal is open for you.

“Do not ever let anyone inform you … that we’re not related. We’re so related on this second collectively. We’re the previous, current and future.” 

The present reached its excessive level with 2018’s “This Is America,” the Grammy Award-winning sociopolitical anthem that introduced a sea of toes leaping within the air. 

Fireworks exploded as he exited the stage — however not earlier than a last reminder of the promise he delivered. 

“I instructed ya, this an expertise,” he stated. “That is church.” 

Learn or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2019/06/17/bonnaroo-2019-festivals-10-best-performers/1475383001/

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