Final 2011 Thoughts | Bonnaroo, Buffalo Springfield, Rolling in the Deep

Photo by Jason Gonulsen

In early June, I saw Buffalo Springfield at the tenth anniversary of Bonnaroo, easily one the most enjoyable days of my life. If you’ve never been to Bonnaroo, it’s a four-day music fest nestled not too far from the stretch of Interstate 24 that connects Nashville and Chattanooga. It was my second trip to “the farm,” as they call it, and this year I had a good 40-minute walk from my campsite to the main festival grounds (ie, where the music is). So, let me translate that for you: once I left my tent, there was no going back until dark. Every damn day. 

Oh, and you wake up at six or seven every damn day at Bonnaroo (and you’re lucky if you make it to bed by two). The sun is your boss, and when you open your eyes you immediately realize you must get up, hangover be damned, energy be damned. You get up, you eat something, you chill for a bit, and you go. Or, at least that’s how I do it. I don’t waste much time at festivals.

And on that Saturday morning, I was on a mission — to be front row for Buffalo Springfield.

This meant getting to the Which Stage around 2:30 to start a line, one that actually had already been formed at Noon by a few happy Canadians and hippies (if you’re wondering, you must get in line to have “pit access” at Bonnaroo at the Which and What stages. The pit clears out in between acts, giving more people a chance to be close — a great idea, if you ask me). Fortunately, these were the nicest people I could have met, as we all took turns holding our spot in line, which allowed me to sneak off to see Gary Clark Jr., a true badass on guitar. (Don’t believe me? Watch this.)

The Which Stage was a blast on that day — we got to see Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons from our spot in line (okay, we really only heard them). It turned out to be so much easier than starting a line at the What Stage, which is the biggest stage at Bonnaroo (if you’re already confused, just imagine being there: You: “Hey, I’m going to the Which Stage” Your friend: “What?” You: “No, Which.”)

Finally, around 8:00, we were let in the pit area, and we raced to the front. Fully knowing that Neil Young would be stage left, I darted to that exact spot with my new friends. I remember laughing, smiling, drinking for the next hour — slowly realizing that, holy crap (!), there were gonna be about 70,000 freaks behind us while Buffalo Springfield played one of their only shows in the past 40 years (it actually turned out to be their last of 2011, perhaps last ever).

I’m writing this to tell you that live music will quite possibly never get so exciting for me again in my life. The waiting, as it turned out, was the easy part. The hard part? Well, controlling my emotions when they opened with “On The Way Home,” and holding my camera steady when Neil Young totally went off during “Mr. Soul.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my favorite live music moment of 2011: Oh, hello, Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason. For me, it doesn’t get better than this moment.

Thank you, Bonnaroo. Thank you, Buffalo Springfield.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and it revolves around Adele’s fabulous song, “Rolling in the Deep.” When I first heard this song, I remember sitting (dancing?) in my cube at work, thinking to myself, “What the hell does ‘Rolling in the Deep’ mean?”

I believe that when most people think of Adele, they think of this sad, young woman who just can’t get over her ex-boyfriend, that her songs are 100% vengeful and/or sad. But, when you really listen to “Rolling in the Deep” and the songs on 21, I’m not so sure that is accurate.

Here’s what Adele told Rolling Stone about the meaning of the saying, “Rolling in the Deep”:

…the phrase “rolling in the deep” is sort of my adaptation of a kind of slang, slur phrase in the UK called “roll deep,” which means to have someone, always have someone that has your back, and you’re never on your own, if you’re ever in trouble you’ve always got someone who’s going to come and help you fight it or whatever like that. And that’s how I felt in the relationship that the record’s about, especially “Rolling in the Deep.” That’s how I felt, you know, I thought that’s what I was always going to have, and um, it ended up not being the case.

Be good to each other in 2012.

“Roll deep,” friends.

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