1. Super Jam
The midnight show was a historic jam in every sense. Ben Harper's voice and guitar soared over masterful bass from Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and deep grooves from Questlove, who looked like a king atop his high-rising drum kit.
The trio created a soundscape of classic Zeppelin songs for the first set, weaving them together in a collage with a soulful, extended jam on “When the Levee Breaks” and “Good Times Bad Times” continuously returning to riffs from “Dazed and Confused.”
Gene Ween absolutely shredded his guitar as Dean Ween's often warbled, distorted voice crooned songs to the roaring delight of their cult-like following. One fan even made a sequined Ween belt. Their two-hour set began with the perfect opening line “let's begin with the past in front” from “Exactly Where I'm At” and continued with fan favorites “Bananas and Blow,” “Baby Bitch” and “Ocean Man.” Dean and Gene are Bonnaroo veterans but looked like wide-eyed kids ecstatic over the warm reception they got as they came back for their encore.
3. The Flaming Lips
The Lips put on what was undoubtedly the best “show” of the weekend. Lead singer Wayne Coyne began by launching into the crowd enclosed in an inflated plastic bubble after descending from his elaborate spaceship into a land filled with oversized floating balloons and an endless stream of confetti. He made it easy to forget music was being played.
The Lips played an out-of-this-world set filled with sing-a-long hits like “She Don't Use Jelly” and “Do You Realize” while often getting political, speaking out against the war with a somber rendition of “Taps.”
4. The White Stripes
Jack and Meg White are a tour de force. A full sonic explosion. A “Seven Nation Army” of rock.
Jack launched the duo's new single "Icky Thump,” which features a riff so powerful it's hard to imagine it's new.
The Stripes re-energized an exhausted audience as the festival wound down Sunday evening. Jack led the duo, wailing away on guitar and leaping on top of amps as he moved from guitar to electronic keyboard, blasting out hits like “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” “Hotel Yorba” and "Blue Orchid.”
5. The Roots
Questlove made his stake for artist of the festival by taking control of the show on drums and showing off his vocals. He laid down a spot-on cover of The Police’s “Roxanne,” but I don’t remember Sting saying “let me holler at you” before the chorus.
The Roots pulled out all the stops, but the crowd seemed uninspired – that is until a band member challenged them, saying, “We got tubas. We got sousaphones and all that shit. Are you not entertained?” From then on, the audience was captivated, especially during “The Seed.”