Aside from possessing a dazzling, heart-melting vocal range, Smith pulls his appeal from a humble, completely likable persona that makes him easy to root for. “This is my first American festival,” he announced after opening with “Nirvana,” hinting to the audience his amazement (and perhaps a little nervousness) to be playing before such a sprawling sea of faces.
Behind-The-Scenes at Bonnaroo: Kanye, Ground 'Surprises' & More
Smith favored the slower ballads early in the set, before dropping in more uptempo tracks such as “Like I Can” to get the audience grooving. Since most of the crowd had not yet heard the deeper cuts from “Lonely Hour” (which drops June 17 in the U.S.), Smith peppered his set with familiar tracks; the teerjerking plea “Leave Your Lover” was an early highlight and later on, a cover of the Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” raised the tempo during the set’s midsection.
Bonnaroo's 10 Most Legendary Performances
To close the 50-minute set, Smith brought out the crowd-pleasers. First there was the stripped-down, Smith-centric take of Disclosure’s “Latch” (which appears on “Lonely Hour’s” deluxe edition) and finally, “Stay With Me” provided the emotional catharsis. The breakthrough hit has only been high on the charts for a few weeks, but the fervor with which the crowd clapped along and belted the lyrics suggested a song that’s been beloved for much longer.
Sam Smith will likely remember this day for a long, long time.
Here’s the set list from Sam Smith’s Bonnaroo show:
2. Good Thing
3. Leave Your Lover
4. I’m Not the Only One
5. Like I Can
7. Do I Wanna Know? (Arctic Monkeys cover)
8. Money on My Mind
9. Lay Me Down
10. La La La
12. Stay With Me
Billboard's Bonnaroo 2014 Video