Eminem, Mumford and Sons, and Wiz Khalifa led the list of must-see performances at Bonnaroo 2011 on Saturday (June 11) but there was a ton to see everywhere you looked, from parades to pyrotechnics. The Manchester, TN fest’s third day kept the party going with music of every possible permutation, from Buffalo Springfield‘s ’60s vibe to Scissor Sisters‘ fiery show. Here are 10 highlights from Saturday:
1. Rumblings that Eminem’s Bad Meets Evil partner Royce Da 5’9″ would appear during Em’s performance turned out to be true, as the pair ripped through “Fast Lane” and “Lighters.” Yet as a whole, the headlining set was all about Eminem’s personal redemption: before he took the stage, text graphics appeared explaining the rapper’s extended hiatus before “Relapse,” and how he was considering never playing live again. “All jokes aside… Thank you for sticking by me and not giving up on me, he told the crowd before launching into “Not Afraid.”
2. Comedian Aziz Ansari was on hand to screen his upcoming comedy “30 Minutes or Less” to a packed crowd at the Cinema Tent. He said that he loved Arcade Fire’s performance on Friday and that he planned on checking out the Black Keys later that night. As for his current iPod obsession? DJ Khaled‘s new single, “I’m on One.”
3. Wiz Khalifa gave a secret shout-out to his lady early in his What Stage set: “There’s a bad bitch in here, if you see her point ’em out,” he rapped on second track “Cabin Fever.” After repeating the line, he turned to his back left, smiled and pointed at Amber Rose, who was watching in the wings.
4. Old Crow Medicine Show ended their Which Stage set by inviting two members of recent Railroad Revival tourmates Mumford and Sons for their final two songs. When the Mumford boys took the same stage three hours later, they returned the favor by asking Old Crow – along with The Apache Relay and David Mayfield – to join them for their final track, a cover of “Amazing Grace.”
5. Halfway through her set, Alison Krauss started introducing the members of her Union Station, ending on Dan Tyminski. The singer-songwriter is responsible for creating “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” the anthem to the Coen Bros.’ film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Krauss then let Tyminski play the song, which inspired a mass sing-along on the Which Stage.
6. Mumford & Sons drew such a massive crowd to the Which Stage that it garnered multiple fan queries of, “Why arent they on the biggest stage?” To compare, the audience dwarfed that of Lil Wayne‘s late-night Friday set on the same stage. Zach Braff and Donald Glover were among the celebrities in attendance.
7. Saturday’s “best outfit” award goes to a dude whose long black beard, trucker hat and arm tattoos were offset by his blue Justin Bieber tee. Runner-up goes to three gentlemen that had “Bon,” “na” and “roo” spelled out over their three shirts, making it extremely difficult for any of them to split up from their group.
8. “We’re Buffalo Springfield! We’re from the past!” Thus proclaimed the reunited veterans early on in their Saturday set, which followed rock upstarts like Mum ford & Sons and Black Keys. While fans young and old appreciated the rock group’s fine-tuned set, a mass exodus to the What Stage 45 minutes before Eminem’s set occurred and thinned out the crowd considerably.
9. At 2 am, a parade of music began to run through the Bonnaroo festival grounds starting from That Tent, with a brass band playing and indie rockers Portugal. the Man leading the way. The flashiest piece of the faux-impromptu parade? A float that showcased the likeness of Mr. T, of course.
10. Scissor Sisters studied their stage spectacles well when they opened for Lady Gaga earlier this year. Their early AM set featured enormous pyrotechnics that involved flames shoot ing up from 10-foot columns during “Fire with Fire.”