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“Where you guys sleeping? In a field?” a curious Thom Yorke asked the Radiohead faithful during the band’s headlining set at Bonnaroo on Friday night (June 8). “Do you do that here? I dunno.” It was almost like Yorke and co. had never visited the sprawling music fest in before, but of course, the alt-rock giants delivered an epic performance in Manchester six years ago, when Bonnaroo was still growing into the amalgamated mega-fest it is today. As the first of the three major headliners at this year’s event, Radiohead was given another opportunity to make a field of thousands weep along with the most beautiful falsetto in rock music.
Radiohead’s two-hour, two-encore headlining set focused primarily on the band’s two most recent albums (2007’s “In Rainbows” and last year’s “The King of Limbs”), but re-shaped classics like “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Karma Police” made the performance the easy, expected highlight of the day. But hours before and after Radiohead, festival goers were partying hard to the muscular dance-rock of Little Dragon, austere jams of Afrocubism, darling soul music of Michael Kiwanuka and earthquake-like bass of Major Lazer. Meanwhile, the temperature rose, food vendor lines lengthened, marijuana deals were made in daylight, breasts were exposed, and everyone seemed to have a roaring good time.
What was going on behind the scenes and way out in the open at Bonnaroo on Friday? Here are 10 things you might have missed:
Radiohead, Phish, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the reunited Beach Boys will head to Manchester, Tenn. this June for the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The initial lineup for the annual festival, which takes place from June 7-10 this year, was announced on Tuesday (Feb. 14).
Radiohead will return to the ‘Roo after delivering an epic set at the 2006 version of the festival and releasing “The King of Limbs” last year. Meanwhile, Phish headlined two nights of Bonnaroo in 2009, and closed out 2011 by selling out four straight at New York’s Madison Square Garden from Dec. 28-31.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, who returned in 2011 with a new full-length, “I’m With You,” have planned an expansive North American tour for the spring to support their first album since 2006’s “Stadium Arcadium.” And the Beach Boys will continue the 50th anniversary celebration that they began with a performance at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks all signed on for Bonnaroo.
Here’s Billboard.com’s round-up of singers’, rockers’ and rappers’ 20 coolest and funnest tweets from the past seven days. Be sure to tag @billboarddotcom to your favorite music retweets! Follow @RozOonTheGo!