Houston artist Tyagaraja recently won the Ford Fiesta Team Houston Battle of The Bands, the grand prize of which was a trip to perform at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. Meghan Hendley, keyboardist/vocalist for Tyagaraja, reports back to us with her tales of the festival. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of her journey here.
My group and I left KOL early (due to boredom) in order to get a good slot on the grass to mentally prepare for the two hours of aural paradise.
As we waited for the arrival of The Flaming Lips at The Which Stage, we witnessed the streams of psychedelic patrons dancing and swaying to music that didn't even exist yet. The first half of Wayne Coyne's crew set consisted of the same dramatic confetti driven, electrified light spectacular of musical genius that we witnessed at FPSF. Seeing the stage for the first time allowed me to focus more on the intricacies of the songs and soak in the reaction of those who were witnessing the 'birth' video at the beginning and the sheer majesty of the set for the first time.
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During the set change for Dark Side Of The Moon, we watched a man creep in front of us in the creepiest of fashion, obviously paranoid from some kind of drug. It was the perfect precursor to the resurrected Pink Floyd set that totally blew my ever-loving mind. "The Great Gig In The Sky" tricked in cosmic strums and celestial chimes as Wayne's voice stated "You've gotta go sometime..." oh dear God...we came all the way with you throughout the musical journey Mr. Coyne.
The squeals of electrics and sexy 70's grooves were dangerously intense, so intense that this man behind us (obviously on a huge acid trip) kept grabbing his face in a crazed Edvard Munch painting The Scream/Macaulay Culkin Home Alone combo of joy and horror shouting "It's SO AWESOME! WHOAA!" Minus his magic enhancers, I felt the exact same way. As the seamless set progressed, we were treated to a digital remix of "Money" that still kept that famous bass line saunter to the dream escape in "Us and Them". The additions of Star Death and White Dwarf became creatively apparent during the rendition of "Eclipse". The bouncing reverberation of multiple guitars and effects layered on top of each other and reflected in the glow of the summer moon.
A faint heartbeat at the end of the song allowed us to take a breather as many around us took another breath in of grass in order to prepare for the "Time/Breath Reprise". A moog-like synth grinded the two notes of the opening, as coughing became surround sound from the stage and the people around us. "Brain Damage" and "Breathe" became instant highlights of the evening with the opening strains of "The lunatic is on the grass..." as all the, uh, lunatics on the field got far out (even starting to crack open glow sticks and pouring the toxic goo on their bodies and their faces in order to illuminate themselves).
My group and I breathed in each phrase, closed our eyes, swayed between the steady climb of bell-like tonal chords, and chanted the classic line 'And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.' We were all in agreement. We traveled to another Bonnaroo planet during the 45 minutes of music.