By the afternoon of day 3 of Bonnaroo 2017, the festival began to heat up in every way possible. The temperature warmed up to the mid-80s, a more average level for summer in Tennessee, with climbing humidity. Lots of young exposed body parts bronzed in the summer sun as music fans stripped down to the bare essentials and sought relief from the afternoon sun in shady spots and air-conditioned venues like the cinema comedy tent. The beer tent was doing a brisk business selling microbrews from over 3o different breweries. The large bubbling water fountain was a favorite stop for those needing a cooling respite from the heat.
The venues were also heating up with live performances in at least a dozen different places across Centeroo. The young North Carolina band Rainbow Kitten Surprise had the crowd dancing in front of the Which stage by midafternoon, to their pleasurable Indie rock sounds. But an even larger group was forming over on the main stage for New York rapper Jon Bellion. The young hip-hop star had a hot young crowd swaying to his set. Tegan and Sara brought their Canadian Indie pop to the Which stage next. The now veteran singing sisters have been a festival staple for decades but judging from the faces in front of the crowd have a whole new following of young female fans. The American synth pop band from Maryland, Future played the main stage next. Emotive lead singer, Samuel Herring captured the crowd's imagination with his stage antics and rich vocal skills, which could be compared to a young Tom Jones. Back on the Which stage the Seattle-based band The Head And The Heart brought their sultry Indie folk music to a large crowd painted into orange glow of the setting sun. About the same time the California girl band Warpaint was bathing This tent in their psychedelic dream pop.
As twilight turned to darkness the Kentucky rockers Cage The Elephant brought one of the most exciting rock sets of the day to the Which stage. The young rockers have now become veterans after a decade on the festival circuit. Their extended residency in their early days in London left a lasting impact on their sound. Indeed, the band sounds like a young Rolling Stones in the prime at times. Led by charismatic vocalist Matt Shultz, who tore around the stage like a whirling Dervish and lunged into the crowd on several occasions, the band played fierce rock rhythms. This band just keeps getting better every year and have a long future ahead.
Just like the night before when the festival shut down for U2, most of the Centeroo went quiet for the much-anticipated performance by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The veteran funk rockers have headlined Bonnaroo before, but for most of the young fans at the festival, it was their first experience with the band. The Peppers have always been a moody band performing amazing concerts at times and less so at others. Whether it be from too much partying or sheer exhaustion, the band has been known to play disjointed shows over the years. But for this near two-hour performance the aging rockers were in prime form, fully synchronized and full of energy. While iconic bassist Flea pranced about the massive stage, singer Anthony Kiedis danced his across the huge stage as well, despite some sort of metal brace on his leg. Harkening back to the 80's when the band would sometimes play naked, Kiedis even went shirtless for the second half of the concert. Drummer Chad Smith played like a madman throughout the near two-hour set. Former touring guitarist Josh Klinghoffer played relentless riffs as the band tore through some of their biggest hit songs.
By the time the Peppers ended their extended set many young EDM fans had migrated back to the other side of Centeroo for a late-night set by Australian music producer Flume. The masterful mixer has set himself apart from most EDM DJ’s by creating his music instead of just remixing others tunes. His LED cubicle podium and light show astounded the massive EDM crowd that gathered to hear his set which extends into the early morning hours. About the same time, DJ’s Snails and Marshmellow were performing their grandiose EDM shows over on the Other stage. Also, simultaneously the legendary Superjam was going down in This tent. It was a night of visual and musical overload right until the first light of the final day of Bonnaroo 2017.