03. Preservation Hall Presents: The Soul Shakedown – A Bonnaroo Superjam!
Hey Bonnaroo, can you please book the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to lead every Superjam from here on out? Add a slew of horns to almost any song and it sounds better, but after last year’s somewhat underwhelming “Heart, Soul & Spirit” edition, the insane chops and unbridled party-starting energy of the storied New Orleans group’s “Soul Shakedown”, which closed out Saturday’s lineup in This Tent, was a revelation.
The set of thirteen covers, which ranged from classic soul and funk to contemporary hip-hop and R&B performed by a ridiculously talented roster of special guests, was packed with highlight hits from start to finish. PHJB themselves administered the first shot of adrenaline with blaring trombone, trumpet and sax on C+C Music Factory essential “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”. Boyfriend and her dancers slayed during Rick James’ “Super Freak” (and snippet of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”) with a dazzling dance routine (it’s incredible how perfect the choreography was given they don’t rehearse these shows before the weekend starts). Lukas Nelson and Margo Price traded country roots for riveting, riff-heavy funk with their duet on Al Green’s “Love and Happiness”. Portland sister trio Joseph nailed the most resplendent harmonies of the weekend on TLC’s “Waterfalls”. And Chance the Rapper lived up his name more than ever before with a slick sashay through Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Nothin’ But a G Thang”.
For the finale, Chance – veritably Bonnaroo’s 2017 Man About Town with more cameos across the grounds than anyone else – was joined by nearly the entire Superjam’s roster for a rousing rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”. That tune almost lost momentum when Chano’s delivery got perhaps a little too jazzy/airy on the “shake it like a Polaroid picture” bit, but he had the likes of Nicole Atkins, Boyfriend, and Flint Eastwood to the see the chorus through to its raucous-refrain ending. Truly, this Superjam was the necessary day-three late-night rally, with everyone leaving the tent with a jolt of dance-powered energy to propel them into Roo’s fourth and final day in all-time-high spirits. As James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem said last year about Grace Jones’ set at FYF Fest, “If you missed it, you fucked up.” I mean, just look at this absurdly awesome set list:
Everybody Dance Now (C+C Music Factory cover w/ Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
Happy (Pharrell Williams cover w/ Jon Batiste)
Get Up Off That Thing (James Brown cover w/ Flint Eastwood)
Super Freak (Rick James cover w/ Boyfriend)
Little Red Corvette (Prince cove
r w/ Rayland Baxter)
Hand Clapping Song (The Meters cover w/ George Porter Jr.)
Can I Kick It (A Tribe Called Quest cover w/ Lecrae)
Love and Happiness (Al Green Cover w/ Lukas Nelson and Margo Price)
Time is On My Side (The Rolling Stones cover w/ Nicole Atkins)
Waterfalls (TLC cover w/ Joseph)
24K Magic (Bruno Mars cover w/ Jason Huber of Cherub)
Keep That Same Old Feeling (The Crusaders cover w/ Tank and the Bangas)
Nothin’ But a G Thang (Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg cover w/ Chance the Rapper)
Hey Ya! (Outkast cover w/ everyone) –David Brendan Hall