Bon Iver, Amelia from Sylvan Esso & more paid tribute to Tom Petty at Bonnaroo Superjam (pics, video)
One of the highlights of Bonnaroo every year is the annual collaborative SuperJam set. For its 2018 edition in the early hours of Saturday (6/9) morning, Bonnaroo paid tribute to the late, great Tom Petty with “Into the Great Wide Open – A SuperJam Celebrating the Music of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.” Musical directors Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket and Craig Pfunder of VHS or Beta led a band that included Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket, Pat Sansone of Wilco, Mark Charles Heidinger of Vandaveer, Daniel Creamer of The Texas Gentlemen, The Watson Twins, and a whole bunch of special guests: Sheryl Crow, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Vanessa Carlton, Langhorne Slim, Japanese Breakfast, Rayland Baxter, Bucky Baxter, Durand Jones & The Indications, Larkin Poe, The Wild Feathers, Moon Taxi, Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant, and more.
The all-star crew that gathered at This Tent at 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning included both fans and friends of his, and the vibe was as celebratory as you can imagine. At Bonnaroo, that’s saying something.
“I’m from Irish descent,” said My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan, who served as bandleader and emcee. “And it’s in our culture to celebrate life at a time of death. And so this is the wake for Tom Petty, that you’re all here to be a part of.”
The audience — which spilled well outside the tent’s confines — cheered in affirmation.
The jam’s biggest names appeared right out of the gate: Sheryl Crow and Paramore’s Hayley Williams were immediate highlights with “American Girl” and “Into the Great Wide Open,” respectively.
Perhaps the biggest surprise came with Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso. Her duet partner on “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” was an unannounced Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
The Superjam often dips into Nashville’s nearby talent pool, and this being a Petty tribute, a ton of Music City rockers and singer-songwriters hopped on the bill.
In addition to Crow and Williams, Moon Taxi did Music City proud with a rock-solid “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” as did Cage the Elephant frontman Matt Shultz on “Breakdown.” Petty acolytes The Wild Feathers were an ideal fit for “Won’t Back Down,” and Vanessa Carlton delivered a dreamy “Learning to Fly.”
Check out pictures from the SuperJam in the gallery above, and watch some video clips below.
photos by Kate Cauthen