The 2018 edition of Bonnaroo continued on Friday (6/8) with sets from Muse, Sturgill Simpson, Paramore, T-Pain, Bassnectar, Japanese Breakfast, Tyler Childers, Alex Lahey, Manchester Orchestra, Sheryl Crow, Denzel Curry, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Everything Everything, a SuperJam tribute to Tom Petty, and more.

"My midlife crisis is fuckin' dope!” Sturgill Simpson shouted, tuning his guitar for the umpteenth time during his twilight set at What Stage. He wasn't tuning because his instruments were finicky - he had been playing the bejesus out of them the whole time. Among other things, his 90-minute show was a reminder that he's one of the best guitarists on the planet, a detail that might have been overshadowed among the other things he's been doing — like making an impact on how fans and musicians see country music and the country music industry while making three kickass records, the most recent of which has as much soul in it as it has country.

Simpson fronted the stripped-down combo of drummer Miles Miller, bassist Chuck Bartels and keyboardist Bobby Emmett, and had less production than you'll find in some dive bars — no video projection, no fog, no moving or color-changing lights. Not that we even thought about it until we were watching Muse later — we're hard-pressed to think what more we could ask from Simpson’s set. There were his originals like “Turtles All the Way Down” and “Keep It Between the Lines,” which navigate complex emotional and spiritual territory with tenderness and wry humor. There was a cover of William Bell’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water” that burned slow and scorched deep. (We stopped seeing Simpson at the microphone and started picturing the character singing the song, a playboy haunted by regret.) There were also compact jam segments where the band was deep enough in the pocket to be on par with the Dead or Crazy Horse at their best. And there were the aforementioned guitar heroics, with varied and articulate solos that flowed like molten gold.

After Muse’s grand spectacle was through, we strolled across the Which Stage field where Bassnectar kicked off a rager with an ominous explosion of beats that felt like they were heralding the end of the world.

Check out pictures from Friday at Bonnaroo in the gallery above, and pictures from the late-night SuperJam HERE.

Bonnaroo wraps up on Sunday (6/10), and some sets are steaming live. You can also check out our artists not to miss and pictures from Thursday.


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