Late-night Bonnaroo fixture SuperJam capped a day of performances that included R&B and hip-hop heavyweights, a budding Irish superstar, and infectious pop from New Jersey.
Bonnaroo’s annual SuperJam is a tradition like no other. Artists from all genres and decades come together for a late, late night jam session for Bonnaroovians young and old.
This year’s theme was “Throwback Dance Party,” and an ensemble of musicians that included electronica artist Pretty Lights, hip-hop act Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na, Nashville’s own Cherub and a multitude of other artists combined forces to make one giant covers set extending two-plus hours at The Other Tent.
Here are six of most memorable moments from the 2015 SuperJam:
1. Galifianakis and Hamm lead off with “We Are the World”
Even though comedian-actor Zach Galifianakis and actor Jon Hamm performed unannounced earlier in the evening in the Comedy Theatre, a majority of Bonnaroovians had no idea the two were on the festival grounds. When Galifianakis was introduced as the first SuperJam artist, the crowd went wild with surprise and delight. He and Hamm led a sing-along of “We Are the World,” proof positive that at SuperJam, you should always expect the unexpected.
2. Antonoff Shines
Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff was the SuperJam ensemble’s go-to frontman for rock covers in the set. Antonoff, who also serves as the guitarist for the band Fun., led covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” Queen’s “Under Pressure” and INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” The energy he shows leading Bleachers carried over into the SuperJam, giving some of the most memorable performances of the night.
3. Getting heavy with Metallica’s Trujillo
Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo is in Manchester to help promote the documentary “JACO,” a film he produced about revered bassist Jaco Pastorius. Festival organizers surely couldn’t pass on a chance to get Trujillo involved in the SuperJam, and he did not disappoint. Leading the charge with Cherub, the ensemble covered Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and then went into Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the latter of which was the heaviest and most well-received performance of the set.
4. Giddens covers ‘Roxanne’
Rhiannon Giddens had just one song in the spotlight, but she made it count. The Carolina Chocolate Drops singer, who performed on the Which Stage earlier in the day, covered the Police’s “Roxanne” with a stunning delivery. It was the best vocal performance of the session.
5. D.M.C. delivers the classics
The biggest act on the 2015 SuperJam bill was none other than Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels of the iconic hip-hop trio Run-D.M.C. The rapper came out toward the end of the set, treating fans to his group’s biggest singles, including “It’s Tricky,” their Aerosmith cover “Walk this Way” and “King of Rock.” Hopefully this won’t be the last time we see McDaniels on “The Farm,” as he was only able to scratch the surface of Run-D.M.C.’s extensive catalog.
6. Chance the Rapper Brings it Home
After a stellar Bonnaroo set and an appearance at last year’s SuperJam, anticipation for Chance the Rapper’s appearance was higher than any other artist in the ensemble. He appeared early on covering Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” but that was only an appetizer for what was to come. As the SuperJam neared the two-and-a-half hour mark, many audience members were nearing the point of exhaustion. But when Chance returned to the stage to cover Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It,” the crowd became reinvigorated and finished the night strong just after 4 a.m.
To see our full archive of Bonnaroo coverage, click here.