Heading Home.....?

Trouble ahead, it seems, for our hero...

Bonnaroo 2009 - The Beginning of the End - Act 1
Sunday, I woke up at 10am and cranked the car to charge my phone. As it came to life, I saw i had 10 missed texts and calls from Arielle, asking where I was. She wasn't at camp...and a knot started forming in my stomach. I started trying to call her, texting her, anything to let me know she was safe. After about 2 hours of cleaning up and packing up my gear, I still heard nothing. At this point I'm imagining the worst...she was kidnapped by hippies and they were torturing her with Widespread Panic albums, or Mr. CSI was in fact a serial rapist/killer pretending to be Mr. CSI. I started to panic a bit. I'm responsible for this 20yr old girl, and I let her get killed in like the most stereotypical way possible.

Maybe it was because my brain was dusty from all the lack of fluids, but then, it hit me... check her TENT. Where she's supposed to be sleeping. And there she was. Phew. I guess i had assumed she would've slept in the car again, still suffering from arachnophobia... but no, she was right where she should've been all along. Then I felt foolish for internally accusing CSI of foul play... he's like the most gentle, non-threatening guy ever. Sorry man, btw, if you're reading this. Oh, and now I just confirmed with Arielle that your name was Andrew. BTW she likes you a lot.

After waking up a confused Arielle in a semi-scolding "I-was-worried-sick-about-
you-what-are-you-doing-being-where-you're-supposed-to-be" kind of way and packing up all of our gear in the Vitara, we decided to head out to the grounds for the day's offerings (Dillinger Escape Plan, Erykah Badu, and Snoop Dogg), but to leave relatively early (before Snoop Dogg). We were tired. Over it. Neither of us had showered in 3 days. Home tasted good right about then.

Made it in right in time for Dillinger... and got very close in. I was worried Arielle might not appreciate the DEP, considering the nature of their music, but she was totally into it...but maybe a bit more due to the lead singer being jacked up like an NFL player. We muscled our way into the crowd to the edge of the pit...which was understandably and retardedly vicious.

Dillinger, as always, impresses. They play with such speed and accuracy, despite cartwheeling around and jumping into the crowd off of amp stacks with their guitars. The singer kept winging full water bottles indiscriminately into the crowd with high speed and always accurately at head level... I felt the whip of air as one flew past my face, and looked to the singer, who gave me a knowing wink and smile. Dillinger was trying to kill me. Which was awesome. They played the greats - "43% Burnt", "Sugar Coated Sour", "When Good Dogs Do Bad Things", "Sunshine the Werewolf", "Panasonic Youth"...and some more mellow-for-Dillinger offerings from that new album, Ire Works. They even played their cover of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy", which they rarely play live. I left satisfied and Arielle left with a newfound appreciation for grindcore. Win-win.

We headed to the media hub for some water and to chill before Erykah Badu. Saw Aziz Ansari (from Human Giant/Parks and Recreation fame) and Margaret Cho. Also saw David Byrne passing through in some ridiculous getup, which I assumed was part of his whole "thing".

We met CSI Andrew at Erykah Badu. She was about 20 minutes late starting her set, and we wondered if maybe there was a "diva moment" happening backstage. Her band formed onstage and set the mood, and then she came out in a bowling cap and a Public Enemy hoodie. I was impressed with her show... her band was extremely tight and she commanded them like a general, stopping and starting multiple times mid-song at her whim... a very impressive display of stage presence and skill.

I started back during her last song, to make final preparations for the journey home...on the way back, snagged a video and pics of Ted Leo playing solo, and of Triumph and Robert Smigel. We left the campground at 6:30 pm, with no trouble. No line to get off the grounds, no traffic on the highway, we were golden. Smooth sailing. Until we got to Atlanta.

On I-75 S, in downtown Atlanta, in heavy 5-lane traffic, the lights of Georgia state trooper came on right behind us, and we freaked. I wasn't speeding, so I didn't know what was going on. I was panicking, because I had to get over across lanes of high speed traffic, so I went over to the left emergency lane, which upon getting there, noticed was only 4 ft wide, and cars are having to swerve to get around us. The trooper was not happy about this. We cam up to my window, screaming at the top of his lungs that I was going to get them killed, and to pull over on the right side of the road, across 5 lanes of high speed traffic.

Note that is only sounds easier than it actually is, especially when you are panicking, and knowing a state trooper is watching your every move. The oncoming traffic did not try slow down... people were swerving left and right to avoid me until the trooper flashed his lights and got behind us. Once there, he gave me another earful about how dangerous what I had just done was...and that he pulled me over because my tail lights were out. I apologized profusely, and kept doing so after he took my license and registration and made his way back to his vehicle. Arielle was white as a ghost, and threatening to throw up in the car. Then she informed me that the head/tail light system in this car was different, that it had to be on a certain setting for the tail lights to come on. This is why I was pulled over. I had headlights and dash lights the whole time, and assumed the tail lights were on, too. After she showed me the correct setting, the officer summoned me to his patrol car.

He said he saw the tail lights come on, and I explained about how this was an unfamiliar vehicle to me, and didn't know the correct settings, but did now. He let me off with a warning. Pretty awesome of him, considering that I almost got him runnt over.

We left Atlanta wide awake from that little burst of adrenaline, and continued to make our way south. At this point, the next leg of the journey needs it's own very long note. I'm going to upload my photos now and get back on later to finish it out... I need time to pull it all together.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.


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