On Tuesday (February 19), in an apparent attempt to bring workplace productivity to a screeching halt (and give several underemployed standup comedians a reason to bathe), Bonnaroo decided to reveal its 2013 lineup not with a traditional press release, but a live-stream telethon thingy, a bizarre, occasionally funny broadcast hosted by “Weird Al” Yankovic and lit by the ghost of Fritz Lang.
Yes, the live stream — officially dubbed the “Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon” (or “BLAM” for maximum hashtaggery) — was certainly something, an outside-the-box experiment that was still a marked improvement over that time Bonnaroo decided to unveil its lineup via MySpace (mostly because it didn’t take seven hours). While the reveal wasn’t universally praised, there’s no denying that BLAM actually worked, as discussion of the broadcast (and the lineup) dominated Twitter throughout the day, and very nearly brought the Internet to its knees.
Of course, I was watching it all unfold, and not just because I love Bonnaroo (they let me borrow their helicopter one year). No, I was curious to see how this whole thing would pan out. And since I had nothing better to do, I kept a running diary of the first BLAM.
12:17 p.m. ET: I missed the first part of the live stream (where they showed highlights from previous Bonnaroos) to get lunch. I am a true professional. Anyway, when I finally tune in, Phish are playing “Possum,” which is an apt metaphor for how I plan to avoid actual work for the next two hours.
12:30 p.m.: Bon Iver is doing “Michicant.” I Michi-can’t with this dude.
12:41 p.m.: Metallica close their 2008 headlining set with “Seek and Destroy.” James Hetfield asks the crowd — and, I guess, me — “Did it feel good?” Perhaps sensing my snarky reply, the live stream craps out on my computer.
12:52 p.m.: I would imagine the only thing avowed Bruce Springsteen fanatics Jon Stewart and Chris Christie can agree on is the fact that “Outlaw Pete” is a pretty embarrassing song. They’re both right.
1:03 p.m.: BLAM officially begins, “Live from an undisclosed warehouse location.” Yankovic shows up onstage and promises to reveal “a metric buttload” of Bonnaroo performers over the next hour. Somewhere, a conspiracy nut blames the lack of U.S. measurements on Barack Obama.
1:06 p.m.: We meet our phone bank “volunteers” and “Bonnaroo’s head of social media, Kevin Zuckerberg” (see, ’cause he’s wearing a hoodie like Mark Zuckerberg). Comedy is attempted. Yankovic, quickly realizing this thing is going south, tosses to a webcam segment by sighing “Google+: That’s a thing, right?”
1:07 p.m.: One of the Google+ guests is named Paisley. Of course she is.
1:11 p.m.: Yankovic is vamping like there’s no tomorrow, and the lighting director is just taking cues from a Coltrane solo or something. It’s the space between the sets, man.
1:20 p.m.: Mumford & Sons are the first headliners revealed, via fan votes and a poster of Justin Bieber riding a unicorn (I’m not kidding). Presumably bound by contract, the Mumford boys mumble their way through a pre-taped comedy bit.
1:21 p.m.: We meet “Rupert the Bonnaroo Announce Piñata,” who poops out names of bands and is instantly the most likable character on this whole show.
1:23 p.m.: Portugal. The Man show up to perform “So American” with Yankovic on accordion. Apparently, they also got new members just for the live stream.
1:28 p.m.: Yankovic is talking, but we’ve got technical difficulties, and you can’t hear his voice (maybe the audio engineer fell asleep?). The live stream goes dark as folks scramble to right the wrongs. No truth to the rumors Yankovic attempted to escape through a bathroom window during the break.
1:36 p.m.: R. Kelly’s name is revealed after someone laps up a piece of pie. There’s probably a joke here.
1:40 p.m.: Paisley is back to announce that Paul McCartney will headline. Yankovic does some spoken-word bit about sharks and crocodiles. Jimmy Fallon shows up with a tent. I’ve had nightmares that began exactly the same way.
1:42 p.m.: Yankovic tries to beat the defecating piñata to death. Don’t be mad because you got upstaged by papier mâché, dude.
1:45 p.m.: Mercifully, things wrap up 15 minutes early as Yankovic announces he’s also performing at Bonnaroo then jams with Portugal. The Man on “Canadian Idiot.” Rupert the defecating piñata has sadly broken at this point and dangles lifelessly from the makeshift stage. I know the feeling. After all, I just watched this whole thing.
What do you think of the Bonnaroo lineup? Let us know in the comments below!