The Governor’s Ball Diary: Day 2
By: Connor Lenahan
In all honesty the Friday of Governor’s Ball was centered around three events.
I. Run The Jewels
II. Waiting for OutKast
Anyone else we saw during the day was extra. This was a day dedicated to Andre 3000, Big Boi, Killer Mike, and EL-P. It was also incredible.
With a more solid schedule set for Saturday, Matt Gronsky and I ventured back to Randall’s Island to continue our weekend.
With a swelteringly hot sun overhead Matt and I looked for any and all shade we could find. We arrived on the isle around 2:20. This left us an hour and a half before we would see our first scheduled act of the day: Chance the Rapper.
Matt had never heard anything by Chance. I am a fan of his Acid Rap mixtape. I started to explain what Chance’s vibe was all about without my iPod. This was an exercise in futility.
With Matt flying in blind and both of us getting charbroiled by the heavens, we waited a full 45 minutes under the Gotham Tent for Chance to come onstage.
When he finally did it was electric. He’s obviously an energetic artist – this much is true by listening to Acid Rap – but I didn’t think he’d be able to command the crowd like he did yesterday.
They (including me) were hanging on every word out of his mouth. With the shade reenergizing the batteries of everyone in the crowd he got everyone bouncing with hits like “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”
He was terrific. You can tell by watching him that he gives a damn about his show and the fans that come out. He gave them everything. He genuinely looked like he was about to pass out of exhaustion/dehydration towards the end of his set.
Thankfully he made it off safe. Before he departed he did give everyone in attendance a great gift. “I’m gonna play a song you’ve never heard but know every word to.”
A video had made it’s way around the internet last week of Chance playing the theme song to the kid’s show Arthur on stage at the Sasquatch festival.
Thankfully he gave the Governor’s Ball crowd the same treat that Sasquatch attendees received. It was a beautiful moment. The optimism behind Chance’s screams that “everyday it could be wonderful” were truly magic.
By the time he had finished he had set the tone for the day. Excellence only. No less
After Chance we made our way over to the lawn of the main festival stage. Coming on right as Chance was leaving were Broken Bells.
I think iTunes suggested “October” by Broken Bells to me a few years back and I’ve loved it since. It a beautiful, semi-dark song. It has an alt-rock/blues feel to it that is, for lack of a better term, music to my ears.
The rest of their set was terrific. It was a fun, relaxing set coming off of a long string of rap sets. I thought of it as a pallet cleanser that ended up being delightful.
When I was researching Gov Ball in January I noticed that there was a heavy emphasis placed on the food available at the show. It looked as though only the most promising, tasty delicacies in all of New York would be served to attendees.
When the final list came out for what munchies would be making their way into my tummy one name stood out.
The Nugget Spot.
A restaurant that specializes in gourmet chicken nuggets.
B. This is why we are the greatest country in the world.
C. I’d like infinity nuggets please.
Matt and I set forth on a quest to locate the fabled locale de nugget. Searching damn near all of Randall’s Island we finally stumbled upon our crispy salvation.
I ordered “The Gov Nug” – regular nuggets with BBQ. Matt had the “Cheese Louise” – cheddar cracker coated nuggets with ranch.
We devoured our nuggets with tears swelling in our eyes. It was nugget heaven. The nugget gods were kind to us on this evening.
We had planned our quest before we came to New York. It was our own Nuggetfest Destiny to find The Nugget Spot. It was worth the trip.
For those of you scoring at home, I just used the word “nugget” thirteen times. No regrets.
It was now time for the main event. Matt and I mutually agreed to skip the much publicized reunion of The Strokes to instead catch Childish Gambino’s set.
In reality, I would be excited for “Last Nite” and “Reptilia” and not know anything else by The Strokes. Instead I opted to see an artist that I actively love and got to meet back in March.
It was the right decision.
When I last saw Gambino he was coming off of a cold. He was incredible, yes, but you could easily tell that his energy was a bit down. Yesterday? He came on stage at 100%. He also came out “high on an edible” as he told the thousands of people gathered around the Honda Stage.
He was killing it up there. Songs from Because The Internet, Camp, mix tapes, and even features.
That’s right. The same day scheduling was prosperous for all those in attendance. When Gambino went to start up “Oakland” he was greeted by a stage manager whispering in his ear. “Chance is here?”
Commence freaking out.
My wish had been for months that Gambino and Chance would unite to play the incredible “Favorite Song” off of Acid Rap. This was a surprise to everyone. Literally everyone. Gambino had no idea Chance was coming on the stage. This became hilarious when the band realized that they did not have the instrumental to play “Favorite Song.” This is when my heart sank. Then it got incredible. The band jammed out the beat to “Favorite Song” and Chance and Gambino brought the house down rapping over it.
It was magic. A purely spontaneous moment of joy. Then Chance rapped his own verse over “The Worst Guys” before returning backstage.
This was fantastic. Gambino had mumbled something about an album but it wasn’t clear.
Then this came across my Twitter.
UMM. GUYS. YES.
The sun had long since faded when Jack White took the stage to end day two at Gov Ball. My hopes going into the show were that he would play a good chunk of hits from his solo career, his White Stripes career, and any other assorted gems he had created (See: “Steady as She Goes”).
Instead he played almost exclusively from his two solo albums, Blunderbuss and Lazaretto, the latter of which isn’t even available to purchase until June 10th. This was an odd strategy for a headlining set. OutKast hit upon all eras of their career the night before. I’d have much preferred to hear White do the same. At the same time, in fairness, OutKast doesn’t have a new album while White does. So it’s more than understandable.
Regardless, I still loved listening to White flex his chops on the guitar. The guy is a legend. He was on fire.
The highlight of White’s set was far and away “Seven Nation Army.” This is, and will forever be, one of the greatest composed tracks in music history. There are few to none more recognized ever. Think for a second; what songs are almost universally recognized?
The only two I can think of are “Happy Birthday” and “Seven Nation Army” thanks to the chorus.
So seeing one of the most incredible songs of all time performed by the genius who composed it was unbelievable.
And with that song’s fade out into the New York air, so did the second day of Governor’s Ball.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is a sophomore at Boston University, majoring in journalism.