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- Posted on Jun 12th 2010 11:30PM by Benjy Eisen
"Here's what I'm gonna do," Wonder told the crowd. "This is gonna be called the Stevie Wonder class of voices. It's the Wonder school. Therefore I'm gonna be your teacher. You in?"
Everybody was in, all right, but truth be told it was more like church than school -- except, perhaps, for all the bands and musicians in the audience who, hopefully, were taking notes. The set had many transcendent moments, obviously during hits like 'Superstitious' and 'Higher Ground,' but also in the moments in between.
Before the set, Wonder's backup singers told Spinner that he changes it up at every show and plays "whatever he's in the mood for."
Well, at Bonnaroo he was in the mood for love and funk. During short jams out of songs such as Marvin Gaye's 'Heard it Through the Grapevine' and Parliament's 'We Want the Funk,' Wonder would call out changes to his band ("Go to E! Now F!") while commanding the audience to sing along. Of course, he needed no prodding there. 'Signed Sealed and Delivered' suddenly had a chorus 70,000-strong.
Bonnaroo, of course, built its foundation on jam bands from all genres, but fans still seemed pleasantly surprised when he connected with the audience like this, honoring the spirit of the fest.
But Wonder also came to Bonnaroo with a message. In short: peace, love and music. That's one message that the Bonnaroo crowd is certainly down with.
During the final number, 'Time for Love.' Wonder let it all hang out. "What if 2012 really is it?" he spoke-sang. "The time for love is now ... Supremacists are unacceptable. We must stand together united as the United States of America! If you agree with me say 'Yeah!'"
He didn't stop there: "I want to dedicate this show to all the soldiers who have died to keep us free and also to all the young men who have died on the streets with guns and violence -- it's unacceptable. If you agree with me say 'Yeah!' We must care about our environment -- if you agree with me say 'Yeah!'
Guess what happened next? Yep, everyone said 'Yeah!' Especially when Wonder added, right before exiting the stage, "I'm gonna be watching Jay-Z, too -- say 'Yeah!'" Yeah!