As a scorching setting sun descended upon the masses at the Which Stage on Saturday (June 16), Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos dropped to his knees, sending the girls in the front row into hysterics — yes, the Beatlemania-like frenzy over the flirty Scottish foursome continues, even at Bonnaroo. Despite only courting two studio albums, the jaunty pop tresses of “The Dark of the Matinee,” “Take Me Out” and “You Could Have it So Much Better” remained infectiously sturdy, and guitarist Nick McCarthy and Kapranos’ wired-tight dual attack led to soaring cheers and pumping fits aplenty. Gina Gershon, Regina Spektor, and Jim Jarmusch, who congregated among girlfriends and family members backstage, also bopped a bit throughout Franz Ferdinand’s 75-minute set.
It began with a gong — Police sticksman Stewart Copeland manned Bonnaroo’s main stage at 9 P.M. sharp, setting off one of the evening’s most anticipated shows. Opening with “Message in a Bottle,” the revered reunited trio appeared comfortable from the start, pleasing nearly three generations of fans, and doing it flawlessly. Refreshed versions of “Walking on the Moon” and “Synchronicity” were equally clean and tight, but the fact the Police, a group of three strong-headed individuals who vowed never to regroup after their 1986 breakup, was on stage, in the middle of farmland Tennessee, was simply enough. Hands down my favorite gig at Bonnaroo. Say what you will about reunions. This one ruled. MACKENZIE WILSON