M.I.A. Delivers High-Energy Bonnaroo Dance Party at "Last Show"

June 13, 2008 10:35 PM ET

No one really knew whether M.I.A. was going to show up for her Bonnaroo performance. Days before her set, the Sri Lankan MC announced that she was canceling her European tour due to exhaustion. But as soon as the dubby beat of "Bamboo Banga" kicked off, it was clear she didn't duck out of her commitment. "This is my last show," she shouted during her set. "And I'm glad that I'm spending it with all my hippies!" She may be exhausted from constant touring, but M.I.A. delivered a mind-blowing set of ass-shaking jungle-disco tonight, which included crowd favorites like "Bucky Done Gun," "Paper Planes," and "Galang." Her energy was boundless: wearing nothing more than a day-glo orange T-shirt and white-sequined hot pants, she prowled all over the stage, manned the DJ decks, sounded her air horn and climbed on top of the rattling stacks of speakers. The crowd was equally stoked: mid-way through, the tent erupted into an anarchic dance party, with sweaty fans climbing over the barriers to join her and the crew onstage for jams like horn-heavy bhangra groove "Boyz" and the Bollywood-funk number "Jimmy." The energy never waned, even when the kids were kicked off the stage. M.I.A. wrapped up the set with her controversial hit "Paper Planes." As the sounds of gunshot samples resounded through the tent, the crowd jubilantly pumped their fists to each shot. A strangely awesome moment — and one of the best so far of the festival.

Rolling Stone at Bonnaroo 2008

Bonnaroo 2008 in Photos

MGMT's Guide to Hippie Dances at Bonnaroo

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »