Reclusive D'Angelo surprises fans at Bonnaroo

Charles Bradley performs during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., Saturday, June 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Dave Martin
Charles Bradley performs during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., June 9, 2012
AP Photo/Dave Martin

(CBS/AP) MANCHESTER, Tenn. - Reclusive R&B singer D'Angelo made his first live U.S. appearance in 12 years at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival early Sunday morning, surprising a few thousand fans during Amir "Questlove" Thompson's Superjam session.

The Sunday morning surprise followed a Saturday of soul at the festival, highlighted by a 60-minute set from singer Charles Bradley, "the original screaming eagle of soul."

This was D'Angelo's first U.S. show since 2000 and a prelude to an appearance at July's Essence Music Festival and a European tour with many of the same players who backed him Sunday morning. D'Angelo, the 38-year-old singer-songwriter whose real name is Michael Eugene Archer, played live in Europe earlier this year.

"I've been waiting 12 years to say this ladies and gentlemen, D'Angelo!," Thompson said as the crowd roared.

D'Angelo and his all-star band powered through a 90-minute jam session that featured no new music but included Jimi Hendrix's "Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland," Parliament Funkadelic's "Funky Dollar Bill," Led Zeppelin's "What is and What Should Never Be" and The Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window."

Dressed in a black tank top and jeans with a black and white bandanna wrapped around his dreadlocks, D'Angelo was visibly reserved at the start of the set. But he warmed up, kicking into high gear during the Zeppelin portion of the show.

Switching between keyboards and his guitar, D'Angelo's only verbal interaction with the crowd came near the end of the night when he shouted: 'Do y'all want us to go home yet?"

On Saturday, Bradley's upbeat act on the main stage featured a costume change, James Brown-style moves and pelvic gyrations, all topped off by a trip into the crowd to shake hands with as many people he could.

After his six-piece hipster band got the crowd warmed up with a couple of instrumental numbers, Bradley, who claims he was inspired when his sister took him to see a performance by James Brown at the Apollo Theater, sprinted on stage in a white suit with bedazzled lapels.

Midway through his set he jogged off the massive stage and made the 100-yard run down a ramp and to his trailer for a quick change into gold pants and a black shirt open all the way to an eye-catching dragon's head belt buckle. He was back on stage by the end of his band's instrumental number, visibly winded but ready for more as he launched into an unexpected cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold."

Other soul acts on the bill were Bradley's Daptone labelmate Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Sweden's Little Dragon and News Orleans' The Soul Rebels.