A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Sheryl Crow, Lil Nas X, Red Hot Chili Peppers shut down final day of BottleRock

Nick Vides
Lil Nas X performs his hit song “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” on the Verizon Stage at BottleRock Napa Valley on Sunday, May 28, 2023.

Rain didn’t stop the final day of BottleRock Napa Valley from getting loud as The Struts, Sheryl Crow, Lil Nas X, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Wu-Tang Clan closed out a packed day 3.

Hailing from Great Britain, The Struts got the party started on the JaM pad, opening up with their hit song “Body Talks” The Struts packed as much energy as a band could in their hour-long set, with songs like “Fire” and their new single, “Too Good at Raising Hell,” which frontman Luke Spiller hoped would be “the song of the summer” for the crowd. Spiller made full use of his charisma, with a smile that made fans think they were in on some inside joke and a look that met every audience members’ eyes simultaneously. He commanded crowd participation throughout the set and managed a scream “battle” between opposing sides of the stage. 

Sheryl Crow performs on the JaM Pad at BottleRock Napa Valley on Sunday, May 28, 2023. (Nick Vides)

After an adrenaline packed set by The Struts, it was time for Sheryl Crow to own the JaM Pad. The newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer kicked off her set with her top hit “All I Wanna Do” while the skies above started to drizzle. The light rain didn’t stop Crow from singing all her top hits from “Real Gone” to “Soak Up The Sun” and “If It Makes You Happy.” Crow’s set bridged the generational gap and had kids, teenagers and adults all singing and dancing.

The National performed a signature sad set on the JaM Pad, reminiscing over past regrets on a late Sunday afternoon. Frontman Matt Berninger interacted with the crowd throughout the hour-long set, inviting pats on his shoulder from the crowd during “Graceless” and taking multiple selfies with audience members in the front row.

Before Lil Nas X took over the Verizon Stage, The Wu-Tang Clan got the crowd going. Performing some of their greatest hits. From  “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” to “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’Wit” The large group of rappers got the entire crowd to jump and rap every line. The energy they created flowed right into the next set.

As the sun set, Lil Nas X took the Verizon stage by storm, flanked by a squad of scantily clad dancers. The audience roared along to “Montero (Call Me Be Your Name)” as he tore his way across the stage in a skimpy gold top and danced with a giant snake puppet. He set the crowd aflame with smashes like “That’s What I Want” and “Old Town Road”, complete with a horse on wheels. 

It wasn’t all bangers, though. He slowed it down with “Sun Goes Down”, a plaintive reflection on his turbulent teenage years. A few minutes later, he announced to the crowd’s delight, “It’s been a pretty clean show, but I’m sorry, we gotta shake some ass,” breaking into the raunchy, yet-to-be released “Down Souf Hoes”. He rounded out the show with an unbridled extended version of his smash “Industry Baby” to deafening cheers, the ground trembling from the crowd’s jumping.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played a clean, yet mellow set, considering the bands’ reputation for performing outrageous shows. The setlist felt like an introspective dive into some of the band’s deeper cuts most of the evening, with a few hit songs like “Soul to Squeeze” and “Californication” dispersed throughout. 

Fan fervor remained steadfast throughout the set, despite the lower energy. After they left the stage, deafening cheers from the crowd managed to bring The Red Hot Chili Peppers out for an encore with two of their biggest hits, “Under The Bridge” and “Give It Away,” which carried their sound into the 10:00 p.m. cut-off time. 

As the last artists wrapped up their sets, tens of thousands of people exited the concert grounds while sharing their thoughts on their favorite shows over street vender hot dogs to end the tenth straight BottleRock Napa Valley festival.

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About the Contributors
Michael Combs
Michael Combs, Editor
Michael Combs (he/him) is in his fifth semester writing for The Oak Leaf, and his second as co-Editor-In-Chief. He began taking natural resources management classes at Santa Rosa Junior College to pursue his love of nature and the environment but has shifted toward journalism so he can share those passions with the world. Besides the environment, Michael also likes to write about politics, social justice and mental health. He has a bachelor’s of science in neuroscience and mammalian physiology from the University of California, San Diego, and hopes to get back to his roots with more science journalism as well. In his off time Michael likes to read, write and hike as often as possible in beautiful Sonoma County and beyond.
Nick Vides
Nick Vides, Photo-Editor
Nicholas “Nick” Vides (he/him) Is a seasoned breaking news reporter dedicated to making sure every shutter click of his camera captures a moment worth sharing. Nick's itch for chasing fires has kept him busy over the past seven years, covering every major fire event in Northern California from the Paradise Fire to the Caldor Fire. Nick currently splits his time as a photojournalist with The Oak Leaf and as a Contract Photographer with The Press Democrat. He has more than nine years of experience with photography, has been director of photography for multiple short films with the SRJC Media Arts Center, directed numerous student-led broadcasts with his Media 19 class, and interned for The Sarah and Vinnie Show on Alice 97.3. In the little free time left, he works for Highway 12 Winery in Sonoma, California as a Cellar Hand.  
Sean Young
Sean Young, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sean Young (he/him) is in his ninth semester at SRJC and third semester at The Oak Leaf. He plans on finishing an associate degree in communications and journalism this spring. Sean lives in Sebastopol and spends his free time listening to his vinyl record collection, practicing bass guitar and writing for The Oak Leaf. He hopes to continue to a 4-year college after graduating from SRJC to work towards a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism.

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