After a night of almost no sleep due to the excitement of going to Chicago for Lollapalooza again, I hopped on board my Southwest flight from Boston (sidenote: I will probably avoid flying on Southwest in the future if I can help it, no TV’s, the pudgy guy next to me hogged the armrest, and I only like to surround myself with beautiful people, none of which were sitting near me), and touched down a couple hours later in Chicago. On to the orange line and straight to the Hard Rock Hotel to drop off my stuff, then down to the show.
I arrive at Grant Park, schedule in hand (and Android app on the phone, which was pretty handy) and try to get my bearings since the layout changed this year. A little bummed that I got there too late to see Foxy Shazam and Wavves two bands that I really want to see at some point. Must book an earlier flight next year.
The first stage I see is the Budweiser stage, where Mavis Staples was playing and Jeff Tweedy was making a cameo. I watch them do a song, then head off to check out the rest of the park. I grabbed the first of many Sweet Leaf iced teas to be had throughout the weekend, which I still have an addiction to, and make my way to the Sony Bloggie stage to see American Bang. This stage would quickly become the bane of my Lollapalooza weekend.
Next up was the Parkways Foundation stage where Raphael Saadiq, (was he Tony! or Toni! or Toné!) was on. I watched him for a bit, recognized one song, then went back to walking around the park. Next, was the BMI stage for Semi Precious Weapons for a couple of songs, where I found out later that Lady Gaga was crowd surfing.
Eventually ended up back at the Bloggie stage for Cymbals Eat Guitars, who are one of those bands that I always wanted to see, but never did for one reason or another. Here is the problem I had with this stage, unless you are up front, it was near impossible to have a good view of any of the bands. Besides the people camped out on blankets everywhere, the trees and odd layout made it tough. This kind of sucked because there were a lot of bands over the weekend that I had hoped to see on this stage.
From there, it was back to one of the main stages to see Devo, who still sounded great. A few people in the decent sized crowd even had the plastic flowerpot Devo hats…now those are diehard fans!
I stayed in this area of the park to see some of Matt and Kim on the opposite stage. In the 4 times that I’ve seen them live, it has always been a fun, energetic show that everybody really gets into! The two of them were dwarfed by the size of the stage as well as the crowd that had gathered. Halfway through their set, I was off to see the Dirty Projectors, who were on at the same time.
Next up was The Black Keys, a band I only recently started getting into. The crowd was huge and it was impossible to get anywhere near the stage. The band itself sounded good from where I was at but the overall sound was really low, a complaint I also heard from others around me.
Back to the other side of the park for Chromeo, where a large amount of people had gathered, which I assume was there to stake out their spots for Lady Gaga. They did get a lot of people dancing which is no surprise with their catchy songs, but I still prefer to see Chromeo in a more intimate venue.
Lady Gaga was up next. Let me start off by saying that I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga, as catchy as her songs may be (I believe this is referred to by experts as “Fall Out Boy” syndrome, crappy band but damn catchy songs that you can’t help sing along to when you’re in the car). This was by far the biggest crowd for any act playing this weekend! She started by singing the first song behind a large curtain, causing some people around me to wonder what the hell? Eventually the curtain disappeared and people went nuts!
There was a pretty elaborate stage setup that dwarfed everyone dancing around up there. She played for well over 2 hours…well, actually, she ranted about not being accepted when she was a teenager and I lost count of how many screams of “Chicaaaaaaagggoooo!!” and “Lolllapaloooooozzzzaaa!!” and something about monsters and broken cars there were, so the actual time of music being played may have been closer to about 45 minutes.
All the hits were played and I realized that I know more of her songs than I probably should. One of the dancers looked way too much like Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia when he’s playing the Nightman. She ended by bringing out some giant puppet monster thing onstage.
Off to find some late dinner and rest up for day 2!