Ticketmaster must die!!

During my stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, I was given two room keys, which also double as $25 gift cards to the Ticketmaster owned TicketsNow scalping service. I saw that Friendly Fires is coming to Boston in November, so what the heck, I’ll order a couple of tickets, use this card, save a little cash that could be used for beers, and be done with it. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It was not to be.

You see, TicketsNow is own by Ticketmaster as a kind of legal way for them to scalp tickets at an extremely inflated price. I don’t know why it’s legal for them to do this but for some reason, it is. The image below shows the regular $15 + $5 fee (there’s a whole other topic) x 2. $40, no big deal to see a band I like.

LiveNation regular price for Friendly Fires tickets
LiveNation regular price for Friendly Fires tickets

Now, here is where I hoped to save $25 with the gift card that will as of now, never be used:

This is the overpriced TicketsNow version
This is the overpriced TicketsNow version

Pretty unbelievable huh?

A similar thing happened recently when tickets for Andrew McMahon went on sale at 10am for a show in Somerville and by 10:01, it was sold out yet tons of tickets appeared on StubHub immediately (which is another one of these “legal” scalping services). Tickets for this show were going for 2-3 times the original price. It’s really sad because this show benefits the Somerville Arts at the Armory which ironically, helps out artists.

Bruce Springsteen fans have also been burned by this practice. More info here.

How can these companies go on ripping off their customers like that and think nothing of it? Wasn’t Congress looking into this at one point? Why didn’t Pearl Jam keep up their fight?? I miss the days of standing in line for tickets that only had a 1-2 dollar fee associated with it. Earlier this year, I attempted to get tickets for the Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction tour. I don’t recall the exact price but the fees were close to 40% of the ticket price. Needless to say, I did not go.

This practice needs to stop! Someone needs to step forward, stand up to these giant corporations, and create some kind of viable alternative that does not rip off the customer. In the meantime, if the bogus fees are over a certain percentage of the ticket price, they will definitely lose my money.

Pavement are reuniting for a 2010 tour!!!

Oh yes, it’s true! Influential 90’s indie rockers Pavement are reuniting for a world tour in 2010. Presale tickets for the first announced date on Sept. 21st, 2010 (my god, that’s a long ways away!!), go on sale tomorrow Sept. 18th 2009, with general public tickets on the 25th. Perhaps a road trip to New York is in order. Even Kanye West has to agree…oh wait, he still thinks Beyonce is the best? Damn!

I’m hoping they play here in the Boston area, or at the very least, headline Lollapalooza 2010, since I will already be there. A boy can hope…right?

Lollapalooza 2009 – Day 3

Friendly Fires - Day 3

Friendly Fires

It was already hot and sticky by 9:30 am when I left the Hard Rock to go find some much needed breakfast. After wandering a different part of the city for a bit and working up quite a sweat (and stopped to take my 10th shower of the weekend), I arrived for day 3 of Lollapalooza just in time to catch the last couple of songs of Friendly Fires set after getting my stages mixed up.

Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes

From there I went over to the Vitamin Water stage to see Bat For Lashes, who put on an amazing show. It’s always more fun when you can tell that the artist really enjoys what they are doing and genuinely has fun performing. Natasha Kahn probably summed it up best when she said that it was hard to sing in the hot, dirty air.

I just kind of wandered around, grabbed my 3rd slice of Chicago deep dish pizza of the weekend along with the countless bottle of Sweet Leaf iced tea that I may have developed an addiction to.

I came across this in my travels to the south stages, which was the best thing ever!! It basically simulated rain and cooled you off:

Heat relief

Finally! Heat relief!!
Gang Gang Dance

Gang Gang Dance

I ended up at the Citi stage for Gang Gang Dance, who I couldn’t tell if their whole set consisted of one really really long song or if they just kept going into other songs without stopping.

The big drum thing was cool though. Hippies seemed to like them but to be honest, I was a bit bored, but stuck around as I finally met up, after trying all weekend, with someone that replied to my Craigslist posting to hang out at the show as I was doing this whole weekend solo.

It was hot!

This guy pretty much sums up the 95 degree heat for the day.

After they were done, we parted ways and I went down to watch Vampire Weekend for a little bit. They were pretty much what I expected and sounded the same as on their CD.

From here it was off to the Citi stage see a band from my current hometown of Boston, Passion Pit. I really expected more from them, but every song sounded exactly the same.

Passion Pit

Passion Pit

They drew a huge crowd to the slightly smaller stage though. I grabbed yet another Sweet Leaf iced tea and walked across the field to watch Cold War Kids from a very far distance. The crowd over here was huge and there was no way in hell I was going to try to squeeze through it, so I chilled out on the stairs for a while! I’m thinking that the large crowd was due to the fact that Snoop Dogg was going on next at the stage across from this one. Once it got closer to 6:30, I made my way down to the Chicago 2016 stage to catch his set.

A quick aside…there was this bare area of dirt down there that felt like someone had turned on an air conditioner. It was a few minutes of heaven on an extremely hot day. I’m sure there is a scientific reason for this strange little phenomenon, but I’ll take it without questioning it (my bet is the lack of people in this one spot so the air could actually flow).

I sat on one of the smaller hills until Snoop came out, then went down towards the left side of the stage for a better view. It was pretty repetitive with lots of “wave your hands in the air” and “come on Illi-NOISSSSE!”.


Snoop Dogg working the crowd.

The crowd was massive for Snoop Dogg!

He had a pretty funky microphone all blinged out. This was probably one of the largest crowds at any of the stages I had seen so far this weekend.

I took a quick walk to the other side of the park, catching some of Deer Hunter, before moving on to the Budweiser stage to see a bit of Lou Reed for no other reason than to see him. This didn’t work out too well as it was kind of hard to get through the crowd over there, and I couldn’t get into whatever song he was playing. Back to the south side.

Made a quick stop at Perry’s tent to see a bit of MSTRKRFT, who were awesome, but I really wanted to get back in time to see Silversun Pickups, who were one of the bands I had really looked forward to seeing.

Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups were amazing!

This was my first time seeing Silversun Pickups live and they did not disappoint. They played as the sun was setting, which made for a nice ambience.  This ranked as one of the best sets I saw all weekend.

Since I’m not a fan of The Killers (thanks Dane Cook for having Hot Fuss played on repeat for about 3 hours straight when you did your HBO taping at the Boston Garden before you came on stage!), I started to go over to the Budweiser stage for Jane’s Addiction, but Band of Horses were still playing on the Playstation stage. This stage is directly across from the Budweiser stage, which means that 2 bands should not be playing at the same time but that’s exactly what happened.

Guy climbing pole

Band of Horses makes people climb poles.

The apparently self important Band of Horses, who must think they are soo much better than Jane’s Addiction, continued to play even as Jane’s took the stage, played a song I could not hear, then went into Mountain Song, which I only knew because of the bass line but nobody could really hear because the asses on the Playstation stage kept playing. Then they played another song. Then another. The crowd around me began to yell for them to stop playing so we could hear Perry and the rest of Jane’s!

Finally… Band of Horses stopped and we could hear Jane’s Addiction who were absolutely amazing!

I left a little early to try and beat the crowds out of there, plus I had to be up by 5am for an early flight back to Boston but only ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep on what had to be the most comfortable bed ever created:

Most comfortable bed ever!

Most comfortable bed ever!

I got up and tried to figure out how to fit everything back into the suitcase, then was off to find the blue line back to O’hare, which I failed at. A stop into Cosi to ask for directions, pointed me to where I needed to go and I was on my way to the airport.

I was sad to leave the festival and Chicago, for that matter. Overall, I had an amazing albeit fast 4 days and will have to return very soon just to do some sightseeing. Thank you to everyone at Lollapalooza, the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, Jetblue, for making my first trip to Chicago awesome! I will most definitely be back in 48 weeks! See you then, Chicago! Stay classy!

Lollapalooza 2009 – Day 2

After a couple hours of sleep because I was still wicked excited to be here, a free breakfast buffet in the China Grill attached to the Hard Rock, and a really good iced mocha from Caribou Coffee, explored the city for a while, and took my 4th shower of the weekend, due to the heat. The temperature is expected to be around 95 today, but I am ready to take on Lollapalooza day 2! Let me preface this with the fact that there were no bands I was interested in seeing until later in the day, so I arrived at the north gate only to find it closed (wtf? seriously, they promoted this gate being open heavily yet the only time I saw it open after the first day, was on the last night while Jane’s Addiction was playing. This was one of  the reasons I didn’t spend much time at the North side of the park), so I ended up missing Los Campesinos but saw a little bit of Gomez:

Lollpalaooza 2009 Day 2 - Gomez
Lollpalaooza 2009 Day 2 – Gomez

I made my way over to the Chicago 2016 stage to see Coheed and Cambria, a band I have seen 4 times prior. They started out with No World for Tomorrow:

After some audio troubles in which no one could hear Claudio Sanchez’s vocals (see the beginning of the video above), things got straightened out and Coheed rocked their set! I was happy to hear them play A Favor House Atlantic. I couldn’t stop staring at  the lady signing the lyrics though. She was really into it.

From here, it was off to the Citi stage to see No Age:

Lollapalooza 2009 - Day 2 - No Age - 2
No Age on day 2 of Lollapalooza 2009

I had high expectations for No Age but was pretty disappointed. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact that Randy Randall had dislocated his shoulder the day before or what, but I expected a much better set. I had thoroughly enjoyed the Nouns CD.

I got kind of bored and had the attention span of a kitten, so I attempted to make my way to the Budweiser stage to see TV on the Radio, but got sidetracked while passing by Perry’s tent where Hercules and Love Affair was doing a DJ set.

Hecules and Love Affair DJ set
Hecules and Love Affair DJ set
Hecules and Love Affair DJ set2
Hecules and Love Affair DJ set at Perry’s tent
Hecules and Love Affair DJ set at Lollapalooza 2009
Hecules and Love Affair DJ set at Lollapalooza 2009

It was soo hot and near impossible to get to the Budweiser stage that I turned around and went back to see the end of Glasvegas’s set, another band I couldn’t really get into. As soon as they ended, Rise Against started at the Chicago 2016 stage and I made my way to the side.

Easily one of the best bands I saw all weekend! I had never gotten the chance to see Rise Against live before, but will definitely go see them the next time they play in Boston.

The hardest part about Lollapalooza is trying to see everything at once. I really wanted to see Lykke Li, so I left Rise Against, but a much needed bathroom break was needed before going  back to the Citi stage. I’ve really got to hand it to whoever was in charge of the port-a-pottys there. First class all the  way *clap clap clap*. They were really on the ball with these and you couldn’t smell the sewage on the field at all!

On day 2, the toilets were a little full.
On day 2, the toilets were a little full.

There were girls standing in front of the toilets wondering what to do. This was by no means the only one that was filled.


Lykke Li – Lollapalooza 2009

Lykke Li also surprised me with how good she was live! A lot dancier than I expected and the crowd was really into it.

From there, I moved over to the Vitamin Water stage to see Animal Collective. This is another band that is always hyped up (someone please feel free to explain to me why?) and in my opinion, just very boring. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. So, I walked around the park for a while as that was infinitely more interesting than Animal Collective were.

I made my way back to the Chicago 2016 stage for Tool, who I saw once, years ago. The crowd was soo massive and it was impossible to get anywhere near the stage. They started out with Jambi and went into Stinkfist. This short clip of Stinkfist shows the closest I could get:

At this point, I decided to try and see the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s set. It’s hard to try to see everything at once in a park that is about a mile long, end to end. I got about halfway there, stopped by Perry’s tent to see a little bit of Bassnectar, then attempted to fight through the crowd to Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. It was just as packed on this side of the park and there was no way I was getting in there.

I figured that I would just go back to the Hard Rock, shower, change into some decent clothes and beat the crowds down to the Base Bar. So, the rest of the night was spent sipping on their signature Lake Shore Drive drink which consisted of vodka, cucumber, honeydew melon, lime, a splash of soda, listening to some cool DJ’s, and getting one hell of a nice buzz!

Off to rest up for day 3!

Lollapalooza 2009 – Day 1

Lollapalooza 2009 Souvenir Ticket
Lollapalooza 2009 Souvenir Ticket

This entry was begun while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago for Lollapalooza 2009. It is 1 am local time. I have been up since 4:30am in order to catch my very bumpy flight to get here this morning. But enough of that, on to the reason I’m here in the first place!

It began to rain as soon as my plane landed and continued throughout the day. I made my way down to Grant Park, grabbed a $5 can of Bud light, and went from stage to stage to see who was playing.

The first band I saw while coming through the gates was White Lies.

White Lies

(White Lies)

I didn’t really stick around long to watch them. It was time to see what else was going on, so I headed off to the south side of the park where The Gaslight Anthem was playing.

I went back to the Playstation stage to see Bon Iver’s set.


(I swear, they are in the background somewhere)

By the time I got there, it was just about over and the rain was really coming down. Rather than risk getting sick for the rest of the weekend (and missing Ben Folds in the process), I decided to go back to the hotel and dry off. I’m pretty sure a Sham Wow would have come in handy right about now.

At this point, it was raining pretty hard and I was getting soaked, so instead of risking getting sick for the rest of the weekend, I went back to the Hard Rock to dry off and take a much needed nap. Due to this, I missed a lot of bands I was looking forward to seeing, but did find a pretty nifty backpack outside my door filled with all kinds of goodies including CD’s, t-shirts, Fuze beverage, some coffee, and condoms. Score!!

I went back down to the show around 7pm to try and catch Peter, Bjorn, and John which sadly, I missed. I was able to see Depeche Mode though:

DepecheMode1 - LollapaloozaDepecheMode3-LollapaloozaDepecheMode2-Lollapalooza

Depeche Mode were soo much better than I expected them to be live. I was really blown away. Hearing some of the classics was definitely a highlight. I skipped Kings of Leon on my way out because, well, they just suck, are overplayed, and shouldn’t have been at Lollapalooza.

On the way back to the hotel, I came across this:

Now, I realize this is public art and all that, but damn…that’s some scary stuff!

Anyway, watch for day 2 of my much better Lollapalooza coverage this week!