Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: Lollapalooza Day 3

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lollapalooza Day 3

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Day 3. I arrived at the park by 12:30 and went directly to the Media Area and had a few beers while listening to Ra Ra Riot from where I was seated. I was lucky enough to be-friend this woman who was at Lolla with her husband. Her husband was a professional photographer who had been photographing rock stars since the 80s. She would help her husband by purchasing teeny-bopper magazines and educating her husband on who all the "rock stars" were. Lucky for me, she pointed out that The Airborne Toxic Event was standing right behind me. Though I love this band, I had no idea what they looked like. I stopped caring about what the bands I like LOOK like when I got to an age where I didn't feel comfortable fantasizing about having sex with them anymore. I mean, I am likely a decade older than these guys. But...I was able to get some pictures before and after they went on stage.

Noah Harmon
Mikel Jollett
Leyla with The Airborne Toxic Event

I hung out in the Media Area until about 2:00 PM and then headed down to the Chicago 2016 stage where The Airborne Toxic Event was playing. TATE came on stage right at 2:30, in the sweltering heat, all dressed in black. The bass player, Noah Harmon, completely stood out, he sang back up on a few songs, he was sexy and synched with violin player well.

Noah Harmon on stage

The Airborne Toxic Event played a full hour set, mostly from their self titled album, with a few new songs peppered in there. The crowd was filled with younger kids in their late teens - and me. While waiting for the band to start, I was speaking with a teen-aged couple, when I revlealed that I was 37 they were in complete disbelief. The kids said, "I thought you were like 22." My head grew a little inflated until I realized that they were so young that 22 seemed really old to them. It was not that I looked that young, but the thought of anyone being OVER the age of 22 was absurd to them.

The crowd went wild during TATE's big song "Gasoline" and then again when they played "Sometime Around Midnight". The band also dedicated a song to William Garvey, the man who wrote the song "Goodbye Horses" who passed away last week. It was a heart felt dedication. The Airborne Toxic Event seemed eternally grateful for being on the stage at Lolla. It was one of those music festival experiences where you enjoy watching the band play because they are truly enjoying the experience as much as you are as an audience member. The band finished really strong, the whole band was up in front of the stage playing their instruments intensely.

The Airborne Toxic Event

I met up with Dave from Bullz-Eye after The Airborne Toxic Event. He had gone off to see Kaiser Chiefs who played at the same time as TATE. We met back at Perry's Stage where The Hood Internet was spinning (DJs). We hung out for a while, had some water, took some pictures of the kids in the audience and headed out. He was going to head over to see Neko Case and I decided to see Vampire Weekend since Neko Case plays in Chicago quite often.

Vampire Weekend was the biggest let down of the weekend for me. The lead singer came out in yellow shorts and a plaid shirt, made for an interesting combo. Their music is very light, airy and melodic but nothing with any punch or kick. "I Stand Corrected" was played very well. The lead singer seemed to hit all of the high points of the song well, sang it flawlessly. At this point in the day, the crowd was dense, it was a sea of people. The band applauded the crowd for their stamina and for withstanding the rain, the heat and humidity just before they played "Blakes Got a New Face". Most people where I was standing seemed as if they were just hanging out versus there to see the band. The band dedicated a song to John Hughes which was in line with the rest of the predictable undertones of their performance. Overall, I found Vampire Weekend to be sort of lollipop, happy, easy music to listen to but they just didn't rock enough for me. Kinda vanilla.

After a half hour of Vampire Weekend, I headed back to the Media Tent. I was talking about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Saturday night performance with some people in the Spin magazine tent where refreshments were served. I was giving my two cents about Karen O and how she reminded me of PJ Harvey, when I received an unsolicited, high five in agreement from Noah Harmon, the adorable bass player from The Airborne Toxic Event. That was a pretty awesome moment for me.

Snoop Dogg was someone I really wanted to see, but at this point, I was SPENT! I headed down to the Chicago 2016 tent later than I wanted but I made it down there nonetheless. Snoop Dogg had the biggest crowd, you simply cannot fathom the sprawling crowd. It was as if the WHOLE PARK was there to see Snoop. I fought my way through the crowd and made my way about 50 yards from the stage.
Snoop Dogg Lollapalooza 09

When Snoop Dogg got on stage it was like a lightening bolt of energy, the crowd went m-e-n-t-a-l for Snoop. Everybody just lost it. What an entertainer. Way to captivate nearly 100,000 people! It was totally unbelievable. Maybe the only true rap "rock" star. He moved that audience into a cohesive unit. We all swayed and chanted and professed our marijiana smoking publicly per his asking, many displayed it proudly. He started with earlier songs, his hits. Then went into a newer song he sang with Akon "I Want To Fuck You". He then challenged the audience regarding their Snoop knowledge asking who had his first album and went into a song from '94. Snoop also asked the audience who was "with" his friend Tupac but the mostly white audience just did not pick up on what he was referring to and didn't get it.

The Kid Behind Me at Snoop
Kid at Snoop Dog

I also really wanted to see Lou Reed so I left Snoop early. Then I ran, I sprinted, I hip-checked 15 year olds out of my way to make it through the crowd. I made it from the front of the Chicago 2016 stage (on the south end of the park) where Snoop Dogg was playing to the first row of Lou Reed at the Budweiser stage. And...I stopped for beer. Everyone in the media tent said I could never make it to both Snoop Dogg and Lou Reed but I did it! This is where being a recreational runner came in handy.

The Lou Reed crowd was more pleasant than any other crowd that weekend. When fellow audience members saw my MEDIA wristband, they welcomed me. They really felt strongly about Lou and they wanted Lou Reed to enjoy the same media coverage that his much younger cohorts were receiving.

Lou Reed at Lolla

I inched my way to the front of the Budweiser stage when Lou was singing "Music Machine". Then I caught "Waiting for the Man" which he did in somewhat of a dance beat. The crowd adored it! It went on for what seemed a peaceful and much welcomed eternity. I realize that Lou Reed went over by 20 minutes (which is a huge "no no" when you're on a tight schedule) but the last moments of Lou's set lended something both beautiful and meaningful to the event. People of all ages were able to enjoy this melodic ending to his set. In my opinion, nothing else I witnessed at Lolla struck this chord. It was like a retreat to a time where you just loved a band and you were there to hear the music and less about the frat boys and commercialized hoopla.

The Crowd at Lou Reed


Various audience members pointed out to me was that Lou Reed made a few of his songs more "politically correct". He cleaned up his performance by saying "Waiting for MY man" vs "Waiting THE man". And in the song "Walk on the Wild Side" he said "the girls dance" vs. "the colored girls dance".

After waiting over an hour in the heat smashed up against Scott from Wisconsin, the father-son duo who had been standing at the Bud stage all day, and the chubby 19 year old who was still mad at me for pushing my way up front - finally a curtain dropped and I watched Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins show all the other tiny-baby rockstars from that weekend how it is done.

In an instant, we heard the sounds of helicopters overhead. The lights from the helicopters illuminated the stage. The crowd is confused and thrilled, literally people are losing their minds with excitement, and then you hear the bass line for "Mountain Song." The crowd is overwhelmed, the place is now up for grabs. At that moment, I felt as if I was 17 again.

Jane's Addiction Stage

Perry Farrell was in a gold suit, the jacket had tails and he, of course, was not wearing a shirt. His chest and abs are perfectly enviable. Dave Navarro was wearing his "go to" look: black hat, black leather pants and no shirt. Dave smoked multiple cigarettes throughout the performance, adding even more allure to his already seductive, androgynous persona. It felt so good to see Dave and Perry on stage together. Like peanutbutter and chocolate!

Mr. Perry Farrell

Perry took multiple opportunities to speak to the audience, at one point he says "We heard you guys got naked yesterday... We love whores, we love Chicago..." Then breaks into "Been Caught Stealing". Perry asks Dave "How do you look so fucking sexy...C'mon I want to know" then they explode into "Ocean Size"! Just before they started "Whores" Perry Farrell says, "I'm a married man, but if I wasn't, I'd fuck everybody." Very apropos.

Perrys wife

They leave the stage, it is unclear if there is going to be an encore, and then from backstage you hear Perry say "You better fucking cheer or I'm not coming out!" Which makes the crowd go wild, they come back out and play "Summertime Rolls" as an encore. Perry then introduced the band and introduced himself last as "Your Humble Servant." Talk about a guy who creates his own reality.

For the last song of their encore, Perry makes an introduction, it is a bit confusing, he talks about a friend who recently hurt himself and that this other person is here with whom he shares a name - but we're not really too sure what is going on. And then..Oh My God! Joe Perry from Aerosmith is on stage! For me this was crazy because I absolutely LOVE Joe Perry. It was like a Rock God moment. The final song of the night was "Jane Says" and the whole band came up front to play the song.

Navarro Perry

Jane's Addiction

"Jane Says" comes to a close and Perry has two proposals to make. He invites someone on stage and this man purposes to his girlfriend on stage. Next, Perry's wife and kids, friends, etc. come up onto stage. They open a bottle rose Champagne and drink with friends and wives on stage. This is when Perry makes his second proposal. He thanks Chicago, his second home, and asks the people of the City of Chicago to assist in bringing the 2016 Olympics. He closes the night by telling everyone to "Have children and raise them as you lived." He insisted that everyone "Go out, stay up all night and live to tell about it." And then it was over.

My three day extravaganza was over but I still had one more concert - I scored a ticket to see Them Crooked Vultures at The Metro. I sprinted home, rinsed off, put on a dress and made it to the Metro by 11pm. It was a long weekend but I am so glad I was able to be a part of it.

Related Posts: Lollapalooza Day 1 Lollapalooza Day 2


Lee Jarvis said...

Fantastic Photos, Leyla! I had an amazing time all weekend, rain or shine, and got to see many acts I've never seen before. Thanks for filling me in on some that I missed - there was just so much to see!

Lee J.

leyla said...

Thanks Lee! Me too. I had a blast, it was such a good time. I can't wait for next year!