Lollapalooza… the one weekend out of the year when young music lovers roam the streets of Chicago in packs. It’s not hard to spot them. They look like bouncing crayons in all their colorful attire happily showing off their wrist bands to the world. And this last weekend I am proud to say that for the first time I was able to join these Lollapaloozers in 72 hours of pure bliss.
I woke up Friday, August 3rd with all the excitement of a child on Christmas morning. I immediately shot out of bed, got ready, and headed over to Grant Park to meet Rich Sandrok to pick up my 3 day pass. When he handed it to me I swear it was glowing. It was a wonderful sky blue with gold sparkly thread that spelled out “ALL ACCESS”. I had to rub my eyes because for a second I thought he handed me a 50 pound gold key that opened the door to my wildest dreams.
As we walked over to the entrance, I could hear music coming from all different directions. My heart was racing. I wanted to take off running, but the voice in my head saying, “Dude… deep breath,” acted as my invisible leash. It’s a good thing too because Rich gave me a tour of the park. He showed me where the stages were and all the places I was allowed to go. His quick rundown of things was a lifesaver… without it I would have been completely lost.
After Rich left I met up with two friends and from that point on the weekend went by in a flash. We started by going to see The White Panda at Perry’s stage and at that moment the presence of the Sun hit me. HOLY MOLY. It was like having your own personal fire breathing dragon following you around all day. How thoughtful of you Mother Nature. But it was going to take a lot more than that to stop me from having a good time!
Once The White Panda ended we headed over to see Dr. Dog and they were AWESOME. Definitely worth frying in the Sun for the hour they played. But after they finished, it was time for some much needed water and down time. We entered the Artist Lounge area and stayed there for a while. I even ran into Cory Lorentz and we sat down with him and his family for a bit.
Finally 5 o’clock rolled around and it was time to go see The Head & the Heart. I had been waiting all day to see them so I made sure to get there early and I was the first one to be on the side stage. They put on a phenomenal performance. The best part was that they were just a few feet away while they played. It was unreal. I got a great video of them playing “Down In The Valley”. No I take that back… it was great until I sat down to watch it. You see, I was unaware you could hear me singing (terrrribly) along with them. So there goes that.
THEN IT CAME. 8:30 p.m. What’s so special about this time you ask? Three words… The. Black. Keys. They played for an hour and a half and what a marvelous hour and a half it was. I had my arms in the air the entire time and didn’t stop belting out every word to their songs once. Yes, I was THAT person. When they played “Your Touch” I squeezed my friend’s arm so tight she had a bruise the next day. Whooops… But besides my bad singing and bruising my friend, the first day was a success. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face that night.
Day 2. The day Mother Nature successfully stopped people from ‘Paloozin for a good chunk of time. The park closed down from 3:30-6 p.m. because of severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning. My hopes of seeing Alabama Shakes were crushed by the 70 mph winds. But they were quickly raised back up because we showed up to the Red Bull Soundstage 2 hours before the Red Hot Chili Peppers went on and got PRIME spots for the show. I could see Anthony Kiedis and Flea perfectly. It was epic. When they played “Around The World” and “Can’t Stop” I’m almost 100% sure I transformed into a wildebeest because I went NUTS. And so did the crowd. I don’t think I’ve ever been tossed around so much in one night. By the time the concert was over my legs and shorts were coveredin mud, but it was completely worth it. There were only 2 ways the show could have been better… 1. If Anthony Kiedis still had long hair and 2. if it had rained while they were playing. Other than that it was a night for the books.
Sunday… the final day. First stop on my list was the Red Bull Soundstage to see Bombay Bicycle Club and of course, they didn’t disappoint. They started off playing “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” and from that point on I felt weightless (although my feet would disagree). The fact that I was on the side balcony looking down at them probably helped, but hey, it was still a glorious feeling. Once they exited the stage I mentally switched genres and hurried over to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. To say I was “blown away” by his performance would be an understatement. I was more “exploded away” if that makes any sense. He was like the Energizer Bunny never slowing down once. After we escaped the crowd, we made our way to see Little Dragon at Perry’s stage and they had the most colorful audience I had seen yet.
From 6:15-7:30 p.m. my ears were held hostage by the sound of Florence Welch’svoice. I had high expectations for Florence + The Machine and they exceeded them in every way. I’m convinced Florence has magical powers. She somehow controlled the wind so that her red and black dress flowed perfectly on stage. Now if I could only figure out how to look that graceful when walking through a wind storm…..
I ended up staying at the Bud Light stage to see Justice even though I planned on seeing Jack White. I was able to get a spot dead center in the very front row and I was not about to give it up. It turned out to be a good decision though because Justice put on an amazing show. It was one BIG party and a perfect way to end the weekend.
Sooo… only 354 days until Lollapalooza 2013, but who’s counting?