First and foremost...hehehe...69.
Secondly, you probably noticed how I cheated and didn't really do any entries for a whole week. I know I promised 101 days but it is really hard. And this last week I got sick. Plus I was saving my energy for this monstrous weekend. But here are a few details. On Sunday I went to see Neil Diamond...probably the thing I feel the worst about not blogging about. Maybe I will do a review of that after Lollapalooza is over. On Monday one of my students blew snot literally in my eyes. On Tuesday I got sick (surprise, surprise.) On Wednesday I left work early and I'm pretty sure I had a fever but I was too scared to take my temperature because I didn't want to know. On Thursday I felt better and in the evening I went to Navy Pier with Krissy and Paul and Carin and it was beautiful outside. And that brings up today...
I woke up at 7 AM because I was SOOOO excited. And then I was bored. So I talked to Erica on the MSN Messenger. She is an instant cure for boredom. And my blogs "get her going" apparently. I had previously thought them to be average at best.
I left my house at about 9:45. I figured this would be plenty of time to get inside in time to see K'Naan...who took the stage at 11:30. But the place was MOBBED. I arrived at Grant Park at about 10:45 and the line was down the street. Luckily I found some friends toward the front of the line otherwise I don't know when I would have gotten in. As it was they opened the gates twenty minutes late and I wasn't inside till 11:45, thus missing the first 15 minutes of K'Naan.
The remaining half hour of K'Naan's set was really good. He seemed to do a LOT of new music...or at least songs that I was not familiar with. But they were great. The songs I did recognize were "Smile" and "What's Hardcore", which K'Naan brought to a halt at the words, "If I rapped about home and I got descriptive/I'd make 50 Cent look like Limp Bizkit." K'Naan's home is of course Mogadishu. Black Lips were running a little late so K'Naan was allowed to tack on "Soobax" at the end of his set, but his sound was cut halfway through. He saluted the crowd and then stuck his middle fingers in the air. He did get an extra five minutes so he didn't have a whole lot to complain about there...but I can understand that he was probably pissed that the gates opened late meaning that there was hardly anyone in attendance for the first half of his set.
Black Lips were great. It was nice to see such a high energy rock band so early in the day. They played a whole bunch of songs in their hour. But they didn't play "Veni Vidi Vici" (sort of surprising) or the song about telling a child that someone has died (somewhat less surprising.)
Butch Walker was okay. I'd been expecting a little more from all the rave reviews. He had a tiny crowd. He made a joke about how he was going to play covers because nobody had any idea who the fuck he was. And he did. He and his band covered James' "Laid" and Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart". And those were the only songs of the set that I knew.
Then it was time for the Go! Team. I got right up front for them as they were one of my most anticipated acts of the day. And they of course delivered a great set. I thought that they left out some of their best songs...including "Huddle Formation"...but they had so much energy and they were a blast just like last time.
And that's when I hit the wall. As I said, I've been sick all week. I was feeling okay today, but the heat really hit me hard. I was alone at this point in the day and I just sort of wandered across the park toward the south end, which I hadn't seen yet. This is the third year I've been to Lolla and I always like the north end so much more. But I wanted to get down there and see Gogol Bordello at 4:15. On my way I checked out Perry's Stage. It's a nice shaded area. I think I'll spend a little more time there tomorrow afternoon.
I got to the south end about the time The Kills were wrapping up on the Myspace Stage. They finished their set about twenty minutes early. This is silly to me. If bands aren't going to use their full hour they should let someone like K'Naan who wanted more time take the hour slots. Anyway, they didn't sound terrible from the couple songs I heard.
Gogol was good. But I was just way too hot and tired to get into it. Maybe if I was down front where the crowd was having a good time I could have. But just standing in the sun, with a headache, it was really difficult to enjoy. I left about halfway through and found...
RAP! Leave it to C3 to find a rapper I had never heard of to play Lollapalooza. Dude's name was Free Sol or something. He played with a live band and he wasn't half bad. But he was on some "real hip hop" this and that...and that gets old quick.
I bought some guacamole.
I watched about half of Mates of State. I wasn't feeling it, even though I really like them. Once again...just too hot to enjoy. So I wandered over to Grizzly Bear when they started. I listened to three songs and left after "Knife". They sounded really good but I don't think this is the ideal venue for them. And they really should have been on one of the main stages because it was PACKED. That's what we have to look forward to at Girl Talk I suppose.
I ended up over at the BMI Stage for Cadence Weapon. Met up with Joe and Max (or Cloud and SixTimes), my new business partners at BeatsPerMil.com. During Cadence Weapon's set (which was AWESOME and HILARIOUS) we did a little marketing. Which means we threw fliers into the crowd in the form of paper airplanes. And it was shady. And his DJ was insane.
And the Cool Kids came out after a very quick set change. They tore through their set, playing most (if not all) of The Bake Sale. They also went into a stretch where they did a bunch of covers including Snoop, ODB (I think ODB may get more love nowadays than BIG and Pac), and the Pharcyde. At about 8:00 they said, "Now is the point of the show where we are going to play some new stuff." That's when I headed for Radiohead. Cool Kids will probably play Chicago ten more times this year.
And Radiohead was just beautiful. And not just Radiohead...everything surrounding the show. They started in the twilight and everything was perfect. The heat gave way to a cool breeze. Radiohead played a set made up of lots of new stuff, but a bunch of gems in their as well, including "Airbag", "Lucky", and "No Surprises." By far the best moment of the day (and quite possibly my concert-going career) came during "Fake Plastic Trees". For the third year in a row the festival was complemented by fireworks at Soldier Field for Bears Family Night. Anyway, the fireworks went on for a while and it was all very nice. Then, during "Fake Plastic Trees", right when Radiohead hit the part of the song where it gets loud the fireworks went into a spectacular finale. It could not have been purposely synced up better than that.
Anyway...they played two hours and were every bit as good as they should have been. They closed the set with "Idioteque" and we danced and were happy. Then went home. And what a clusterfuck getting out of there! It took me 45 minutes to get out the Loop.
A few notes...
- I like how they hid all the porta potties on the North end of the park this year. They are all back in the trees. But the kicker is that there are TWO of them right out in the middle of the field, and throughout the early afternoon there was a HUGE line for these two porta potties while a wall of about fifty of them sat empty back in the trees. Man...when 75, 000 people get together you really realize how stupid people are.
- I continue to be impressed with Lolla's food prices. A lot of people bitch about them, but comparing them to other festivals and concerts they are not bad at all. Four dollars for a slice of pizza? That's nothing by concert standards. And they have a lot of decent food too.
- Come on. Open the gates on time.
Anyway...I need some sleep. That was just one day. And tomorrow I will also be attending the Broken Social Scene / Yeasayer aftershow at the Metro. So I'll talk at you later.