I guess technically this was my third visit to Lollapalooza, but my first time seeing the revamped show. I saw the 1993 and 1994 touring act so I could jam to Arrested Development, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Beastie Boys. Anyway, this is the second year they have had the three day event in Chicago at Grant Park. Since it was in my backyard and the list of bands looked good, my wife and decided to get tickets. Even though I did not see as much of it as I would have liked (I was sick on Saturday), it was definitely worth the money. First, let me just say that I thought the event was very well organized. From what I could tell, it was almost devoid of problems. Second, since many events like this can rarely avoid the lure of corporate sponsorship, it felt very non-corporate. I mean, the stages had names like mySpace Stage and Bud Light Stage, but I didn’t feel like everything was being jammed down my throat. Third, the recycling effort was top notch. I heard there was going to be more of an effort to “be green” this year, so I was happy to see it working. You could not walk past a garbage can without seeing a recycling can. THAT is how it should be. Finally, the crowd seemed to be orderly. Not everyone can be on their best behavior but it seems like most folks were there for the music.
Yes…the music. The main reason we went. On Friday, I just wanted to see M.I.A. We figured we were going to be there longer on Saturday and Sunday, but I wanted to make sure I saw her in concert. I’ve posted here before about her music. She was definitely a lot of fun to see. She has an album coming out in two weeks, so she performed about half from that and half from her first disc. High energy show and it sounded great. On Saturday, we had planned on staying longer, but only went to catch the Roots and Rhymefest. It is the eighth time I have seen the Roots, so I won’t gush over them too much…awesome as always. Rhymefest was also very good. He is a charismatic performer who seemed to genuinely enjoy being on stage in front of an audience. He’d be worth seeing in a smaller venue. I would have liked to have seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Muse that day, but it just wasn’t in the cards. On Sunday, we stayed for most of the day. While waiting for Amy Winehouse, we heard part of a set by Rodrigo y Gabriela. I know nothing about them, but they sounded good. Winehouse was better than I expected. We skipped Lupe Fiasco (darn!) to see her, but she sounded very good in concert. Her stage presence isn’t the greatest but her and her band put on a solid set. Took a break from the music to see stuff at the Kidzapalooza and Mindfield Stage before getting something to eat on Michigan. When we came back, we listened to most of My Morning Jacket. I don’t know anything about them, but they played their set with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and I was very impressed. Then, went to check out TV on the Radio who really jammed during their short set. The crowd at this show seemed to be really into them. More than any other band we saw. We stayed to see Pearl Jam start off their show, and then called it a weekend. I think I would definitely go back again even if I wasn’t completely crazy about all of the bands playing. It seems like the organizers go to great lengths to select a lot of bands that perform well live. Sometimes, that is all it takes to enjoy yourself.
Check out more of my pictures here.