Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lollapalooza 2006 was..

A celebration. A tradition. A party. A gathering.

It was a festival, but maybe Mega-Festival is more accurate. Huge. Massive. In both space, people, and berth. The incredible lineup of 100+ bands is enough to make someone's head spin and it was so complelety overcrowded, it reminded me of some kickass band in a tiny club. Still, it was incredibly organized and perfectly timed. Very little sound trouble, no overlap. Bands were absolutely forbidden to go past their allotted time (much to fans disappointment), but it ended up making the whole thing flow surprisngly well.

Pitchfork criticized it as a "hotel festival" catering to the older "stroller"-crowd. And yes, there were much less dirty unshaven hippies walking around wearing Umprhey's McGee t-shirts, but is that a bad thing? Yes, there was some strollers. And yes, there were a lot of drunk college kids. And then there were lots of teenagers.

Truly, there is never been an all-encompassing style, taste, genre overlap than Lollapalooza 2006. If you came, you almost definitely saw one of your favorite bands. Headliners were Death Cab for Cutie (cool young people like Shawn and I), Kayne West (younger and cool and hipper kids who listen to shitty music most of the time and good music occasionally) and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (old people).

Not only was the lineup impressive as gold, but the setting was perfect. Chicago is GORGEOUS. After two years of flat Miami, this spiky wonderland of modern and recently modern archeteicture was eye-opening. Gothamesque (is that a word? it is now.) The festival was situated in Grant Park, right in the heart of downtown on the lakefront. Centered by the Buckingham Fountain (popularied in Married With Children), it stretched across two huge fields with four large stages and four smaller intimate stages set into the trees. There was music everywhere, whispering on the wind in the distance or pounding up close as you rush by to catch the end of someone's set. Surrounded by beautiful buildings, listening to some of your favorite bands, it's an extremely memorable experience.

Musical Standouts: Stars. Canada's forgotten little art-indie-band put on an impassioned set full of broad and beautiful strokes and lots of lots of heart. My Morning Jacket, from Kentucky, played like champions, perfectly comfortable on the second largest stage in the festival, playing for a fraction of the audience the other "big" bands got. They were electrified on stage and I ate it up, gyrating and dancing like a drunk teenager.

Death Cab for Cutie pack so much more of a rock out WOW! factor live than they do on their records, especially the more recent work which has the glossy professionalism of Serious Musicians. But live, they are like kids again, obsessed with the sound guitars and drums make when played loudly and in tandem. They played for over an hour and a half and it was a full on assault of Rock! Notably, the extended "We Looked Like Giants" with Ben Gibbard on guitar, then drums, then guitar again. "Transatlanticism," just like last time, was like an epiphany.

Our second day started off well with some great Chicago deep-dish pizza. Delicious stuff. At the festival, it was kind of a waiting day for some of the big names in the evening. Still, we enjoyed sets by Feist, the impressive Calexico, and a little bit of the Go-Team. And then it was time for The Flaming Lips!
Now, I've seen the shtick a few times now. I've seen the balloons, the Space Bubble, the confetti, the extended coda to Yoshimi. And it still kicked ass! Wayne's voice seemed a little hoarse, but they were still able to rock out with a big helping of festival standards (Race for the Prize, Do You Realize?, etc) and a few of the newer and prettier tracks. Didn't play the brilliant "The ambulance Driver," though, much to my disappointment. Still, any day with the Flaming Lips is a good day. (Side note: walked past lead singer and ultimate indie rocker, Wayne Coyne, in downtown Chicago the next day. I said, "Hey Wayne! Great show last night." He smiled, said, "Thanks" and walked another a couple steps before being waylaid by other Lollaers wanting his picture. I was proud of myself for not being a fanboy, but damn, I would have loved a picture with Wayne and I.)

An unforgettable moment followed the Flaming Lips show. Right after it ended, right across the field, another great and favorite band, Theievry Corporation, started up their set. It was like going from one pyschadelic extreme to another. We were still walking and dancing across the field. It felt great, like the way life should be every day. And as for Theievery Corp, they killed. I've seen them before in a small intimate setting and I just didn't feel the same power as on their records. But, as the sun set on another beautiful day in Chicago, they rocked out with highlights from all their records. The always enteraining Corporation came out and sang in multiple languages. Lolla founder Perry Ferrel came out and sang "Revolution Solution" to feasts of applause.

The next day brought more bands and tons more people. Sunday, in Lollapalooza, was so full and epic, it was dizzying. (Maybe it was the heat.) And though we got tired and drained, the one band we were waiting for all weekend came on second-to-last and we rocked out like we've never rocked out in our lives. Broken Social Scene came on for forty-five glorious minutes and played their hearts out. They brought the whole band. It was a party onstage and off. Their seconds make so much sense played live with the full force of a dozen members on guitar or horn. The epic "Shoreline" and "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" were soaring and could be heard across Lake Michigan and into Canada. The quiet and beautiful "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old" sung by four very talented ladies was great and a momentary chance to catch our breath before dancing and going all crazy. The fans cheered for almost twenty minutes after they were done, begging for "one more song! one more song!" and booing the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they started across the field. It was an unforgettable performance and the realization of a dream of mine to see Broken Social Scene perform that I've had for almost five years now.

So, to sum up, Lollapalooza was (is and always will be hopefully) an incredible experience for every music fan. I went to Lollapalooza '96 ten years and had a wonderful time with a group of fellow high schoolers. Ten years later, I had a great time as an adult. If there is a Lollapalooza 2016, I will be there, proudly, with stroller in hand.



Blogger LoriB said...

Awesome awesome awesome!

Elad you sure have a way of sharing your vision, making me feel linke i was right there rocking out with you!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

August 13, 2006 12:39 PM  

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