From the front row at Lollapalooza
Vail CO, Colorado
Founded in 1991, Lollapalooza is a three-day music festival held in Chicago’s Grant Park that showcases all types of bands. Some of the headliners this year included Radiohead, Wilco, Rage Against the Machine and Kanye West. I was at Lollapalooza this past weekend and the following are my fondest memories from the Friday and Saturday night shows.
We arrived Friday at Grant Park at about 1:30 p.m., waited in line for 30 minutes then hit the park running right to the kid’s stage. Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of Wilco, was scheduled for a solo performance at 2:30 p.m. Walking up to the stage I noticed Tweedy behind the gated area tuning his guitar.
I got chills seeing a rock star this close but still managed to snap a couple shots with my camera anyway. I knew we were in for a wonderful weekend, and this was just the beginning. He came out and greeted the audience of kids and grownups with an acoustic version of “What Light” from the “Sky Blue Sky” album. He then took requests from only kids. Tweedy launched into “Heavy Metal Drummer” and the crowd began to loosen up.
As a huge Wilco fan, there couldn’t have been a better opening performance. We cruised over to the next stage to watch Louis XIV and then over to the Black Keys. I sat in the shade for the Black Keys and stored energy for The Raconteurs who were playing in a few hours.
When they came out they were on fire; pleasing a crowd that was just getting warmed up. We stayed for half the show then walked over to the other side of the park to get a good spot for Radiohead, the first night’s headliner.
About 20 minutes before the sun went down Radiohead opened in an eerie way with a song called “15 Step” from their latest album “In Rainbows.”
We had a great spot in the lawn to the right of the stage and I watched as the hoards of people rushed the stage, which looked like an underwater scene and added to the spectacle that is Radiohead. Fireworks erupted over the park as helicopters with spotlights circled the sky ” what a first night! Besides somehow losing my shoes it was also a relatively safe night.
After a string of awesome performances by Mason Jennings and Battles, Wilco closed Saturday night with another stunning performance. There is truly something special about seeing them perform in Chicago. I saw no fires from the Rage Against the Machine stage; I can only imagine what insanity occurred on the other side of the park.
Looking back on the weekend as I sit at the Chicago O’ Hare airport awaiting my flight back to Colorado I cannot stop thinking about the Radiohead performance. I want to go back to that moment in time. I am proud to be part of such a magical weekend, I know I was part of something special and in the words of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and the entire Friday night crowd singing along to “Fake Plastic Trees:”
“It wears me out, and it wears me out.”