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I was working in a news station in philly and had to finish the noon show before I could leave and head down to Lollapalooza to see my favorite band, The Verve. My boyfriend was waiting in the parking lot - playing his cassette of A STORM IN HEAVEN - itchy to get going. But something went wrong with the show. The news director insisted on a staff post-mortem. And I got sicker and sicker as they talked and blamed and wasted time. The most important time of the most important day of the most important season: The Verve at Lollapalooza on a bright summer day. Sometimes, in art and in life, you've gotta do what you've gotta do. I got up, said I felt sick to my stomach and ran to my boyfriend's car. We tried to relax, listening to the well-worn cassette and praying to get there in time. When we parked at Lollapalooza, we heard a far off psychedelic guitar. We knew who it was and we ran and ran and ran to catch the mighty wave that was The Verve in 1994. We got there in time for the magnificent last song, GRAVITY GRAVE. "To me you're like the setting sun, you shine then you're gone." Joy blazed.
Through mutual friends, I was introduced to a girl named Sarah at her house party about a week earlier. Let's just say she immediately had a hold on me. Then, there I was cruising around in my '88 Chevy Celebrity when I pulled up right next to her and her friends at a stoplight. Through the brief chatter, I fixated on her in the passenger seat, hoping she had heard about my interest through the grapevine. As the light turned green, I mentioned we should get together sometime and she leaned out of the window, her short, jet-black hair catching the wind and her bright eyes smiling, and said eagerly, “Meet us at Lollapalooza!” Sure, that Summer between high school and college was unpredictable (especially to my parents) and my answer to Sarah's offer was obviously a quick affirmative, but I thought the chances of us finding each other in the crowd were slim. Somehow, some way, smack dab in the middle of the pit for Green Day's blistering opening set, you know, where the air swirls hot and heavy and the dust and sweat intermingle to form a thin coating, that's where I was found. Not by Sarah, but by her friend who led me to her side. As we stole curious glances at each other, sheepishly grinned at each other, I think we knew. We knew that this was OUR Lollapalooza. Like so many who are reading this have felt. The day was planned just for us. The bands were playing directly to me and to you. There is nothing else that matters. And so Sarah and I threw caution to the proverbial wind and owned that day in 1994. We knew we'd never forget The Breeder's performance of “Cannonball” and L7's “Wargasm” or the wild antics of P-Funk or the crazy hype of the Beastie Boys. When the fire hoses rained down and cooled our heads for a few minutes, we both had that look of clarity, that look of joyous acceptance. When Sarah slipped and became a victim of the inevitable mud pits during the B-Boys set, my first instinct was to do a belly flop next to her. Our faces were graced by matching mud splatters and we were beautiful. Together. Surrounded by thousands of others who spent that day at Charles Town Race Track like it was their last. Singing to their favorite bands, circling the pits, high-fiving strangers, hugging their best friends, holding their soulmates. As mud dried to a brittle crust and the Smashing Pumpkins soared in the background, Sarah and I embraced each other, intertwined in a grimy, passionate kiss. The kind of kiss that makes people grossed out with envy. A kiss so long that I couldn't tell you any of the songs the Pumpkins played, only that Billy Corgan bantered a loooong time in between songs. It was our Lollapalooza. It was my Lollapalooza. When I hopped into my pal's van for the ride home that night, he grimaced at my appearance. So there I lay on the floorboards, covered in the day's festivities and my head overflowing with wonder. Reflection uninterrupted by the hot shower that awaited me at home. I'll never forget staring down at the drain as it all washed away, the brown water gradually turning clear, leaving behind only memories. It's 2011. Sarah and I are still friends, I'm still listening to Green Day, L7, and the Beasties, and I'm still going to my Lollapalooza.
While the summer of 1967 was the 'Summer of Love', for Tanya and myself the summer of 1994 was 'Summer of Green'. Green Day that is. Between the two of us we had 6 copies of Dookie (one for each car, one for each bedroom and one for our portable cd players). It was OUR record, they were OUR band. Then we get the news, Green Day would be performing in Miami on Lollapalooza! There was nothing that was going to keep us from seeing our favorite band from the front row. So we quickly devised our strategy. This might be a good point to state that it was the summer before our senior year in high school and both of us were still 16 - and downtown Miami at that time was not exactly the safest place to be. FAST FORWARD TO DAY OF SHOW! Knowing how excited we were to see Green Day, there had to be people just like us so we would need to beat them to the front of the line. So, even though gates did not open until noon (or was it 1PM?) we decided to arrive at Bicentennial Park at 6AM. Success, we were the first ones there! The gates wont open for another 6-7 hours - who cares! Food or drinks? Who needs them! We were on our Green Day adrenaline. We sat there trying to guess their set list - we made our own top 10 list of our favorite GD songs - we listened to Dookie another 3 or 4 times. We were having a blast! FAST FORWARD TO OPENING OF THE GATES! Yes, we were first in line. I let Tanya in before me because, well a gentleman always lets the lady in first. But once we passed that gate it was an all out sprint to front and center of the main stage. There we were - minutes away from finally seeing them live! Things are happening on stage. Wait is that Billy Joe I see just off the side of the stage? Any minute now... OMG here he comes!!! but wait where is the rest of the band? What did he just say? Something about the band being unable to play? Mike was injured at Woodstock? They will be back soon?!? But we were here since 6AM all for you!! We were drained. Time to get out of the pit. Security! It was an unspoken gesture. Look a security guard in the eyes and throw up your arms and they would pluck you out of the crowd. So out Tanya and I go and we sit down against the side fence along the main stage. We must have sat there for at least an hour without a word spoken. I could not even tell you what band was playing on stage - we were bummed. Tanya looks at me and says well since he was on stage he or they have got to still be here and we want to meet him. So now I get to the part of the story I still like to shake my head at - between the two of us we had $120 cash on us. So 10 minutes and $120 later we were back stage looking for Green Day. If we weren't going to see them perform maybe we can meet them! But wait there weren't any names on the trailers. We literally went from trailer to trailer. We must have knocked on 20 doors before we were politely asked to leave by security and were escorted out. Unfortunately our desire to see Green Day at Lollapalooza that day ended up a bust - there were several lingering and noteworthy things that happened that day - 1) Tanya and I bonded in a way that made us lifelong friends - we still regularly talk even though we life on opposite sides of the country. 2)This is the first concert I ever took photos at. I smuggled my Minolta 35mm. Since then I have been a professional concert photographer. While it would be another 2 years until I actually got a photo pass (Lollapalooza 1996) through a publication, 17 years and 1,600 concerts I still get a thrill at each show. Attached is a photo of Tanya and I once we got home late that night. Yes, I was exhausted. (side note - winning this contest would be a dream because I would actually be at a concert as a fan and not working. Actually get to enjoy the whole thing! and yes, I am entering this contest as a fan and not for press access) Finally, my other option for a Lollapalooza story was going to be the 1992 show - one of the best concerts I ever saw - but the biggest memory was that the day after the show Miami was hit by hurricane Andrew and while we lost our house - the one thing that I took with me was my Lollapalooza 1992 ticket stub. Everything else I owned was destroyed.)
My very first real concert. I was a teenager, depressed at times, filled with angst, anger, and just overall confused about life. At the time I felt no one understood me and was the guy who didn't quite fit into the typical characterized groups in high school. On July 15, 1994, in Chicago, my life changed forever. It was at Lollapalooza 1994 when I realized I was not alone. The bands and crowd were somehow interconnected and shared a common bond that could never be described in words. The overall Lolla experience led me to believe that we don't have to be part of a group because we're already connected. Lolla consistently brings this human connection together by creating an incredible experience for 20 years. Since that time I moved away from Chicago, and returned in 2006, and was thrilled that Lollapalooza was back with three-days of this experience. Since then, I have been to Lollapalooza 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2008, my friend and I took a vow to attend every Lollapalooza until we're on our death bed. Thank you Lollapalooza for saving my life and always being a part of my life!
We went to Lollapalooza at Houston Raceway Park. This was the only show out of thousands I have been to now that i have seriously feared for my life. The Beasties rocked the crowd. During the pause in Sabotage I told my friend that we were going to die. It was awesome. The entire crowd was jumping. It is something I haven't seen since.
Grunge rock juggernauts Nirvana were initially scheduled to headline Lollapalooza’s 1994 tour alongside The Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys, but the band pulled out on April 17th. The following day, frontman Kurt Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle. Using the music and community of the festival to help fans process the tragedy, Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, made appearances at multiple festival dates, performing songs and speaking to audiences about her late husband.
An early adopter of the hard-hitting genre, hip-hop acts featured prominently at this year’s festivities, providing a counter-balance to alternative and rock acts on the bill. Latino rappers Cypress Hill featured on the side stage, while the seminal hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest and Brooklyn’s legendary Beastie Boys both had main stage berths. George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars also featured on the main stage, Lollapalooza’s nod to the trailblazing old schoolers that laid the groundwork for hip-hop.
Keeping it interesting, Lolla activities included virtual reality rides and interactive computer displays, ideas founder Perry Farrell had been trying to incorporate into the festival in previous years. A third stage featured poetry readings and a dance troupe of Tibetan monks. Showing that ladies can rock just as hard as the men, the tour also featured more female artists than previous years, including The Breeders, L7, and Shonen Knife.
Lollapalooza ‘94 holds the record for being the longest tour at 43 dates.
In the midst of turning the music world on its head, Green Day joined Lolla for its second half, also making an appearance at Woodstock ‘94 where bassist Mike Dirnt was injured by a security guard after being mistaken for a fan. Due to the injury, the band was forced to withdraw from Lollapalooza’s Miami date for some emergency dental work.