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My first trip to Lollapalooza was in the summer after my junior year of high school. I wasn't the coolest kid in my class, but I had recently discovered my incredible passion for live concerts, so when I heard that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were headlining Lolla I knew I had no choice but to camp out in front of their stage all day. One of my goals in life then and now is to get as close at possible to Anthony Kiedis. The day RHCP were headlining was one of those brutally hot Chicago days and shade at Lolla was few and far between. I was still living in the suburbs so for three days my cousin and I took the El from the end of the line all the way to Grant Park. We didn't care who else was playing on the Bud Light stage that day because we had already committed to claiming our spot and not moving until the proverbial curtain fell. As the day wore on and water was running out, all the devout RHCP fans stuck together. We fought off the Ben Kweller hippies together, shared our food and drink with each other, and stayed strong. As the day wore on we started begging the security at the front of the stage for some water as the collective dehydration set in. The Chili Peppers were getting closer and the crowd was getting bigger. By the time Queens of the Stone Age took the stage, little 16-year-old me was smashed up in between enormous, sweaty, dudes. The back of the crowd would push forward and the front of the crowd would push back. I was one layer of people behind the barricades, and after a while I didn't even have to try to stand because I was involuntarily being propped up by all the people around me, my feet were barely touching the ground. Being a 110 pound sixteen year old girl I had not had much experience in a mosh pit setting, but I wanted to hold my own for as long as I could to get my glimpse of my rock idols. Part of the way through the Queens of the Stone Age set I realized that even though I was feet from the stage, I would not be able to enjoy or even really watch the Chili Peppers because of the chaos I was caught in. I had been trampled and kicked by crowd-surfers all afternoon and eventually figured that was my only way out before I passed out in the crowd. Luckily, I was standing by some very nice, burly men so all I had to do was raise up my hand and I was on my way. I was lifted up above the crowd and pushed to the front where I was lifted down by security and sent off to the side. For a moment, I was flying above Grant Park. In the process of being passed over the crowd I lost one of my flip flops but managed to hold on to my shirt and bag. We ended up watching the Chili Peppers from the side, and it was still amazing. I rehydrated and enjoyed the show and my proximity to Anthony. At the end of the night, I really did not want to get on the El with bare-feet. I scanned the ground for a few seconds and soon enough found one flip flop to supplement the one lost to the crowd. As I was walking in my mismatched sandals, someone I had met yelled at me from a little bit away waving the match to my newly acquired shoe. So I ended the day with a new, albeit too small, pair of sandals, a lot of new friends, and a great Lollapalooza story.
Went with my boyfriend and a few friends. I knew it would be a good time, and to start the trip on the airplane my friend's ear popped when we took off. Her "remedy" for that was to stick a pencil in her ear to "pop" that bubble. Upon taking the pencil out of her ear, the lead of the pencil was gone. Gone forever into her brain. That's how it started off. A little foggy with some details of the weekend being that it was 5 years ago but I had a blast. One great experience was during the Flaming Lips' performance. In the height of the wild we struck up conversation with an elderly man in a kilt (yes). He offered us a sip out of his binoculars. Now, I am no birder, but I do know that people usually do not drink liquid out of binoculars. Turns out that it was a binocular flask. Amazing. Bought one immediately upon my return and has been a Christmas miracle ever since. My favorite show and probably half of the reason we came out to Lollapalooza was for Wilco. We saw the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on the way in on the train and it was a prelude to an excellent experience. They played into the sunset with the city's silhouette crowning the backdrop. The band was at home, Tweedy shared stories of Chicago in a sarcastic-witted tone. He was also dressed in fullout Leprechaun gear. Smooth.. Would love experience a return for 2011.
As touching as your story was at the time, it wasn't until last year that it really hit home. You and Stephen played a short set with the kids on Saturday afternoon. After the kids left the stage, you and Stephen stayed on for an acoustic set and played Tahitian Moon. Before the song, you explained the meaning of it. That you went out looking for him after he didn't return and how terrifying it is to be out there alone at night. Last year a friend and I were surfing in Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica. I strolled out to take some pictures as the surf was picking up. He bailed and got caught up in the strong waves. Neither of us are strong surfers or swimmers. I watched as he was getting hammered, wave after wave, feeling helpless. He made it out OK , thankfully. The first thing I said to him was the story that you told at the show years before. I think it helped put him at ease over the experience.
I have attended 7 Lollapaloozas over the last 20 years, so that means that I have seen tons of bands. But 6 of them do not compare Lollapalooza 2006. I spent the entire weekend there, enjoyed Wilco, and Thievery a lot... but during the Manu Chao performance, I kept going back to the beer tent directly across the stage, and happened to notice a girl who was working there. That girl agreed to meet me for brunch the next weekend, and then 6 months later, I proposed and she said yes. The following year, in 2007, we both worked in the beer tent together, with a tip jar out for our wedding fund. We have been married now for over three years, have a beautiful 16 month old daughter and twins on the way in October. Before our lives become even crazier when the babies arrive, I would love the opportunity to take my wife, daughter and two future unnamed rock fans back to the place where it all started!
I rarely feel like a hillbilly. I rarely travel to cities larger than Lexington. Perhaps the two are related. (Note: for pics/etc. go to http://strother.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/via-chicago/) I recently traveled to Chicago, where Cory, David, Derek, The Beard, Rachel and I took part in the annual Lollapalooza music festival. Given that Chicago is significantly larger than Lexington (I could do a google search to get the exact figures, but a) I’m too lazy; 2) it’s not necessary; and d) nobody really cares), I was a fish out of water. Actually, I was more like a fish that had been gutted, cooked and served with a side of rice. Having been to Chicago previously, I wasn’t concerned about the usual fears one has when traveling to a big city, all the usual things like three-card monte, knife fights and terrorist attacks. Instead, I worried about sticking out. And, at times, did we ever. In short, the Clampetts hit the city. The trip got off to a great start as David took a quick route into downtown, finding our hotel with virtually no problems. We even found an empty parking spot about a block away from our site, which I thought only happened in the movies, so with little effort, we were soon tromping about the street. Actually, most of us first made phone calls home, letting our mothers know we had arrived safe and sound. Then we took to tromping. David and I took upon the task of handling our check-in at the hotel. I’d like to think it was because the others thought we were the most suave and sophisticated of the bunch, but I’m pretty certain it had more to do with the fact everyone else wanted to stay outside and smoke. Either way, we got the room key, figured out the best way to get Rachel from the airport to the hotel (which still resulted in an old-fashioned ass-chewing from the aforementioned Miss Crowe, but a trip with Kevin just isn’t a trip without at least one good fight) and decided to go with valet parking at the hotel rather than ordinary parking. As the attendant unloaded the car, David and I, now viewing ourselves as the de facto urbanites of the group, huddled to discuss how much to tip the bellman. I told him I thought it was supposed to be $2 a bag, but I pretty much based that on an old episode of Seinfeld. David was convinced, and if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me. See, I was already viewing David as being far more equipped to handle the lead in Chicago than I could ever be. For one, he drove in the city. I had made it clear that I couldn’t handle all the horn honking. David is also well-groomed, which I realize now means nothing, but it made sense at the time. While the rest of us were dousing ourselves with liberal amounts of Axe or Tag if any smell-good products were used at all David was using various forms of complex grooming products, no doubt with French-sounding names, including, I’m sure, male parfume, which was carefully dabbed at strategic locations. David, who lives in Frankfort, is a metrosexual in search of a metro, so he took to Chicago like me at a Chinese buffett. (I’m not sure he would admit to being this, so would that make him a closeted metrosexual?) Either way, his style did nothing to prevent us from being snookered. The bellman came to helps us with our bags, and David and I decided to give him $15, although it might have actually been as much as $20. We slipped him the cash, only to watch jaws agape as he stopped, gave the cart to someone else and left. We’d gone about 30 feet. At that point we realized the importance of tipping AFTER you’re actually in the room. We made up for our tipping ignorance later, making sure to leave exactly the right amount for exactly the right person. As we prepared to head back to Kentucky, we straightened our room feces-throwing monkeys would have been embarrassed over the rancid condition of our room. It harbored more diseases than Pamela Anderson/Kid Rock’s wedding party. We also left the maid (is “cleaning lady” the preferred nomenclature?) some cash, two leftover bottles of beer and half a bottle of vodka. Let’s just condense the rest into bullet points: • I couldn’t stop looking up and gawking. (Cue Gomer voice). “Well, gollee, those buildings shore are tall.” I’m a sucker for a skyline. It’s often my favorite part of visiting a city. I LOVE driving into Cincinnati. When you turn that curve and the skyline open ups, it’s almost breathtaking. Hell, it IS breathtaking. And Chicago, well, it’s much, much, much taller. And when you’re in the city with America’s tallest building, it’s only natural to look up. Except I felt like a total tourist (which I was) and an idiot (which I am). Maybe I should have been more subtle, much like sneaking peeks when a woman showcases some cleavage, but in most MOST cases, the Sears Tower is slightly more impressive. Nobody was remotely interested in seeing the tower with me, despite my near-constant nagging. I somehow conned Derek into walking to it, and I marveled at the building. And on the way back, I said to hell with it and openly ogled some hookers’ breasts. Or maybe they were college students. It’s hard to tell some days. Particularly in the big city. • Cory and I were on an elevator with a gentleman wearing a neon green T-shirt proclaiming he was in town for a family reunion. The shirts were everywhere in our hotel, and the folks were very friendly. I thought about skipping a Lollapalooza show or two to hang out with them. So, here we are riding up the elevator, making small talk when Cory makes a slight noise then goes immediately silent. The elevator stops. The door opens. The man exits. The door closes. “Well, I just about killed us,” Cory said. “How so?” “I was looking at that guy’s shirt and thinking about the reunion, and I almost said, ‘There sure are a lot of you people here.’” I should probably point out the reunion was for a black family. “I still can’t believe that I almost did that,” Cory later said. “I have no place in modern society.” • Sarah sent a care package, which included Funyuns, honeybuns, fruit pies, Tylenol, hand sanitizer and Rolaids. And condoms. Which, by the way, were labeled “for her pleasure.” There were five guys and just one girl on the trip, and Sarah STILL thought the odds were against anyone pleasing Rachel. • David, Rachel and I prepared to go to the Field Museum, a world-renowned museum, mind you, to see the King Tut exhibit. I’m ashamed to say I actually asked Rachel if I needed “to wear a shirt with sleeves.”
Encouraged by the success of its debut as a single-destination festival the previous year, Lollapalooza 2006 brought a major expansion in the size of the festival, greatly expanding the area it would utilize in Chicago’s Grant Park and giving fans extra room to stretch out.
Lollapalooza’s new focus on independent artists hit a bulls-eye with audiences as the festival began to attract (and re-attract) more concertgoers in their 20s. The 2006 line-up deftly reflected their interests, with prominent stage slots going to indie darlings The Shins, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket, as well as a handful of world-famous headliners like Red Hot Chili Peppers. Further expanding the draw of the festival was a deep lineup of hip-hop acts like Kanye West, Common, Blackalicious and Lyrics Born. Artists from many other genres made appearances in the festival’s largest lineup ever (over 130 artists), including the Spanish reggae of Manu Chao and the Top 40 country-folk of Nickel Creek.
Debuting in 2006, Lollapalooza’s Rock & Recycle program became an instant success with fans, recruiting festival goers to help pick up discarded recyclables for free festival T-shirts. But this was just the tip of the environment-conscious iceberg for Lolla...
Hip-hop dominated the Saturday line-up at Lollapalooza ’96. Common, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, and Tonedeff performed, while Chicago native son Kanye West filled the headlining slot. He capped off his set with “Touch the Sky” – and about 60,000 joined him.