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Saturday, August 4th, 2007 at roughly 5:30 PM, right after Regina Spektor finished her set at one of the side stages, my brother, and Lollapalooza companion, decided he was ready to go. He had enough of Lolla, enough of the rain and wanted to rest up. The sole purpose for his coming to Lolla, 2007 was to see the headlining act Pearl Jam. Like their other crazy, loyal fans, his plan was to get there on Sunday as soon as the gates opened and camp out in the front row of the Main Stage until Pearl Jam finished their set to conclude Lollapalooza, 2007. I, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying the scene, rain and all and decided to stick around the festival, solo. I texted a friend who I thought might be there and he told me to head to the Spoon stage; he was the one with the girl on his shoulders. Much to my dismay, everyone had a girl on their shoulders and navigating through the crowd at that point would be impossible. So, I headed to baseball diamond number nine, conveniently located next to the beer tent and in between the stage where Spoon was playing and the AT&T stage. I sipped my quasi-drinkable, warm Bud Light, enjoyed the sounds bouncing from the stages and the fantastic people watching. The rain continued to drizzle and I was approached by a group of excitable men who came to the show prepared for such a turn in the weather, armed with garbage bags from the nearby Walgreens. They graciously asked me if I would like a garbage bag to keep from getting soaked in the rain. I declined, as my windbreaker parka thing was doing the trick. Although I declined the garbage bag, they continued to make conversation with me, the four of them forming a semi-circle around me. All I could think was, "Great! These guys are using garbage bags to start conversations with girls at Lolla and they chose to start with me!" Until, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed there was one more in the pack, wearing a gray/green garbage bag, who hadn't made his way to the semi-circle just yet. He nudged his way in and chimed right in on the silly, semi-buzzed banter of strangers when they first meet. As time passed, and the group banter became less witty, the other members of the pack decided to try their luck with the garbage bags on other girls. Meanwhile this man clad in plastic, who straggled late to the circle, continued to engage me in conversation beneath the backdrop of the Chicago skyline as Muse provided the soundtrack. We spoke about our taste in music, politics, work and the fact that he was as much of sucker when it came to football – I being a Detroit Lions fan and he a fan of the Cleveland Browns, a by-product of growing up in the rust-belt area of the Mid-west, perhaps. As Muse began to close the evening's festivities and the rest of the pack came to round up their friend, I took the bold step and asked this late-comer for his phone number so that we could meet up again the next day and possibly catch Pearl Jam together. He kindly obliged and I also was sure that he took mine, as I was not going to be the one to call/text first. I didn't end up meeting up with him, the next day - he was caught up at the Bud Light stage watching Iggy Pop and I was holding my spot at the AT&T stage for Pearl Jam. But, he was the first to reach out and I received a text from him during Pearl Jam's set apologizing for not being able to find me and asked if he could take me out, next week. (Yes he asked me out via text!) We went on our first date a week later. From this one chance encounter over an offer of a garbage bag at Lollapalooza during a rain shower, I met the man who would take me to the Spanish Steps in Rome, the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, watch me graduate with my Master’s degree, the man I would support through his entrepreneurial adventure, the man who held my hand as I watched my dad take his last breath, the man that I married this past November (2010). Dodging Lakeshore Drive traffic, we made sure that we made a stop at Grant Park to find baseball diamond number nine – the very spot where we met - for one of our wedding photos. (See attached). If it weren't for my brother ditching me at Lollapalooza, I wouldn't have the great life that I have with man who approached me in a garbage bag. No, he didn't propose via text message and we didn’t wear garbage bags at our wedding!
the year 2007 was my first lollapalooza, but ever since then I've gone every year all 3 days. that year changed my life in so many ways. Daft Punk was and still is in my opinion the best show i've ever seen and probably will be the best one for the rest of my life. the atmosphere of the festival, the kindness of everyone i met, and the music made that day one of the best days of my life. Me and my friend will went alone because no one else wanted to and we ended up getting almost all the way up to the front for Daft Punk. To add on to being close we met some awesome people who made a cirlce for us because i was only 14 back then so we wouldnt have to deal with people bumping us around and stuff. i remember halfway through the set i spun around slowly and took in everything Lollapalooza and chicago has to see and it just all blew my mind. At that moment i decided i want to do something with music for the rest of my life, and that one day i would stand on a lollapalooza stage playing for people who were just like me. I'm still trying to make it there today.
When I was 18 and found out Pearl Jam was playing Lollapalooza I knew I had to go. Sadly none of my friends shared the same passion for Pearl Jam like I did. My father, who is not a fan of Pearl Jam, agreed to take me and even pay for my ticket. So on August 5, 2007 my dad and I rode the L from our suburb to the city. It was also a huge treat to be able to see other acts like Iggy & The Stooges and Amy Winehouse. As the day went on and Pearl Jam's set grew closer my dad and I found our spot on a dirt softball field in Grant Park. I will never forget the feeling that ran through my body as Pearl Jam took the stage. Eddie and the rest of the band sounded just like I dreamed they would. There came a point in the set where Eddie informed us that BP Oil had been dumping waste into our beautiful Lake Michigan and then went on to play a little song encouraging us as consumers to choose another gas station to fill up our cars. As Eddie repeated the words "Don't go/BP Amoco/Don't go" I turned to see my dad singing along with Eddie Vedder and bobbing his head to the beat. It is an image in my mind I will never forget. As well as the fireworks going off and Eddie's voice echoing through out the streets of downtown Chicago. Since then my dad and I have gone every year to Lollapalooza, all 3 days. Sadly this year money issues have taken a hard hit on my family and my dad and I don't have our tickets yet. I am hoping we at least get to attend for one day to keep our tradition strong and to share more memories with my dad. The image I chose is a picture my dad took of me sitting on our blanket waiting for Pearl Jam to take the stage.
The third and final day of the festival really turned out to be about one thing: staying rested for Pearl Jam. On each of the previous days, by the last show of the night, our lower bodies were hurting so bad that we didn’t stay to the end of the concerts. This wasn’t about to happen for the main headliners, whom neither of us had ever seen, so we planned accordingly. (Note: for pics/etc, go to http://strother.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/lollapalooza-2007-sex-or-at-least-penis-jokes-drugs-and-rock-and-roll/) The day began later than usual as we slept in, opting to stay in our PJs as we prepared for PJ. We headed over at noon to catch some of Heartless Bastards, but their music didn’t really excite us, so we left to get a good spot for Amy Winehouse. Everyone else apparently had the same idea as we were greeted by a massive crowd spanning almost the entire field where she was playing. Before long, though, the people thinned out as Ms. Winehouse, who arrived sober but 10 minutes late, seemed bored with her performance. To her credit, though, I think she was putting on an act because she would give a wink and a grin before starting back with her singing. That was probably a poor strategy on her part, though, because the crowd grew restless, as an outdoor festival just isn’t the place for a performer like her who uses her amazing pipes to entertain. I enjoyed her songs, but the set was boring and ranks down there with Cold War Kids as Lolla’s losers. Katie, who isn’t a big Amy Winehouse fan, had to head back to the hotel after her sinus infection and headache grew worse. She hated leaving, but it had to be done if she wanted to survive the night’s shows. Left by myself, I wandered over to see Paolo Nutini, where I immediately dug the joy from his first song, finding myself dancing almost in spite of myself. I couldn’t stay for long, though, as the call of a barbecued pulled-pork sandwich won me over. I noshed on the vittles while Paolo played in the background, and regaining my strength, I headed off for Iggy and the Stooges. I didn’t want to venture too far into the crowd, being so afraid of moshing and slam dancing and all that other violent stuff that scares old men with stiff knees, but at the same time, part of me wanted to be near it. I settled for a spot near the sound booth, standing next to a guy who was sprawled out on the ground. They told me he was passed out, but I thought they were exaggerating. When the wheelchair ran over his leg, I knew they were serious. As Iggy’s start time approached, I began talking to another guy nearby, and I noted that this guy being passed-out drunk was what Iggy Pop was all about. We joked about getting our pictures taken with the unconscious dude, and now I really wish I had. Then, as Iggy took the stage in his trademark painted-on jeans and bare chest, the guy finally stood up (actually, his friends picked him up). His legs didn’t like the idea, so he wobbled for a bit before plopping squarely back down on his ass. He tucked his head between his legs and began puking. Now this is an Iggy Pop show! I left early to meet Katie, who made a triumphant return, and we tried to catch some Peter Bjorn and John. They faced the same staging problems as Cold War Kids, so we were left standing near the concession area. Instead of hearing the songs, we heard people chatting and yapping, so by the time PB&J’s sound went out, we had had enough. We ventured over to the field to set up shop for My Morning Jacket and Pearl Jam, finding ourselves far closer to the stage than we expected. We sat a towel down in the muddy grass, a move that proved totally useless, and waited an hour for MMJ to take the stage. While we were waiting, Katie asked for one of her prescription pills, so I dug around in our bag and pulled one out. At that exact moment, a man walked past and, his canine-type nose drawn to the scent of drugs, peered down and asked, “Hey, man, you got anymore?” I had no idea what to say, so I looked to Katie. “Can I buy one off you?” he asked. “It’s amoxicillin,” Katie told him. She’s so punk rock. He passed, and we missed the opportunity to make a few bucks. The guy, meanwhile, would have been none the wiser, probably telling his friends about “the good shit” he got off that blonde over there. Maybe next year we’ll bring some Luden’s cherry-flavored cough drops, too, or some Asorbine Jr., at the very least. Finally, MMJ took the stage, dressed in dark pants and purpleish sport coats, looking rather dapper for the occasion, which fits, since they played a large part of their set with the Chicago Children’s Orchestra. Despite not knowing a single word to a single song, I still enjoyed every minute of it, but perhaps it was just a contact buzz from the amoxicillin. After MMJ, we waited a grueling 60 minutes for Pearl Jam to take the stage, but at least our neighbors helped make it entertaining. First, the guy in front of me turned around and began staring at me. When I looked up at him, he asked what was on his mind. “You got any trees?” “I don’t even know what that is, so I’m guessing it’s a no,” I answered. Disappointed, he turned back around. I asked Katie about it, and she informed me, as I suspected, that “tree” or “trees” is slang for marijuana. I’m really glad that I inferred it was a drug reference because I wanted to tell him that my parents have trees all over their yard in Kentucky. DEA agents would have been on them in days, and the confusion would have been too much for my mom to handle. A few minutes later, a trio of 35-45-year-old guys pushed their way in front of us, with one guy in a New York Mets visor doing his best to annoy everyone within a 20-foot radius. Mets Guy, apparently, was not happy that they had moved closer and kept calling the leader of the group a dick for pushing past people. At one point, he said, “You’re a dick, but I guess I’m a dick, too, for following you.” I wanted to point out that that would make him the balls since they follow the dick, but Katie strongly suggested that I not do so. Eventually, I befriended the group, as my love for the Mets outweighed everything else, and, most importantly, I thought I could get them to stop fighting. Nope. Mets Guy started bad-mouthing every Mets player he could think of before he finally decided to leave. The two he left behind turned out to be rather nice guys, as they seemed interested in how a guy from Kentucky could wind up a New York Mets fan. Plus, we bashed the Yankees, which will always make you friends with normal humans. Eventually, one of the guys said they’d get me tickets to a Mets game the next time I was in New York, but he left before I could give him my name, let alone my number or e-mail, so I don’t think he really meant it. He probably would have waited longer than three days to call anyhow. So … Pearl Jam takes the stage and proceeds to rock us in ways we’ve never been rocked, putting on a show that surpassed everything else I’d seen to that point (including last year), making me wonder how they’re not on the short list of Best Rock Band in the World. The band was a tight group, with each shining on their respective instruments, and Eddie Vedder combining political outrage with biting humor and true appreciation for the turnout. By the end of their 2-hour set, I was relieved they were finished because I was so drained from the singing and the dancing and the jumping and the whatnot. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to see Dennis Rodman on stage, and what do you know, there he was, standing there as Eddie Vedder jumped on his back. And that, friends, was Lollapalooza 2007. I can’t wait until next year.
In 2007, my husband told me that all he wanted for his birthday were tickets to Lollapalooza because he wanted to go see his all-time favorite band, Pearl Jam. Being a huge fan of Pearl Jam myself, I was more than happy to oblige. I went online and got him tickets, we were all set to go. I was, however, 6 months pregnant with our first-born son at the time. It was a hot sweltering summer night and my being pregnant was not a great mix. However the opportunity to see Pearl Jam live in Grant Park and wanting to honor my husbands' only birthday wish, I was not going to miss it for anything. I'm so glad I sucked it up. The concert was great, we had an amazing time. And now, almost 4 years later, our son, who was born in December of that year, is now a second generation Pearl Jam fan. He asks for them every night when we turn his music on at bedtime. I'm positive he could hear the concert from my belly and it made him a fan from that moment on.
In 2007, the Chicago Park District and C3 Presents locked in Lollapalooza at Grant Park for the foreseeable future. Coincidentally, this year’s festivities proved to be an unqualified success, with Lollapalooza’s appearance outperforming even The Police’s most successful tour date from their highly acclaimed reunion that year. With genre heavyweights like electronica megastars Daft Punk, indie-rock innovators Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and grunge godfathers Pearl Jam atop a bill that included sought-after artists from all over the musical spectrum, the festival catered to its broadest audience ever.
As always, there were some unexpected delights. A then virtually unknown act from Brooklyn, keyboard-and-drum duo Matt and Kim were bumped to one of the main stages after Brazilian dance-pop act CSS pulled out at the last minute - catapulting the pair into the spotlight. Meanwhile, little known Lady Gaga, who would go on to achieve tremendous future success of her own, was featured on a sparsely attended side stage with her then sidekick Lady Starlight. Just another instance of forward-thinking for Lollapalooza.
Punk “godfather” Iggy Pop and the Stooges whipped fans into a frenzy during their set, going so far as to bring fans on stage, revisiting the raucous, fabled shows from their early days.