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Lollapalooza was the first festival I have ever been to in my life. As a seventeen year old, that was a rare thing. Most people say you can’t love music as much as I do without going to a few dozen festivals by the time you hit your teens. But, there I was two years ago in a gorgeous city with one of my best friends about to experience three days of fantastic music. Friday morning, Leah and I were in a frenzy; we woke up late, ate breakfast way too fast, and got completely turned around on the way to Grants Park. I thought this was a sure sign that the day was going to be a bad one. Then, just as we had our arms suffocated into the armbands, the sky opened up and rain poured down on us. Our programs were soaked by the time we reached the main stage on the left, and I forced a smile trying to hide the fact that I was disappointed with the weather. But, my smile turned real when I looked at all the people around me. We were waiting for Manchester Orchestra to start, and the crowd’s energy was infectious. In a corny, cheesy way to put it, it was like magic. When Manchester started there was no stopping the feeding of the energy; my body was moving, my head was nodding, and my fist was flying to the beat of the music. As Leah and I waited for White Lies to approach the stage, we chatted with the people around us. To come from a smaller town and meet people from all over the world is incredible to me. And then one of my favorite moments from that weekend happened. The rain poured down on us when White Lies arrived in front of their instruments. It was a warmer day, and from all the dancing we had done earlier, the rain felt joyous on my skin. I remember looking up into the skyline and noticing the skyscrapers. It was in that moment I realized I was in Chicago, listening to one of my favorite bands in the middle of Grants Park. I had Leah to the left of me nodding away to White Lies’ British accents, and a girl from New York to the other side of me screaming her head off. It was in that moment I fell even more in love with music because it brings all sorts of people together in one moment to share the same interest. Corny? I know, but music does that to me.
Lollapalooza 2009 played host to the sub-festival "Dougapalooza 2009" - my aptly-named bachelor party and setting for an epic weekend for me and 22 of my closest buddies. The line-up was stacked, diverse, and relevantly procured as always, and satisfied the live show palate of the whole crew - which is no small feat for a group of 23 "bros". Moreover each had a unique live show breakthrough, of which the most satisfying for me was the amount of TOOL fans that arose after taking in their Saturday set. The stories of the weekend are many, but the best way to highlight the weekend is to describe the still-legendary ultimate Sunday Funday. We left the home-base Hard Rock hotel to start the day with a quick trip to the beach, followed by drinks at the Trump Tower, all before hitting Grant Park for the last day of the festival. Last day headliner decisions are always tough, but for us it had to Deadmau5, and from the linked video, you can see why. We kept the party going with a club performance by MSTRKRFT, followed by late night debauchery leading right up to our Monday departures. In a weekend full of H-to-H's (most initiated by yours truly), Lolla 2009 is best described in true H-to-H style as the type of weekend that makes you realize how fortunate you are to have a wealth of friends and amazing shared experiences. Thanks for setting the stage for so many, and for 20 years running...
Saturday night of Lollapalooza 2009, The day had been full of a lot of great music, from Arctic Monkeys, Delta Spirit, and Ezra Furman to Rise Against and Tool. Needless to say I had been standing all day in the heat. I still managed to trek over to Shuba's for an aftershow featuring Cage the Elephant and Dan Auerbach. It was about midnight when Cage the Elephant started their set. This was my first experience with the band, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. From the first note of the 35 minute plus set they kept the energy up in a room full of people who had been standing 10 hours in the heat. I was blown away. How could a band this good have slipped through my grasp. After their set I made friends with the people standing on the benches along the wall. Dan Auerbach and his band walked in off the street and played an awe-inspiring hour long set. By the time they were done it was nearly 2am and the temperature in the room felt like it was 95 degrees. I was tired, sweating, and my legs hurt. But I had just experienced one of the best, most intimate shows I have ever been to. It was a concert that has stuck with me for a long time, and Cage the Elephant has become one of my favorite live bands to see on tour. Lollapalooza has become an event that not only offers me a chance to see some of my favorite bands live, but acts as a showcase for bands for me to discover. Year in and year out I have discovered new music and I'm hoping Lollapalooza 2011 will become the 5th year in a row that I get to discover and support new music.
My girlfriend of almost two years and I met on the last night of Lollapalooza 2009. Just as the Killers kicked into "Human" to open their set, Lizzie ran into me as she and her friend were looking for a good spot for the show. She apologized, we shared a laugh and some Cherry Coke, watched most of the show together and then realized we were both staying at the Congress Hotel across the street. After the festival was over, we spent hours talking back at the hotel. I was attending college in Colorado at the time and she was finishing up her degree in Minnesota, so we kept in touch long-distance and only saw each other once every month or so. Last June, we moved into a Minneapolis apartment together and have been living in harmony ever since. It's all thanks to Lollapalooza!
So it was the second night at perrys and I was dancing with this girl for a good 20 min until the show ended. After the show this girl gave me a fat kiss on the lips (my first kiss at 14) and walked off to who I thought was her friend. Her friend I believe was her lesbian lover and she was one of those steroid lifter and she towered over me. Then re pair made out while I looked wide eyed from afar. After the kiss the steroid chick gave a look that said I will snap you in half if you do that again, I nearly pissed myself!
Following the triumph of 2008’s festival, Lollapalooza further extended its deal with the Chicago Park District through 2018. Selling out for a second year in a row, Lollapalooza 2009’s lineup consisted of an audacious stable of college rockers and indie acts such as Animal Collective, Bon Iver and Band of Horses, as well as seasoned headliners like Depeche Mode, Tool, and The Killers.
A spate of poor weather couldn’t dampen fans spirits, and the festival won hearts and minds left and right in the press. Jane’s Addiction’s performed with their original lineup for the first time since 1991, marking their third headlining appearance at Lollapalooza - a first for the festival. In a moment of tribute, Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig dedicated the band’s performance of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” to the recently deceased film director and 80s tastemaker, John Hughes.
The Beastie Boys were initially scheduled to headline, but had to pull out from the festival after member Adam Yauch discovered he had a cancerous tumor. The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s jumped in as a last minute replacement and delivered a rousing glammy disco-punk set that was one for the history books.