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After attending Lollapalooza in 2008 and witnessing what I consider the most incredible lineup I've ever seen, I couldn't imagine that my Lolla experience could ever be as good. I was wrong. I rushed down from the Metra station with my friends Friday morning. It was the opening day of Lollapalooza and my friends and I had to be the first ones there. Of course, we aren't the only dedicated Chicagoans, and ended up waiting in a massive crowd. However, that’s just part of every years’ Lolla adventure, and I have come to enjoy standing in anticipation amongst hundreds of other concert lovers, discussing my personal Lolla picks. After getting inside and seeing a few shows, I noticed that I was beginning to be slightly worn out. Rest has never really come across my mind at Lolla, not even the year before when I went a week and a half after a knee surgery and refused to sit. This time I gave in and sat down with my friends by the BMI stage, just as Semi Precious Weapons were beginning to play. “Let’s goooo!!” My friend Taylor Katz whined, “I really want to see them!” Reluctantly, I got up and walked with her into the crowd. However, Taylor is a tricky girl. “I’ll make out with you if we get to the front row!” Being six foot five, I don’t have an issue getting to the front row, and my close friends have learned to stick with me at shows. So, I dragged Taylor behind me as close to the front as I could, finally posting up about five to ten feet from the stage. While watching the show, I noticed a peculiar figure standing behind the stage. I considered the copious amount of alcohol we consumed on the train, but concluded that it was in fact Lady Gaga. My friend Tayor, probably the biggest Lady Gaga fan I know, confirmed this. About halfway into the show, to my surprise, Lady Gaga actually came onstage, almost completely naked, and proceeded to play along with the drummer and then make out with the front man. Well this was worth getting up for, I thought. As I stood there thinking how cool this was, Lady Gaga proceeded to jump into the crowd. I instantly lunged forward, as did everyone, and was able to grab onto Lady Gaga’s hand, until she was pulled out by security. With everything going on, I couldn’t imagine that every next moment could get any better, but then of course Lady Gaga jumped back in the crowd, rolled over a few times and mounted me. Hahaha, yea. As I grabbed onto Lady Gaga’s hot naked bod, I was in utter disbelief. Above me was Lady Gaga yelling something, to my side were security guards yelling at me to pass her back, and all around me were a ton of screaming fans that weren’t fortunate/tall enough to catch her. Being slightly intoxicated, I concluded that my next move should be to make out with her stomach, and that’s exactly what I did. Most news stations (The Huffington post) would go on to say that I licked her stomach. Most of my friends just joke that I did other things. But all in all, holding Lady Gaga will rein the top spot among the coolest moments in my life. I can't wait to see what Lolla 2011 has in store for me (does Dave Grohl stage dive?).
When I was in high school, I was a huge Jane's Addiction and RHCP fan and music helped me through difficult times as a teenager. I first attended Lollapalooza in 1991 at the Virginia stop. It was my first concert and my first road trip. I also attended the next year in 1992. I now have four sons who absolutely love rock and alternative music. Two of my sons, Cam and Nate (twins) have become incredible rock guitarists (Nate has been playing since he was 7) and play in their own band called Redeem Release, who plays shows in our local area once every couple of months, and recently won a regional battle of the bands competition. They love Green Day, Jane’s Addiction, RHCP, and especially Foo Fighters. Nate, who is the lead guitarist says he wants to play Lollapalooza one day. What an incredible goal for an 11 year old to have! I took my sons to their first Lollapalooza last year. We could only stay for one day, but we were able to see seven bands play - with Green Day closing down night. My boys loved every single second of their Lolla experience. My oldest son, Josh is an enormous Green Day fan and watched the entire show from the very front and still talks about his trip to Lollapalooza regularly. The biggest moment for me during the trip last year was when I took my twins into the front of the crowd for the Green Day show. They took turns sitting on my shoulders as we experienced Green Day’s kick ass set. As we were watching the show - many people came up and said to me – “that is so fucking cool - bringing your kids to this show” and “I wish my dad took me to shows when I was a kid.” People were high-fiving my twins and admiring their interest in Lollapalooza. After the show, my son Nate said, "Dad, I don't feel like we went to see Lollapalooza, I feel like we were PART of Lollapalooza." We are still trying to save extra money out of our budget to go to Lollapalooza this year – I’ve already decided to sell some of my music memorabilia to go if necessary. We live in Michigan (Rochester Hills) so having the opportunity to see Eminem would be so memorable (I’ve never seen him in concert, but am a huge fan) and my twins are out-of-their-mind excited to see Foo Fighters. Attached to this story is a photo of my twins at last year's show and a video of their band, Redeem Release playing. Nate is the one with the long hair and Cameron is the one with the blonde hair (how ironic is this? They are twins - one looks like Dave Grohl (Nirvana era) with long brown hair and Cameron looks just like Eminem (slim shady era) with short blonde hair in facial features). Make sure you watch the video starting at the 1:50 mark – Nate shreds out a guitar solo! Thanks for 20 years of Lollapalooza, Perry. And most of all, thanks for music and culture that has impacted my family in such a deep way. Josh Moser
I came to Lollapalooza 2010 all the way from Vermont with two of my best friends. We were looking forward to a great weekend in Chicago and were not let down. I saw some of my favorite bands that weekend, opening with the Strokes first night, seeing Spoon and Phoenix the second night, and other great acts during the day including the xx, Mumford and Sons, Switchfoot, Matt and Kim, etc. Matt and Kim put on an awesome energy-packed show and it remains to this day the roughest/craziest show I've ever been to but every part of it is a good memory and a good story. By the third day we were exhausted. We had to lie in the shade after the heat of the pavement in front of the stage where we saw Mumford and Sons. Then we saw MGMT that afternoon, which was great because all three of us had loved them since Oracular Spectacular, and we all loved Congratulations. I don't know how we still had energy to dance around a bit at MGMT, but we did. Highlights of that show include a girl who was a bit out of her mind unzipping my shirt, announcing she had a zipper on her shirt too, unzipping it, and flashing me her bra. Can't say that happens at every concert! THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: Anyways, by this time in the festival we had learned that it's advantageous to become friends with the people around you so if it gets rough, or if you're dancing, or if your head gets jammed in that tall guy's armpit during the final crunch, it's not awkward. We started talking to a kid next to us whose name was Josh. He was a year older than us and the excitement on his face was so clear. He really really loved Arcade Fire and was talking very animatedly to us about everything. We talked to him for a good 40 minutes about everything from what we had seen that past 3 days, to where we are from. "Vermont? how did you guys end up out here? Don't you have Ben&Jerry's and maple syrup there?" He was so much fun to talk to, and I talked to him for a while about the Suburbs, Neon Bible, etc. We were excited to see Arcade Fire, but after talking to him we were at ease with the people around us and exponentially more excited. He got moved around a little bit as the show progressed, but I just remember the look on his face when they opened with Ready to Start and he looked at us, grinning and said, "Of course they would open with this song" They played a ridiculously good set, closing with an encore of Wake Up which gives me chills to this day. Anyways the point of this story is really to see if Josh, from Arcade Fire Lolla 2010, who lives near Chicago, to see if he remembers the 3 random girls he met from Vermont and if he's going again this year, to ask if he wants to see Foo Fighters with us, because we will be the kind of excited he was last year, and his excitement was so great last year. I will never forget that Arcade Fire show and how glorious they are. (email me if you see this and happen to remember us email@example.com)
"On August 7, 2010, my parents took me to Lollapalooza in Grant Park in Chicago. When my mom and dad asked me if I wanted to go, I thought about it for a long time. The reason why I went there was because it gave me the chance to see new bands. It was a long, hot, sweaty, and sometimes smelly day. It was fun being there. We saw a band called Blues Traveler and then we went to look for souvenirs. I got a Green Day shirt. Then we met up with the Barrioses and saw Social Distortion and Green Day in concert. It was awesome, and one of the best days of my life so far!" --Aaron K. for a school project. My 9-year old son Aaron has always been a quirky kid. Not into sports, not a lot of friends except for one or two best friends, quiet and very much in his own world except when performing for a crowd, funny and off-beat, polite and caring. The summer of 2010 was a rough one for him and me. He was displaying some strange behaviors at home and at school. When we talked to various professionals, he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and possible Asperger syndrome. Through all of this, Aaron has had music. His love of music really took off when we bought him and his two brothers the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. He started as the singer for "Monkey Bite" - but he would listen to the original CD tracks to the songs, getting them perfect before every performing them with the family band. We knew we had something when he proclaimed in second grade "Run to the Hills" by Iron Maiden as his favorite song. Then came the Beatles game where he began playing guitar and singing. That turned into interest in a real guitar and he has been playing his Yamaha acoustic and Fender Standard Strat for two years now. Then came Green Day where he again listened to dad's CD faithfully memorizing the songs before playing them on the Wii - I fell down laughing the first time he almost sang "f-ing" in "Letterbomb". Aaron has permission to say the censored swear words in the lyrics, but only when playing the game. After all, the artist intended to say "fuck them all," right? His mom and I have been to Lollapalooza festivals in the 90's and came back for the entire full hot rainy weekend in 2009. In 2010, we had day passes for the Green Day headliner. That morning we realized that the festival generously admits kids Aaron's age for free. She and I discussed it and then asked Aaron if he wanted to see one of his favorite bands. But we warned him - it would be hot and dusty outside, we were there to see the music and not run to the bathroom every 10 minutes or keep running for food and it would be crowded and noisy and a long long day. We were almost trying to talk him out of it. He heard our offer, went to his room for 15 minutes to think about it, and came out in his favorite Beatles t-shirt ready to go. Kidzapalooza was the first stop - karaoke videos, henna tattoos, spray painted hair. Then we hit our first show, right up front for a great set from Blues Traveler. Aaron was hooked, slowly getting comfortable enough to dance with the crowd, excited when he recognized the band performing a cover of Sublime's "What I Got". He jumped with the crowd at Gogol Bordello and played a mean air guitar with AFI and Against Me. Social Distortion was a highlight of the day. Set up close to the stage with some friends from California who knew Mike and the boys from way back when, Aaron was bouncing and dancing and strumming when the mosh pit opened up right behind us. I turned to hold the circle, doing pullouts and guarding the kids behind me (my 46-year old friend Gil did the same until he was compelled himself to join the melee). Someone decided to slingshot from the circle toward the stage, sweeping up Aaron in the process. Both Gil and I shot after him, following the wave of people being swept up. When we finally got our hands on Aaron and pulled him back, the kid shook that last little scariness away and had a huge smile. No, he wasn't quite ready to run the circle, but he was definitely into the abandon and excitement of the moment. Of course, the night was capped by a fantastic set by Green Day. We were 9 hours in and Aaron still was going strong. We watched from the hill to the right of the stage, but twice he wanted to rush forward, first when Billie Joe pulled a bunch of kids onstage and again when he knew he could sing Longview perfectly in front of thousands of screaming people. (Yes, he assured me, he would have had no problem singing "when masturbation's lost its fun you're fucking lazy" in front of the world.) Lollapalooza 2010 was both a challenge and an opportunity for Aaron and not only did he go through that door, he kicked it off the hinges. I was so proud of him to put himself out there in what was an unknown and possibly scary environment to enjoy something he loved and create a memory that he will carry forever. He still wears the t-shirt and tells the story; his hair is longer and his ears are pierced, not because of any rock star or his parents or friends, but because his is still in that moment where thousands of people who looked and walked and acted different from one another came together and enjoyed the music. Today, Lollapalooza is a defining moment in his life, the time when he was comfortable in his own skin and knew who he was and where he wanted to go. Today, he is asking me if we can do it again this year. He is already listening to all my Foo Fighters CDs...just in case Dave needs some help singing.
Last summer my friends and I realized that it would be the last summer we'd all be together in our home town. So we decided to attend Lollapalooza 2010, and make it the most epic college send off ever. We rode the south shore at 8 am to get to Grant Park before the gates opened. As soon as the mass of people started flooding the gates of the 19th Lollapalooza, thus began the greatest weekend of our lives. We saw as many bands as we could from virtually unknown to pop stars as close as we could get, we met Spoon, MGMT and members of The National, my brother pulled Matt into the crowd at Matt & Kim's set for a crowd surf, we sang with Matt Berninger from The National as he pushed through the crowd at their set, we survived off of 1$ baguettes and apples from the market, we crammed 9 people in a friends tiny hotel room that he got as a grad present. At the end of three days, it all came together at Arcade Fire's set when they encored with "Wake Up." It was the best way we could have ever spent our last few days of summer 2010.
Lollapalooza showed its willingness to take big risks to please fans in 2010. The consequent decision to include both Green Day (who also performed in the 1994 tour) and pop sensation Lady Gaga – a 2007 Lolla veteran – as headliners was deemed a controversial choice by many at the time. But the festival’s gamble paid off, as her performance ultimately won a mountain of praise and a boatload of buzz.
With a lineup that also showcased rockers The Strokes, indie-ensemble – and 2005 Lolla veterans – Arcade Fire, critical darlings The National, and rappers Cypress Hill, 2010’s Lollapalooza was an smoldering supernova of pop, hip-hop and rock acts. Following in the footsteps of fellow 90s rockers Jane’s Addiction, grunge pioneers Soundgarden became the second band to headline three Lollapaloozas (reprising appearances from 1992 and 1996). Perry’s came into its own, garnering attention for its killer lineup and huge crowds that came to catch bleeding-edge beats from artists like Empire of the Sun, Digitalism, and Kidz in the Hall.
Providing energy for hungry fest-goers, Lollapalooza’s food court, christened ChowTown, was tastefully curated by renowned Chicago chef Graham Elliott, putting affordable, local, and deliciously unique flavors of several of the city’s favorite restaurants in fans’ hands.
Just three years after her performance on one of Lolla’s side stages with her then sidekick Lady Starlight, Lady Gaga rode into Lollapalooza 2010 during the height of her Monster Ball tour as one of the festival’s headliners. She’s come a long way, baby.