My overall tastes: I consider myself a seasoned Bonnaroo veteran with a penchant for funk, soul and jam bands with deep Hammond B-3 organ grooves and raucous rhythm sections.
Bands I play on repeat: Karl Denson, Galactic, Soulive, New Mastersounds, Funky Meters, Chicago Afrobeat Project, Sonia Dada
First cassette: Most likely ‘80s metal—either Metallica’s Master Of Puppets or Iron Maiden's Killers.
Last five artists purchased on iTunes: The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson, Sly & the Family Stone, Mississippi Allstars, The Black Keys.
Gear: keys, phone, money, sunscreen, schedule, bandanna, camera
My Lolla lineup: Click to view my festival schedule (pdf file)
MY SPENDING DIARY
GRAND TOTAL: $51
Friday: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals’ performance was large and loud, a powerful show throughout, but the true highlight came to those who stuck around for the last song, as Eddie Vedder joined Ben on stage for a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War.”
Saturday: Demonstrating that the Rastafarian consciousness is still alive and well amongst mainstream music, Stephen Marley’s positive lyrics dealt with subjects like faith, love, poverty and injustice. Delivering the Wailers’ crowd classics like “No Woman, No Cry,” it is no doubt his father would be very proud.
Sunday: I missed them when they played at Taste of Chicago. This time I made sure to catch acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Their amazingly fast and beautifully arranged songs put me on my feet and kept me there the entire set. A medley of popular covers into their songs, like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was a bonus.
NEW DISCOVERIESFriday: Everyone knew who these guys were but me. “Well, duh, The Black Keys are good,” is the response I got when I shared my “new discovery.” The guys in the Black Keys are from Akron, Ohio, which, I am told, automatically makes them double cool.
Saturday: Instead of wandering aimlessly through unknown-to-me indie bands, I held steady and rocked out back-to-back to the new-on-the-scene The Hold Steady and Spoon. With pounding guitar and story-telling lyrics, both shows were smart (albeit lucky) picks, as I was not left wishing I were at some other stage.
Sunday: You probably missed them. You were probably heading to the south side of the park to secure a good spot for the Pearl Jam show. Lingering last on the Adidas stage, but definitely never to be least—enter Café Tacuba. This raucous, Grammy award-winning rock group from Mexico lit up the stage, sending their adoring fans into absolute hysteria.
LOW POINTS ON MY HEALTH METER
Friday: Work interferes with fun, so I didn’t get down into Lolla until later in the day. Despite missing Soulive, one of my top bands, I jumped right in. Before I knew it, I was at full throttle, the great music, great weather and energetic crowd guiding me throughout the night. No low points on the health meter.
Saturday: None—Smooth sailing throughout the day.
Sunday: HotHotHeat—the weather, not the band. But I wasn't too pooped for Iggy Pop. I secured a small spot in the shade—not an easy endeavor as these cool spots were a hot commodity. Later, Café Tacuba and Pearl Jam lifted my spirits and my day to new highs. Again, no low points.
FAVORITE CROWD MOMENT
The manic stage presence of 60-year-old punk rocker Iggy Pop alone is legendary. But when hundreds of adrenaline-infused fans heeded Iggy’s call to join him onstage, hurdling barricades and big-armed security guards, the scene erupted into a frenzied melee, unleashing the raw spirit of Lollapalooza. Photos couldn’t sufficiently capture the weekend’s epic moment, but at least I have proof. And my friends will have to believe me when I tell the story over and over again.
SUCCESSFUL BACKSTAGE ATTEMPTS
I'm not sure who, but someone underestimated the size of the fan base for indie rockers Cold War Kids. Set up on the smaller Citi stage, thousands of loyal hipsters flocked to the spot, creating the worst bottleneck of the weekend.
Huh? I’ve never been to a music festival where one could honestly answer the question, “Do you know where the petting zoo is?”
I thoroughly enjoyed my time riding the Lollapalooza ship. It was constantly rocking. From the casual observers to the front-row hipsters and everyone in between, the crowd was kind. There were many visible expressions of love at Lollapalooza. And now I can say I have a lot of love for Lollapalooza. Eddie Vedder said it best: “Now why go home? Why go home?” I smiled the whole way back.
Photography: TOM PALMER