Free Lollapalooza, Hooray!


One of the best free days I've ever had.

It’s been a good few days: Saturday night, my girlfriend and I were told by our friend Kelly (now officially known as The Coolest Girl On The Planet), a St. Louis radio station employee who happened to be working this weekend’s Lollapalooza music festival, that she had been able to procure some free passes for us to get into Sunday’s final day to see the bands thenewno2, Perry Farrell, MGMT, and the headliners, Soundgarden.

As a huge music fan who lives in Chicago but was always too poor to buy tickets, I was extremely giddy.

We arrived at Grant Park around 2:30 p.m. and met The Coolest.  She gave us our “Media” wristbands and we walked in and headed straight for the Kidzapalooza stage, where my girlfriend’s one true love, Dhani Harrison — George’s son — was playing with his band, thenewno2.  That’s right, a The Prisoner reference to bring out the geek in me.

Despite Harrison competing for the affection of my girlfriend, he and his band mates put on a hell of a show, with a short set that consisted of an amazing cover of The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” which had me grinning and dancing like the nerd I am.

It was then when Lollapalooza founder, Jane’s Addiction, and Porno for Pyros singer Perry Farrell came onstage to play with Harrison and his band, playing his Porno for Pyros song, “Pets,” which was very good, if a little odd for Kidzapalooza for its use of the word “fuck” in the lyrics, but that’s neither here nor there, especially with the amount of weed I smelled in the air, most of it coming from the kids’ negligent parents.  And thus concludes the parenting advice section of the article.

After an amusing anecdote about growing up idolizing Lou Reed, only to meet rock’s grumpiest man face to face, Farrell and co. launched into a great rendition of “Sweet Jane.”

After some food, we went to the sweet media area and hung out with The Coolest and watched her kick out a fence jumper.  Then she gave us free beer!  And given the $7 beers being hawked at all the other festival goers, I was even more pumped.

Then we headed to see MGMT, and the New York band put on a very good show, even though we missed the beginning and were stuck on the very edge of the crowd.  Their live versions of “Time to Pretend” and “It’s Working” are not to be missed.  If you have a chance to see them, do it.

We knew seeing MGMT would mean sacrificing a great spot during Soundgarden, but I was so excited to see the newly reformed grunge gods that I wouldn’t have cared if I’d been set on fire for the entire set.  We went back to the media area for more free beer and had a pretty awesome view of the main stage, and then the band erupted onstage and dazzled me for sure, and everyone else seemed pretty jazzed too.

It was more than just a greatest hits set, but the biggest cheers were reserved for songs like “Spoonman” and “Fell On Black Days” and, of course, “Black Hole Sun.” The band looks great, but with one of my main man crushes, Chris Cornell, leading the charge, I couldn’t expect anything less.  Seriously, the man is pushing 50 and is in better shape than I am.  They also seem to be getting along, which is always a plus for a band that hasn’t been together in more than a decade.

After seeing Soundgarden, I was no longer torn about having to miss Arcade Fire, another band I really like, who were playing at the other side of the park.  I was especially glad to find out rumors of an onstage collaboration with David Bowie were unfounded.

As you can probably tell, my first time at Lollapalooza was a pretty kick-ass experience.  I might even pay for it sometime in the future.

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