For whatever reason (i.e., because Pearl Jam was playing on the radio) I have been thinking a lot about Lollapalooza lately. Some of my greatest concert memories have been there, which I feel like is kind of weird for a big festival. But I am going to recount them to you now. Get excited.
1) 2005: The south end of Grant Park was packed on Sunday night as we prepared for the weekend to end. Weezer and The Pixies were headlining that night on neighboring stages. I’ve never really been into The Pixies, but as I stood there in a crowd of strangers, I heard familiar chords waft my way. This whole park full of people sang “Where Is My Mind” together before Weezer took the stage to close out the night. It was Neat.
2) 2007: I was living in Chicago, so it was extra fun this year. But the best part was when Pearl Jam played—again, the last set of the weekend, on Sunday night, at the south stage, and I was perfectly drunk and I Met A Boy. We never found out each other’s names, but we sang the theme song to Growing Pains to each other (“Show me that smile again”) and he made sure I didn’t get crushed by crowd(surfer)s. Also I met Pete Yorn, and Sherwood and MrNorth played.
3) 2009: By 25 I decided I was too old for throngs and shoving, so I watched the Killers from about as far back as I could be, at the top of the hill facing the south stages. I had kind of lost track of The Killers after their first album, but I enjoyed the unknown songs so much that I stayed till the end, and all of us scattered on the hill sang along quietly, alone together, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.”
4) 2009: By this point Band of Horses was my favorite band, and they were closing out Sunday’s night before whatever incarnation of Perry Farrell’s band was playing. Jane’s, I guess. Lou Reed had bled into BOH’s set time with a mumbling, sprawling, boring song, but you don’t cut off Lou Reed, you know? So we were all worried that they’d play fewer songs, and when their hour was up we all cheered to the point that they played right over Jane’s Addiction. I was down close for this, and the energy as they closed out their set with “The General Specific”—I still get chills thinking about those few minutes. That was just perfect.
I know these things are normally top 5, but I can’t put another story in there. Just four moments of bliss that I can still recall with perfect clarity.