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Show Review: Lollapalooza (Part 2)
Show Review: Lollapalooza (Part 2)
08/12/11 at 07:51 PM by Alex DiVincenzo

In case you missed it, read the first part of my coverage here.

Sunday began with a little bit of Titus Andronicus. I only caught their last song, "Four Score and Seven," and then I went to see Rival Schools. Frontman Walter Schreifels is hardcore royalty, having previously been a part of Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand and more. Rival Schools is more rock oriented with some post-hardcore moments, but Schreifels has maintained his intensity after all these years.

While waiting around for City and Colour, I caught most of Noah & The Whale's set. They performed an instrumental cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which was pretty cool. As for City and Colour, I prefer it when Dallas Green is solo, but the full band performance added some nice harmonies as well as a slide guitar. That said, the highlight was when Green told everyone to put away their cameras and phones for an intimate, acoustic version of "Body in a Box." The hour-long set came to an end with "Sometimes (I Wish)."

Lollapalooza veterans Flogging Molly had one of the most fun crowds of the weekend, with many of the audience members wildly dancing to the band's Celtic/folk punk. They played fan favorites such as "Requiem for a Dying Song," "Float" and the set-ending "The Seven Deadly Sins." As if it were St. Patrick's Day, it seemed like everyone was Irish for that hour.

I caught a little bit of the The Cars, who, to my knowledge, were the eldest band on the show. They recently released their first album in 24 years, and the band still rocks it. I was a little surprised that they didn't play more of the hits; instead the set was heavy with new material. It still had a few classics, though, including "Just What I Needed," "Magic" and closer "You're All I've Got Tonight."

Portugal. The Man were up next. It was nearly poetic how they ended their set with "People Say" and a cover of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger" before the foreboding, cloudy skies turned to rainfall. (Unfortunately, the band's luck was short-lived; their van and trailer were stolen that day.) The torrential downpour delayed the show for about a half hour. When it finally let up, the damage was done. With only a few ours left of an otherwise beautiful weekend, the field was reduced to a mess of mud. Naturally, this resulted in people drunkenly sliding around in it.

As a result of the delay, Arctic Monkeys and Explosions in the Sky each played abridged sets. The latter remarked that they had to "fit an hour of rock into 45 minutes." Neither group let the restraints slow them down, however. Explosions in the Sky's instrumental post-rock sounded excellent, but most people left their set toward to end to get a good spot for the day's main event.

While the audience was diluted - many people left during the rain, and Kid Cudi, Deadmau5 and Cold War Kids were all playing at the same time - Lollapalooza saved the best for last. In terms of showmanship, Foo Fighters delivered one of the best rock shows I've ever witnessed. It poured rain again for a short while during their two hour performance, but iconic frontman Dave Grohl exclaimed "I don't give a fuck if it's raining!" and continued to rock harder than ever. If anything, the rain only added to the monumental feel of the performance. Grohl even ended up in the audience at one point.

Foo Fighters played most of their hits ("All My Life" was noticeably absent, and their self-titled debut album was ignored), including "My Hero," "Learn to Fly," "Monkey Wrench," "Let It Die" and "Best of You." The also threw a couple of curve balls, such as "Cold Day in the Sun" with drummer Taylor Hawkins - whom dedicated the song to Perry Farrell - on vocals and a cover for Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues." The colossal performance concluded with "Everlong," after which an emphatic Farrell came out and thanked the crowd for their attendance.

My first Lollapalooza experience was undoubtedly a memorable one, and I hope to return for more fun in the future. As a music fan, it's truly a dream come true. There is a minimum of three bands performing at any given time, so even if you aren't familiar with anyone playing at a particular moment, you can walk around and discover a new favorite band. Nearly every artist expressed their joy in performing at the iconic event, and it's no surprise that it's just as fun to be in a band for the festival as it is being in the audience.

A special thanks goes out to the folks that make Lollapalooza happen, from the organizers, to the sponsors, to the bands, and everyone along the way. Additional kudos go to the officials of the city of Chicago, who close off the beautiful Grant Park and some of the surrounding streets to make way for the event. Putting together such a spectacular event takes a village (or city, as it were), but the end surely justifies the means.

So here we are, 20 years removed from Lollapalooza's inaugural run. I may have only been 2 years old when it started, but it's great to see that it's still going strong. (Tickets were sold out for all three days.) Sure, the type of music has strayed a bit from where it once was, and some may decry the mainstream appeal, but the core ideals remain intact. No matter what their pleasure, alternative music fans can find an escape at Lollapalooza.

Photos by Srikanth Vedachalam
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