By the final day of this year’s Lollapalooza, things had become decidedly messy. It was muddier, stickier, sloppier and probably just as, if not more, crowded than Saturday. I probably saw more people pass out or get carried off by medics than the other two days combined, and I definitely got bumped into or shoved more. I believe all of this to be primarily due to a do-or-die, “it’s-the-last-f*&king-day-dude!” attendee mentality that, in spite of annoying me to no end, had no bearing on the awesome last-day music performances.
Sunday’s lineup featured the National, Yeasayer, Felix da Housecat, Cypress Hill, Wolfmother, Erykah Badu, and headliners Digitalism, Arcade Fire, and Soundgarden. For once, my tendency to run late actually worked for me, and I conveniently missed out on the early-afternoon rain. Though the rest of the day stayed pretty humid, festivalgoers at least stayed dry (unless, of course, they were doused by the security guards cooling down crowds by emptying water bottles overhead).
In what was hopefully a timing misfire and not a deliberate act of rockstar machismo, Wolfmother’s wailing guitar riffs cut short the last soulful notes of Erykah Badu’s set. (The two stages shared the same basic field space and were supposed to alternate.) Singer Andrew Stockdale later commented to the crowd, “There’s a dragonfly over there. I think it’s Jimi Hendrix who came back to bless this festival!” Hmm.
Elsewhere, the dance stage had MSTRKRFT’s JFK subbing for Dirty South: No complaints from the crowd, who went ballistic for the dirty electro. Flosstradamus followed with more of the same, but included a live video to nearly rival that of 2ManyDJs. (Best impromptu moment: As they played a snippet from The Lion King theme, onstage friends raised their baby up to the crowd.)
I managed to check out just a bit of MGMT and Cypress Hill’s sets (on opposite ends of the park). MGMT attracted a massive crowd that looked to be the same size as Phoenix’s headlining set before on the same stage. (Come to think of it, it’s likely that the crowd was composed of the exact same people.) I did catch a rousing, perfect late-afternoon “Time to Pretend” and some other “jamming.” By all accounts, fans were well pleased. I wasn’t able to infiltrate the main audience for Cypress Hill enough to see if younger kids came to check out the hip-hop legends, but it seemed that the people who did come out had a good time partying with Cypress Hill. After hits like “Insane in the Brain,” the rappers smoked blunts (well, at least what looked like blunts) on stage and asked the crowd, “Does Chicago get high?” It’s nice to see some things never change.
Over at Perry’s dance stage, Chicago’s own house/electroclash legend Felix da Housecat showed off his impressive skill at working the crowd, throwing in an equal amount of known crowdpleasers and delightful surprises. The kids might not be familiar with old-school, “jack-your-body” house, but when Felix asked them to “Show some love for the old school! That’s why I’m here!” they obediently and enthusiastically responded. Other highlights included a sing-along to Zombie Nation’s “Kernkraft 400,” dropping “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and his own “Silver Screen (Shower Scene),” and prefacing “Rollin’ & Scratchin’” with “Guess what, y’all? My momma loves Daft Punk, and she’s right here!”
Dance headline act Digitalism followed with an even harder pumping electro set to end the night. Much heavier (and with more humor) than you’d expect from Germany’s Jence and Isi, known for their own intricate, spacy melodies, the duo threw its own hits (“Idealistic,” “Zdarlight”) in with stuff like Carte Blanche’s “Gare du Nord” and yet another version of “Kernkraft 400.”
Despite the overcrowding, heat, bug bites, blisters, and fatigue, yes, I would without a doubt return next year (presuming the lineup is once again killer). Still hard to argue whether Coachella or Lollapalooza is the better festival, but at this point, each gives the other a run for its money. Start saving now for next year’s festival season, music lovers.
- Most ‘90s moment: Watching Perry Farrell pose for photo op with Cypress Hill. Too bad the members of Soundgarden weren’t around to jump in.
- The best thing I had to eat at Chow Town all weekend were the hush puppies from the Southern. OMFG. I will be paying for them for the next month, but they were absolutely delicious.
- I didn’t notice this last year, but the mosquitos were absolutely vicious this year. It’s great that Lollapalooza organizers really push the whole “stay hydrated, use sunscreen” thing, but I think they need to start doling out free bug repellent or at least tell people to bring their own next year.
- The fence jumping was completely out of control. (I heard there’s video on YouTube of some of it — at times comical but mostly just scary.) I really can’t fathom why these kids will risk severe bodily injury (there was some serious high-speed chasing around/through inanimate objects) and possible jail time (as overheard by security guards talking about charging someone with assault and battery) for a few hours of standing in crowds to listen to music they could probably hear on the other side of the fence. If you can’t afford the ticket, go to a much cheaper Lolla aftershow. No jail, no hospital, and you get to see your favorite act in an intimate venue. Seriously.
Photo galleries of Lollapalooza 2010:
Recap of Lollapalooza 2010: