Thursday, August 09, 2007

Lollapalooza 2007

So last week one of my bestest friends came to visit me in Chicago. Yay! Euna came with her boyfriend, Travis, and his two friends Vinny and Chris to go to Lollapalooza (Lolla). Well the guys were here for Lolla. Euna, about two weeks before her arrival, suggested that we go too. Now I know I mentioned in a previous entry that I would not be attending, but after Euna said, “Well we should go at least for one day,” we bought day tickets for Saturday. I also became a little more open to the idea about going after reading Wayne Coyne’s article in the Onion AV Club about surviving summer festivals: Maybe I had been approaching this festival thing the wrong way. So I should go for the experience and my friends, not necessarily making myself crazy trying to see band. Okay, I’ll try it. Oh and avoid booze if it’s hot. Got it.

So Saturday arrived with an overcast sky and muggy air. Euna, Travis, and I took our time getting up and heading to the festival. We had gone out on Friday and needed some sleeping-in to make us functional for the day. Plus the old Stefania would have been crazy and would have wanted to arrive when the gates opened at 10:30am, but chill Stefania was going to go with the festival flow. On our way to the El station we played “Paparazzi.” This is a game I made up after my friend Allison visited her now brother-in-law in London and while she was showing me photos pf her trip there was a series of her and her now husband walking down the street looking like they were photographed by the paparazzi. Just think People or Us Weekly.

“Super couple Euna and Travis strolling the Chicago street on a weekend get away”
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“Stefania and Travis shield their faces from the camera in Chicago…and they say they are just friends…”
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So we arrived to Lollapalooza around 1:30pm. The gate looked welcoming, and I won’t lie I got excited about being there.
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It was being held in Grant Park, home of the famous Buckingham Fountain.
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We first made out way over to the Adidas stage to see Pete Yorn. He was actually one of the acts that I really wanted to see since I have yet to see him live. We got there about 15 minutes after he had started. It seemed like he played a lot off of his first album: “Just Another,” “Closet,” “Murray,” “On Your Side,” but he also played some stuff off of his latest album. To be honest with you, I own it, I just have really gotten into it yet. But after hearing him play some of the new stuff I realized I need to give it another listen. The highlight of his set was when he did a cover of Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks.” It was awesome!

Stefania and Pete Yorn
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After Pete Yorn was over, we had a little bit of time before the next act we wanted to see, Cold War Kids (CWK), were playing. The nice thing about going to the festival with Travis is that we have the same musical taste and wanted to see the same bands. His friends were also on board. Euna was there along for the ride. So before CWK I wanted to stop by the merch tent to see my friend Josh. We met through my friend Paul when they both worked the Widespread Panic tour for the past year. Josh, who was the crew chief…ooh la la, was doing well and filled me in on which bands were selling the most shirts. It was no surprise it was Pearl Jam and Daft Punk.

Stefania and Josh aka Crew Chief
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After catching up with Josh and him having to go back and crunch numbers, we headed toward the Citibank stage for CWK. We got their kinda early, so we were able to get a decent spot. Like most of the acts that played on Saturday I had seen them before. I knew CWK were going to put on a good show. And once they took the stage and started out with “Pregnant” I knew they again would not disappoint. They played the usual: “Saint John,” We Used to Vacation,” “Hospital Beds,” and then a new track that doesn’t have a title yet. We ended up leaving a little bit before their set was over to move towards the stage Regina Spektor was going to be on.

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But on our way over to Regina we made a stop to explore some of the exhibits they had as well as do some shopping in the Green Street area. I bought a really cool Andy Warhol purse and we got some fun photos:

Euna and Stefania as flowers
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Vinny as Atlas
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Vinny and his twin
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After we were done exploring and shopping we started to move towards the stage. I personally didn’t want to see Regina Spektor. I have nothing against her, but CSS was supposed to be playing at the same time, and I really wanted to see them. However, before the CWK took the stage we found out CSS was not going to be there due to their delayed flight. I knew they had played the Virgin Music Festival in Maryland the day before, so maybe they just couldn’t get out of BWI. In any case it was very sad face for Stefania. Instead Matt & Kim were going to play another set (they played earlier in the day). So I decided that I would head over towards the Regina with my friends, but keep moving on to the Bud Light stage to say hi to another friend named John who I also met through Paul on the Widespread tour.

When we arrived at the Adidas stage for Regina, John said he was still loading up (he does sound), and we agreed to meet up later. So I stood with Euna and Travis watching Regina. Like I said I didn’t really want to see her live. I feel a lot of people try to push her music on me. And she’s great for some people. I mean she is talented, funny, smart…but I have my red head gal with a piano, and her name is Tori. Oh and I have a Fiona too. I have the girl with a piano thing down. But I stuck around for two of her songs that I do enjoy “Better” and “Fidelity.” But then after that we all decided to leave early to get a good spot for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (YYYs).

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We finally made it to the AT&T stage to get a decent spot for the YYYs. Most of the large stages had screens, and so I was okay with just getting a good spot to see the screen. I mean I was happier having a comfortable space around me where I could see the screen than be smooshed up against people trying to get closer to the stage. Euna agreed, so we stayed in the grass by the giant eyeball, while Travis and the guys found a closer spot.

Giant Eyeball
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When the YYYs took the stage I got pretty excited. I really like them a lot, and the last time I saw them I was not impressed with their live show. But this time I felt they had redeemed themselves. Karen O looked rockin’ as usual. They played all the stuff I love, “Maps,” “Gold Lion,” and “Pin.” They even played their Spiderman 3 song, “Sealings,” and some songs off their new EP: “Down Boy,” and “Isis.” We also ended up leaving this act early to get a good spot for Interpol. As we were leaving they started to play “Y Control.” Since we were going to the Bud Light stage almost 2 hours early, we would miss Spoon completely…another act I have never seen that I really wanted too. But I was trying my best to go with the flow.

Karen O
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Interpol and Muse were the headline acts for Saturday night. I like Muse, but obviously whenever Interpol is in the mix, they will always win. I love this band. I love this band so much. We got their early enough to secure a great spot like 150 feet in front of the stage. It was the closest we had been to the stage all day. We stood around for at least an hour and a half. And during this time it had started to rain. It had been spitting all day, but it finally did for a little bit. Also, John was done with work and made it out to say hi and catch up.

John and Stefania in the rain
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John had never heard Interpol, but his friend was doing the lights. So he stayed with us for the show. I had grown a tad bit grumpy throughout the day, but once Interpol took the stage I was so excited. It was like they redeemed my experience.

It was a little strange to see Interpol in a venue like this. Normally they are in some dark, smoky club where they look dapper and sleek. But with the awful humidity and rain their hair was frizzing (especially Carlos’) and they were more sweaty than usual. They were however dressed to the nines. Carlos has a new look for this album. He has left his Gestapo, gun holster look for one that would allow him to have cameo on Deadwood.

They played songs from every album, and spent a good amount of time on the new album. They played from what I can recall: “PDA,” “NYC,” “Evil,” “Not Even Jail,” “Slow Hands,” “Pioneer to the Falls,” No I in Threesome,” Mammoth,” “The Heinrich Maneuver,” “All Fired Up,” “Rest My Chemistry,” and then they had an encore that included “Stella was a Diver and She Always was Down,” and “Obstacle 1.” And like usual they sounded crisp and provided little banter. They never disappoint in my opinion.

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Overall my Lolla experience was good. There were times during the day I did get short-fused and frustrated. But I tried my best to be a good sport and have fun with my friends. I have come to realize that festivals like this are a sampling. They are a sampling of the artist/band. You will not have the same experience like if you were to go see this act doing their own show, but you will get a sampling of what they have to offer. You also have to be okay with those people who think they are “so in the know” when it comes to music. I saw a lot of t-shirts that said things like, “I am into bands that haven’t even formed yet.” Oh puh-leease! But this is what a festival crowd will draw.

Chances are I will not do Lolla again. I just know I am not a festival person. And that’s okay. I would hate to say I would never do Lolla or another festival again, but that’s a strong statement. But seriously, unless a band I am managing is playing or I am dating a guy in a band who is playing, you probably won’t see me there.


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