My Little Monsters
Flickr Credit: M. Janicki
All energy has been completely drained from my body. As I sit here typing this in the silence of my room, away from all the crowds of Lollapalooza I’m realizing a couple of things. One, I’m really pleased Chicago did not get the Summer Olympics bid. Two, even though I am home away from all the craziness in Grant Park all I can hear is the sound of crowds cheering which is actually just ringing in my ears. Note to self: start wearing those ear plugs that really established concert goers wear. They are pretty nerdy but super protective — the bike helmets of the ear.
Guys — I went with the 3 day pass this year and it took me on an epic journey with plenty of people watching along the way. The thing about people watching at Lolla is that — well– I guess it’s that because there are so many people to look at or so many people who tried to look bizarre — it all kind of cancels out and becomes this entirely over stimulating mess. The heat doesn’t help, the 3G network is no where to be found, and neither were any of the friends I tried to find.
I was able to locate anyone I wasn’t looking for this weekend. Friends from grade school, friends from high school, coworkers, a random attention seeker in a raccoon hat, and Jade Castrinos from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — just riding her beach cruiser around being awesome.
The crowds were really not ideal. I tried to stay calm and pretend the large numbers of people bumping into me were just in my head. The worst of the crowd situation was at Lady Gaga and Chiddy Bang. I’ll explain.
I had really wanted to see Hot Chip (playing on the same stage as Gaga). So I willingly separated myself from my friends knowing that my phone was going to die. I began to move closer and closer to the stage Gaga would perform on in three hours. So smart right? See Hot Chip and wait for Gaga? Yeah…everyone had that idea. It’s impossible to have an original idea at a large music festival like Lolla. I walked around all weekend hearing an echo of my own conversations. “Let’s go see Edward Sharpe, get something to eat, and then head over to Cut Copy and Phoenix.” “I’m so tired, but I’d really love to stay for Arcade Fire.” “Let’s go to Perry’s.” “Anyone want a water?”
Back to my Gaga solo mission. I got up pretty close following Hot Chip. Twenty minutes, before Gaga was going to go on, the pushing started. At first I tried to be positive. “This is just an experience of our generation – awesome.” Nope. Not awesome. I got pushed so far forward I ended up right on top of this guy’s backpack which I used as an arm rest until he started to turn around and stare at me intermittently — a passive aggressive attempt to get me to stop. I know the tactic, I’ve used it on countless planes to try to get my territory on an arm rest. However, the guy shouldn’t have had a backpack on. I finally said something when he turned around. “You probably think I’m trying to steal stuff out of your backpack. I’m not.” He didn’t think that at all, I’m awkward, and he ended up taking the backpack off and switching places with me because apparently I had wedged myself between him and all of his friends. Whoops.
Gaga was out of her mind, which I really enjoyed. I know everyone thought “she could have done better”, “stop preaching start singing,” I didn’t care. She could sing, she could dance, and I loved all the weird shock value stuff. I bought a ticket to the Monster Ball and I had swell time.
Least favorite experience was Chiddy Bang who performed at Perry’s, which is essentially an outdoor club without bottle service coupled with most of the high schoolers in the Chicagoland area and far more sweat. I didn’t pay almost $300 dollars for Zero Gravity, but that’s what Perry’s was like during Chiddy Bang. The “concert” consisted of naming objects like “blackberry” and repeating phrases like “Chiddy Bang!”, “Lollapalooza”, and “What up Chicago?” The temperature in the crowd was reaching levels I have only experienced in Bikram yoga.
Will I go back to Lollapalooza next year? Of course. Will I need a year to recover? Absolutely. In the meantime I’ll just hang on to the memories. Dancing with friends, having an amazing Kuma burger for $10, describing my location through landmarks like “those inflatable spikey balls”, and some great shows like Arcade Fire, My Dear Disco, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.