Lollapalooza 2007: Sex (or at least penis jokes), drugs and rock and roll

Ready for what comes our way.

Day Three

The third and final day of the festival really turned out to be about one thing: staying rested for Pearl Jam. On each of the previous days, by the last show of the night, our lower bodies were hurting so bad that we didn’t stay to the end of the concerts. This wasn’t about to happen for the main headliners, whom neither of us had ever seen, so we planned accordingly.

The day began later than usual as we slept in, opting to stay in our PJs as we prepared for PJ.

We headed over at noon to catch some of Heartless Bastards, but their music didn’t really excite us, so we left to get a good spot for Amy Winehouse. Everyone else apparently had the same idea as we were greeted by a massive crowd spanning almost the entire field where she was playing.

Before long, though, the people thinned out as Ms. Winehouse, who arrived sober but 10 minutes late, seemed bored with her performance. To her credit, though, I think she was putting on an act because she would give a wink and a grin before starting back with her singing.

That was probably a poor strategy on her part, though, because the crowd grew restless, as an outdoor festival just isn’t the place for a performer like her who uses her amazing pipes to entertain. I enjoyed her songs, but the set was boring and ranks down there with Cold War Kids as Lolla’s losers.

Katie, who isn’t a big Amy Winehouse fan, had to head back to the hotel after her sinus infection and headache grew worse. She hated leaving, but it had to be done if she wanted to survive the night’s shows.

Left by myself, I wandered over to see Paolo Nutini, where I immediately dug the joy from his first song, finding myself dancing almost in spite of myself. I couldn’t stay for long, though, as the call of a barbecued pulled-pork sandwich won me over. I noshed on the vittles while Paolo played in the background, and regaining my strength, I headed off for Iggy and the Stooges.

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I didn’t want to venture too far into the crowd, being so afraid of moshing and slam dancing and all that other violent stuff that scares old men with stiff knees, but at the same time, part of me wanted to be near it. I settled for a spot near the sound booth, standing next to a guy who was sprawled out on the ground. They told me he was passed out, but I thought they were exaggerating. When the wheelchair ran over his leg, I knew they were serious.

As Iggy’s start time approached, I began talking to another guy nearby, and I noted that this guy being passed-out drunk was what Iggy Pop was all about. We joked about getting our pictures taken with the unconscious dude, and now I really wish I had. Then, as Iggy took the stage in his trademark painted-on jeans and bare chest, the guy finally stood up (actually, his friends picked him up). His legs didn’t like the idea, so he wobbled for a bit before plopping squarely back down on his ass. He tucked his head between his legs and began puking.

Now this is an Iggy Pop show!

I left early to meet Katie, who made a triumphant return, and we tried to catch some Peter Bjorn and John. They faced the same staging problems as Cold War Kids, so we were left standing near the concession area. Instead of hearing the songs, we heard people chatting and yapping, so by the time PB&J’s sound went out, we had had enough.

We ventured over to the field to set up shop for My Morning Jacket and Pearl Jam, finding ourselves far closer to the stage than we expected. We sat a towel down in the muddy grass, a move that proved totally useless, and waited an hour for MMJ to take the stage.

While we were waiting, Katie asked for one of her prescription pills, so I dug around in our bag and pulled one out. At that exact moment, a man walked past and, his canine-type nose drawn to the scent of drugs, peered down and asked, “Hey, man, you got anymore?”

I had no idea what to say, so I looked to Katie.

“Can I buy one off you?” he asked.

“It’s amoxicillin,” Katie told him.

She’s so punk rock.

He passed, and we missed the opportunity to make a few bucks. The guy, meanwhile, would have been none the wiser, probably telling his friends about “the good shit” he got off that blonde over there.

Maybe next year we’ll bring some Luden’s cherry-flavored cough drops, too, or some Asorbine Jr., at the very least.

Finally, MMJ took the stage, dressed in dark pants and purpleish sport coats, looking rather dapper for the occasion, which fits, since they played a large part of their set with the Chicago Children’s Orchestra. Despite not knowing a single word to a single song, I still enjoyed every minute of it, but perhaps it was just a contact buzz from the amoxicillin.

After MMJ, we waited a grueling 60 minutes for Pearl Jam to take the stage, but at least our neighbors helped make it entertaining.

Waiting on Pearl Jam

First, the guy in front of me turned around and began staring at me. When I looked up at him, he asked what was on his mind.

“You got any trees?”

“I don’t even know what that is, so I’m guessing it’s a no,” I answered.

Disappointed, he turned back around.

I asked Katie about it, and she informed me, as I suspected, that “tree” or “trees” is slang for marijuana. I’m really glad that I inferred it was a drug reference because I wanted to tell him that my parents have trees all over their yard in Kentucky. DEA agents would have been on them in days, and the confusion would have been too much for my mom to handle.

A few minutes later, a trio of 35-45-year-old guys pushed their way in front of us, with one guy in a New York Mets visor doing his best to annoy everyone within a 20-foot radius.

Mets Guy, apparently, was not happy that they had moved closer and kept calling the leader of the group a dick for pushing past people. At one point, he said, “You’re a dick, but I guess I’m a dick, too, for following you.”

I wanted to point out that that would make him the balls since they follow the dick, but Katie strongly suggested that I not do so.

Eventually, I befriended the group, as my love for the Mets outweighed everything else, and, most importantly, I thought I could get them to stop fighting.

Nope.

Mets Guy started bad-mouthing every Mets player he could think of before he finally decided to leave.

The two he left behind turned out to be rather nice guys, as they seemed interested in how a guy from Kentucky could wind up a New York Mets fan. Plus, we bashed the Yankees, which will always make you friends with normal humans. Eventually, one of the guys said they’d get me tickets to a Mets game the next time I was in New York, but he left before I could give him my name, let alone my number or e-mail, so I don’t think he really meant it. He probably would have waited longer than three days to call anyhow.

So … Pearl Jam takes the stage and proceeds to rock us in ways we’ve never been rocked, putting on a show that surpassed everything else I’d seen to that point (including last year), making me wonder how they’re not on the short list of Best Rock Band in the World. The band was a tight group, with each shining on their respective instruments, and Eddie Vedder combining political outrage with biting humor and true appreciation for the turnout. By the end of their 2-hour set, I was relieved they were finished because I was so drained from the singing and the dancing and the jumping and the whatnot.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been to see Dennis Rodman on stage, and what do you know, there he was, standing there as Eddie Vedder jumped on his back.

And that, friends, was Lollapalooza 2007.

I can’t wait until next year.

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4 thoughts on “Lollapalooza 2007: Sex (or at least penis jokes), drugs and rock and roll

  1. Nice. I was so insulated inside my little tree-lined campus that I didn’t realize what I’d missed until returning to Real Life yesterday. Glad to know the earth kept spinning and all scheduled events took place.

    Here’s what I want to know: having survived it for two years, would you go again?

  2. Pingback: Lollapalooza 2010: Sorry bands, but it’s about the food « So … there I was

  3. Pingback: Lollapalooza: The Dork Knight Rises | So … there I was

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