August 3 2013
Wow. Where do I start? It is definitely day two down at Grant Park. Tucked into our own little pocket among the skyscrapers, LollaLand is home, and reality is far behind us. The grounds hum with an energy we haven’t yet seen and the weather is astoundingly perfect.
Smiling faces behind blaring megaphones greet me as I enter the gates.
“What’s up Lollapalooza are you ready? ARE YOU EXCITED?”
While yesterday’s response was a laughable failure of apathy, or perhaps nerves, today festival-goers responded with uninhibited whoops and screams.
I head in, meeting Intern Josh at the fountain to tackle our question of the day, but not before seeing the last half hour of Little Green Cars. Singer Faye O’Rourke is experiencing vocal complications, but belts out for the audience anyways. They reciprocate her efforts by honoring her cracking voice with roaring applause. Mad respect.
After talking to strangers and scarfing down some much needed Lou Malnati’s I meet up with some old friends. They just so happen to be the crew I went with before, and they know how to do it right. Some have gone every year since 2005. Needless to say, these expert Lolla-ers maximize festival pleasure. I’m pretty sure we catch every band that plays between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and still have time for some R&R on the hill.
Local Natives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Fowls are all great afternoon sets accompanied by some fantastic dance sessions. Dance sessions that get me appropriately amped for…yes, you guessed it: Kendrick Lamar.
I depart from the group again, and walk right up to the left side of the stage, two rows back—no pushing, no angry neighbors. I’m solo, but it doesn’t matter. I am blissfully excited and so is everyone around me. Mr. Lamar knows how to work the crowd, playing one side against the other to see who is more excited.
“If the left side is weak, that makes the right weak, and if the right is weak that makes the middle weak. If the whole crowd is weak, I am weak, so we can’t let that happen.”
It doesn’t. There is nothing weak about this show. That becomes quite clear when I turn around and see men in wheelchairs getting passed to front of the crowd. That’s right, wheelchair crowd surfing. Kendrick stops the set to make assure the passengers safety and once they touch down they are invited to stay in front.
I wanted this show to be a 10, he says, ranking us. We just got to 15. Let’s break a record. Turn it up to 20. We submissively obey.
This is when the night gets weird. On my way out of the festival I'm walking along, minding my own business when out of the corner of my eye I see someone come teetering down on me, almost taking me out. But I'm quick; quick enough to save both of us from some serious head-to-pavement action.
Now, this is a music festival and basically every time you turn around there's a case of alcohol poisoning. Sadly, it's common among people who aren't even old enough to drink. So I was surprised when I look down to find a 40-year-old women in my arms hardly cognizant. I stand her up just in time for her to fall over again. This goes on for a good five minutes. She keeps telling me she needs to go to Melennium Park (as she leans on the entrance sign) and I keep telling her she needs to sit down.
When I ask who she's meeting or why she's going there she simply stares at me. At this point I am looking around awkwardly with a helpless gaze in my eyes. I try walking her to the grassy area but her 45 degree lean is making it pretty hard. Now we are riding the struggle bus together. Just as we start to topple over into a bike rack, reinforcement comes in to save me. A couple grabs her and takes the reigns. We lead her into the grass where she softly falls down and stays.
I head over to the Bar Louie where my wonderful host is working and wait to meet up with a few friends. None of us know anything about this city so we leave our night's fate to the trusty Chicago cab drivers.
Yes, cab driver, the Cobra Club (which he describes as a hippie dance party) sounds like the perfect place for us. It isn't--a full blown punk club with no punk things happening, just a lot of platform shoes and chains.
So we hop in another cab hoping this driver will not betray us. He takes us two blocks up the road. As we roll our eyes at a wasted cab ride and exit the cab he assures us we will be able to "get our freaks on here." Great... We danced there for a while and headed back to the south loop for some late night dining. With nachos in my belly I call it a night, and get ready for the next day.