I’ve never been to a big music festival. I wish I could say that I was cool and at the first Lollapolooza back in the day, but I’ve never been to any and I’m not all that cool. Sigh. I also don’t appreciate insanely big crowds. I’ve lived in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, and New York, where MASSIVE crowds, particularly in New York, make me a little giggity. I heard what happened at the first Woodstock, y’know!
I’ve also never had the funds for one of them, nor the travel time, or job position to allow me to attend one. Maybe next year. Plus, the last time I was in Chicago during the summer, I threw up in a trashcan not far from Grant Park on Michigan Avenue. I know what you’re thinking. No, I wasn’t drunk, I was suffering from heat exhaustion. Chicago is cold in the winter and hot in the summer, the only two real seasons of the year for the beautiful city at the foot of Lake Michigan.
Since I like a band called Green Day, I’ve been very interested in this year’s Lolla, but I couldn’t afford to hit it. I didn’t have time or money and remember what I said about massive crowds? In addition, I’m mentally scheduled to go to five shows, three here (Camden happened last week) on the East Coast (Hartford, Holmdel) and two in California (Chula Vista and San Francisco). I have time off of work due to holidays that happen in the first week of September, and I’m jonesing something awful for California dreaming as well. There is a 50% chance that California may not be happen due to finances. I want to write about the final two shows of Green Day’s North American, second-to-last leg of the tour. Afterall, not only is it Homecoming, but this blog has been about one thing since June of 2009: Green Day and their performance from a fan of performance’s point-of-view. You can piece shows together after the fact and know the general feel remotely, but it’s not like being there and reporting on it firsthand. I kinda find it… hmm… sexy… orgas… uh… well, I hope you get my drift. So, we’ll see if I get to do it and be able to write about it, too.
Anyway, enough of that, back to…
Lollapalooza 2010: The View From The Couch
This weekend, I hibernated. I didn’t mean to. I had plans to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings play a special gig at Prospect Part in Brooklyn yesterday, but when I began to watch Blues Traveler on Lollapalooza’s Life/Live Stream (from AOL! I had no idea they still existed), I sorta got sucked into my couch and stayed there watching the stream for the next eight hours from the luxury of my Ikea furniture and no crowds! Frankly, while that was good in one way, it sucks balls not to have been in Chicago to see Green Day rip apart Lollapalooza Live and show the crowd that they, over their twenty-two year career, have managed to grow from three scrawny kids playing to a mountainside gig of five kids into one of the world’s few stadium punk bands. And I do mean punk.
The day at Lolla that I was able to spend remotely was exciting, and the performances that I saw (alas, not Green Day’s gig from the stream, only through updates from Twitter and news feeds), were phenomenal.
Blues Traveler, Against Me!, Gogol Bordello, and Social Distortion
I’m old enough to remember the heyday of Blues Traveler, and I won’t say anything bad about them. When they came out in the 1990s, they were fun and had a hard, bluesy and slightly rebellious sound in that tradition of the Grateful Dead and Phish with some grunge thrown in, too, and I remember many a time kinda rocking out to their sound of summer. I dropped in on the Lolla feed just as they were half-way through a Nirvana song, having traveled in the same circle back in the day with Nirvana and honoring Cobain’s memory. They set the mood well for a day of remote festival couch surfing, bringing just that touch of 1990s nostalgia into play for when Green Day would hit the stage later on the night. Blues Traveler played at Woodstock ’94, the same year that Green Day turned it into Mudstock ’94.
Against Me! was next up, and it was the first time that I had heard them and I liked what I heard. Raw and emotional, their songs of protest and the speedy beat made me realize that this is a band that I need to see live one day. They are from Florida and have been around since 1997, but only recently released their second major album, White Crosses. It’s on my list of albums to get now.
There are no words really to explain what happened during Gogol Bordello‘s set at the Parkways stage. I’ve seen Gogol Bordello live once, at Terminal Five in New York City, and I swear to High Heaven that it was one of the best dance parties I’ve ever been to. Their Roma/Israeli/South American sound, with the Russian folk violin and accordion hi-jinks thrown in leaves you with no choice but to dance. Your feet are unable to stay silent as your Old World soul gets all of the pain out through slamming one another in a dance pit. If the footage from their performance is ever released, YOU MUST WATCH what you can. The audience were whirling dervishes and it was an amazing performance, even from the comfort of my own damned couch.
Lastly, Social Distortion. My goodness, what a way to round out a punk afternoon of performance. I’ve never seen them perform and I only know a few of their songs. Remember, I’m on a sentimental journey through sight and sound and I’m discovering the roots of punk backwards. I sometimes feel like a fake because of it, but truthfully, the wonder of discovery is that you are never too young or too old for it. Finally getting to see these hard, older punks, who never made it huge but are an anchor in the pantheon of punk, pour their spirit of protest and consciousness out, made me wish so much that I had had the time and energy to delve deep into punk after I started graduate school in 1992. I was a musical dropout by then, though, and a bit too crazed with school and work and theater in the 1980s to pay much attention either. My bad.
I’m not sure if the Parkways site in Grant Park quite knew what would hit them over the next hours, as Blues Traveler loosened up the crowd on another stage from their afternoon grogginess, Against Me! got their feet functioning, Gogol Bordello made their heads explode, and Social Distortion made them want more. That more was the last show of the night, with some guys known as Green Day who had somehow become the best, nay, only, stadium punk performers of their era from the school of the 1990s. As dodobrainworms, one of those who witnessed the performance yesterday from Grant Park tweeted during Green Day’s set, “Jesus….when did Green Day become the perfect stadium act…time flies.”
Green Day at Lollapalooza 2010 – Demonstrating How a Stadium Punk Band Does It
Once Social Distortion went offstage, there would sadly be no live streaming of Green Day’s show, and my heart kinda sank when they didn’t magically appear in the feed somehow. It was all cool, though, because I shared some time with fellow fans as we watched Twitter feeds of the show and Facebook pages found snippets of magic that floated through Twitvid. It was fun, even if frustrating not being there as the Tweets made us all really proud of “our guys,” our Green Day, who’s given us so much crazy fan-love that they can do almost no wrong in our eyes and all we want to do is support them in whatever they do. And they didn’t disappoint us or that audience. They put on one of the greatest shows that ever hit Lollapalooza.
Since I wasn’t there, I can’t tell you how it really was, but the videos that have come out are really something to see. Once again, the band sounds tight and honed, and Billie Joe’s voice… dear FSM, let’s not even mention how great it sounds for fear of fainting. I posted a long list of Tweets yesterday during the performance, and there were only a couple of naysayers that I saw, while the majority of them were extremely positive.
The usual antics seemed to have happened: the more than adorable kid who was brought up and saved Billie Joe this time [PICTURE HERE]; the French audience member who stagedived from 12 feet up, directed into the arms of the paparazzi that Billie Joe corralled below [PICTURE HERE]; the “Longview” singer with the Green Day Idiot Club t-shirt on who blew the crowd away and got a guitar for his troubles afterward [VIDEO HERE], the Hey-Ohs of “Hitchin’ A Ride” [VIDEO HERE]; the long and all-over-the-place but fun-as-hell “Shout-Satisfaction-My Kind of Town-Hey Jude-Shout” medley [VIDEO HERE], to the “Brain Stew” where Billie Joe brought up the American Sign Language interpreter for the evening to do the water gun as they seemed to have bonded through the night and she was rocking out some musical sign language interpretation [VIDEO HERE] [PICTURE HERE]; the same shenanigans that never, to me, get old.
I hear that there was an amazing version of “Letterbomb” also, but again, as from Buffalo, there’s no good video of it. Four Green Day songs will be streamed tonight on the Lollapalooza Webcast at 11:00 PM Eastern Time. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see it as one of the four.
As I was reading the reports off of the Internet about the show, I teared up a little bit. Yeah, I know it’s stupid, it’s just a band, but it’s my band, one that I’m awfully proud of. Congratulations, boys, you’ve come a long way since 1994, and while I may not have been along for the entire ride, I’m so happy that I finally caught the Holiday bus to Jingletown.
See everyone who’s going to Hartford and Holmdel there, and if God’s willing and the crik don’t rise… Chula Vista and San Francisco as well.
Here’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”:
“Boulevard of Broken Dream” – Green Day at Lolla, August 2010
During the solo encore, Billie Joe sang, “She’s A Rebel.” Yea, he forgot the words (which he tweeted last night as being a “highlight” of the show for him), but you know, it doesn’t matter, because it’s still beautiful.
“She’s A Rebel” – Billie Joe Armstrong – Lolla, August 2010
Here’s some links:
Green Day Authority Picture Vault: Green Day at Lollapolooza, 2010
Lollapalooza 2010: Green Day KILLS on Saturday Night – Marcus Leshock, Chicago Now.
You Ain’t No Picasso (Review and Photos): “Bottom line, Green Day have gotten even better since I saw them nine years ago. Sure, they’ve been around a while (BJA’s opening joke: “Welcome to Lollapalooza! After us is the Smashing Pumpkins… oh wait. The Beastie Boys! …No, wrong year. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds!”) but they’ve yet to overstay their welcome. I don’t know how many more years they can do it at this level, but we should be thankful for every one.”
Anthony Nowack Photographs of Green Day at Lollapalooza 2010
NovaFM.com: Green Day Live at Lollapalooza Photos
Spin.com: Best Photos from Lolla, Day 2
FestivalCrashers.com: Green Day Pulls Out All the Stops at Lollapalooza, “Performance: 20/20 What was there not to love? As a friend of a friend said while leaving “It’s everything I’d ever want from a rock show. And maybe a little more.” The pyrotechnics, the visuals, the songs, the fireworks, the medleys. They pulled out every trick. Even borrowing a couple (like the toilet paper shooter trick from Wayne Coyne and Girl Talk. It all worked. Except the t-shirt gun. I say that now, but I’m not wearing a shirt. Other bands should take notes. A lot of notes.”
The AOL LifeStream consisted of: “When I Come Around,” “Brain Stew,” “21 Guns,” and “Jesus of Surburbia.”