Sunday, August 9
2:30 p.m. Early rainfall kept a lot of folks at home while others reveled in the newly-created mud pits. Yet the field is impressively clean for the tail end of a rock fest. Blitzen Trapper puts on a solid, but not entirely memorable set. Blame it on the rain?
3:00 p.m. Dispatches from Twitter declare Freelance Whales, Yeasayer, Hockey and Mumford & Sons to be game-changers. Another rule of Lollapalooza is, don’t neglect the smaller stages. I miss all of these to concert-surf. At the kids’ stage, thenewno2 (with Dhani Harrison, son of George) cover The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” followed by a short Perry Farrell set. Farrell, Lolla’s head honcho, plays the Porno for Pyros staple “Pets” and tells the children not to grow up to be like Lou Reed. Then he plays The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.”
4:15 p.m. Glam metal band X Japan play their first American gig and proclaim their love for the U.S.A. They wail like Ozzy and look like Elvis – the lead singer especially so, in his oversized sunglasses and fur and leather. Periodically, they shoot off fireball cannons and smoky, booming pyrotechnics. Their drummer wears a neck brace as fashion. They’re probably the loudest band of the whole weekend and set my head banging. They end the set screaming “You were fucking great!” which I hear as “You were fucking raped!” until a friend straightens me out. Either would be believable after this surprise monster of a show.
5:15 p.m. Erykah Badu blinds us with a tall gold mohawk. Her buttery voice softens our shoulders and helps us ignore the blistering, setting sun. Halfway through her set she declares she’s going to get funky and sings a song with these lyrics: “Annie / don’t wear no panties / it’s a good thing Santa Claus / didn’t bring a lot of socks and drawers.” And we all sway.
6:30 p.m. MGMT’s solid sound draws an overflowing crowd. Groups of people shout lyrics as mud dries on their ankles. I notice someone in the band looks like a young Bob Dylan. I bounce to “Kids” and get a second wind for the night.
7:30 p.m. I arrive back in the south field in time to see Cypress Hill showboat an eight-foot bong. They blow smoke into the camera and the crowd hoists their hitters to their lips. One of their songs masterfully samples Crosby, Stills and Nash and I feel old for knowing so. There’s a cloud of smoke over the crowd. “Now here’s a shtick to build a career on,” says my boyfriend. “Insane in the Membrane” quite possibly sounds better live than it ever did recorded.
8:00 p.m. Twitter dispatches claim that the north field, where The National are playing, is empty. Arcade Fire is to close out the night after them, up against a reunited Soundgarden on the south end.
8:05 p.m. Soundgarden is tight as ever and Chris Cornell is cemented in my mind as one of the best voices in rock. I hear from a friend that Arcade Fire is “slaying” and there are rumors that David Bowie is going to play with them. I wonder if I made the right choice. It’s heartbreaking not knowing what you’re missing. But no regrets. I put my fists in the air and watch Soundgarden nail every lick with total badassery. Chris Cornell’s sweat drips down his leather guitar strap while his wedding ring gleams in the stage lights. On the other end, Bowie doesn’t show. I feel like a teenager and decide I’m perfectly old enough for this shit.