Monday, August 8, 2011

You're Only As Old As You Feel

I feel pretty fucking old.

2011 marks the 20th (!) anniversary of Lollapalooza, or Lollapallopla, as Sissy likes to call it. I remember raging against my mother for not allowing me to go in 1992, not speaking to her for days.  Yes, I was a moody, sullen grungey teenager. Big brother went, and like a good big brother, he brought me my cherished Pearl Jam tshirt.  After presenting a 10-point argument about why I should be allowed to go, and assuring her that her fears that crowd-surfing would lead to me being carried off by a group of men to be gang-raped were bat-shit crazy irrational, my mom finally relented in 1993... perhaps out of sheer exhaustion. My best friend at the time and I convinced her parents to take us (former flower children, it really wasn't all that hard). While the lineup wasn't as great as the year before, my first concert of MY chosen music style rocked, and rocked hard.

Oh, New World Music Theater in Tinley Park... I knew you well!  I slid down your impromptu lawn-seat mudslide, I moshed in you, I raged in you... all at the tender age of 14. 

I'm not 14 anymore. I'm all grown up. So's Lollapalooza.

While I was a hearty concert-goer and have attended MANY concerts since that first show, I never got a chance to go back to Lolla, until this year.  I knew it had become a Chicago institution in the past few years, but I just... eh. Hated people for a while, I guess. I avoided the Loop at all costs during the show dates, so I didn't really know what it has grown into.

What the hell happened to that crazy little traveling show?!  It's HUUUUUUUGE. 90,000 people a day, this behemoth takes up the same amount of ground space that the Taste of Chicago does. It's surprisingly well-organized. The Port-a-Potties (and y'all know how I feel about public bathrooms) were... decent... the drinks were cheapish, the stage times were well thought out.

I decided to go again this year when I saw that Deadmau5 was playing on the final day.  Normally, I consider music to be a communal experience. While I live alone and do a lot of things solo (insert your own masturbation joke here), I've never gone to a concert by myself.  Well... very few people in my life have followed me down my little House Music rabbit hole, and just about everyone wanted to avoid a steamy, smelly band of hipsters like the plague. No one wanted to go with me.  Suck it, each and every one of you. I went Sunday, and I had a blast.

Like any proper summer festival, a monsoon hit, and I got soaked, and I have suffered the loss of a truly fine pair of Converse.  I will say that one major change in a concert going experience is watching people experience life through the screen of their smartphones.  Some kids (and for the first time in my life, I really see them as KIDS) literally never put their phones in their pockets and just enjoyed the experience.

While my phone didn't make it out all that often, here's my Lollapalooza 2011 in pictures.

I may have attended alone, but I was among friends. Shared a bonding moment as soon as I walked through the gates with these guys, because of my homemade shirt and their heads. I particularly love the Chicago Mau5head.

Several people actually commented that they wanted to buy this. I feel that this vindicates my OCD tendencies.
Sunnier, smellier times watching The Cars with Friend Drew... a friend of AlsoBeth... who I am delighted to find attended ALL THREE DAYS with...
Tannisse...  the Girl Scout of Lolla '11. Hand-held fans, two shirts, 5 Hour Energy, UMBRELLA... you name it, she had it in her Mary Poppins bag. She was fucking PREPARED.
Things started looking a little ominous around 5... then the Storm of the Century, Part 1 hit. Soaked to the bone, it lasted about 40 minutes before letting up briefly, showing a truly killer rainbow.
My phone was wrapped tightly in a bag I grabbed off the ground pre-deluge in the back pocket of my soaked shorts at this particular moment, so this photo is stolen from courtesy of AshliCrowe.

Waiting for the show I had come for was fun. The creativity of Deadmau5 fans awed me.

Then, just as Deadmau5 was hitting the stage, Storm of the Century: The Sequel happened. It was fucking epic though. Pounding music, a swelling crowd, brand new, huge light show, pouring rain and swampy mudpuddles up to my ankles... I loved every minute of it. I discovered the best part of my age last night... I'm confident to be there, by myself, to not care, and just have a fucking blast.

I took about 40 seconds of film...I wanted to get something for some good shots to remember, and then to just jump around and enjoy the show, so that's where these came from.

Hard work pays off... I was CLOSE. I pretty well got to know a few guys biblically in the crowd (not a whole lot of room up front), but the guy in front of me was tall, smelled good, was cute, and was overwhelmingly polite about making sure I could see. So... you know. Forced rubbing up on him wasn't so bad. *winkwinknudgenudgeI'mACreepyOldLady*
The aftermath:
Via con dios, Converse. You lived a good life. You will be missed.

House music may not be your scene, but it was a blast. I wouldn't steer you wrong... this show was FUN. If anyone wants to come with me to the next show (indoors), let me know. I promise you a good time.

I'm an old biddy. My feet hurt, I'm exhausted, I can't hear a thing, my back was KILLING ME yesterday and I don't know HOW anyone survived all three days... but I was brought back to the better part of my reckless teenage self again: when I was open for anything. When I loved being surprised by a live act that I would normally never have come across, and got an electric thrill from being in the thick of a buzzing crowd. When I truly engaged in something, and wasn't a dried up curmudgeon with a smart-ass judgmental comment for everything.  It turns out some things from your awkward teens are worth holding on to.
In the immortal words of a Maury Povich guest, "Age ain't nothin' but a number."  Fucking poetry, man.


kt said...

glad you had fun! sorry i called you old :-/

Birv said...

I still love you, babe. I AM old. And so are you. ;-)

cat-fish said...

WOW! I was there at your first Lollapalooza (I too remember it as being amazing, but a 13 year old girl is easily impressed). And thank you for sharing your NEXT (hopefully not your last!) Lolla experience with me, as being a busy mom this time around (aka old biddy who lives in the suburbs and drinks wine while living vicariously through others) kept me from attending (as it does for so many other things) :( But I have to say your post gave me chills reading it - I could really feel the epicness of what the large scale outdoor concert scene has become, and the fact you went alone made it that much more of a thing about community, rather than a private group outing with a bunch of strangers around. Thanks for sharing! <3