After The Go! Team, Rob went back to the condo and I made the trek back south for Gogol Bordello. Did I mention it was hot? The high temperature for the day was 87F, which doesn't seem that hot, but there was no breeze and it was really humid. And crowded. Freaking crowded. Last year peaked on Sunday with 60K people for Pearl Jam. Radiohead had sold out this first day, with 75K people, which was way too many for the venue. Already at 3:30, crossing the park was miserable.
I don't know much about Gogol Bordello - I remember seeing them on The Henry Rollins Show one week and they were pretty good. Definitely better than Duffy, who I had originally planned on seeing, but the more I listened to in the weeks leading up to Lollapalooza, the more I got real tired of her. Gypsy punks for the win! Sort of.
That's me hiding from the sun. I stood and watched Gogol Bordello, and it was good, but four days later, I can't remember a thing about their set. All I remember is that around 5PM the sun went behind a cloud for the first time all day, for about 15 seconds, and people cheered that.
The plan from there was to meet up with Bob for Grizzly Bear, but there was some mis-communication and he wound up at Bloc Party. I had chicken on a stick (the food was excellent again this year - I know, excellent festival food?) and made it to Grizzly Bear and had the same experience as Gogol Bordello. I was there, I know I enjoyed it, but couldn't tell you why.
Grizzly Bear (nice shorts, Ed!)
Bloc Party bled through for most of the set, and that sounded good too. Unfortunately, there was a LOT of sound bleed between stages this year, more than I remember from last year.
Rob and I had arranged to meet for CSS, and while the sun had finally started to fall behind the skyline, I was still wiped out from the day. CSS are a party band and I couldn't move. After 4 or 5 songs we decided to just sit down in the shade. What I saw was pretty good, it's too bad the circumstances were so awful.
Off to the big event, Radiohead. My first regret of the weekend was that I missed Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. I caught the last 10 minutes and it sounded great.
Rob and I were able to get, well, not very close at all for Radiohead (Scott's review is pretty dead on - I love his account of the kids across the street from the festival). For the past 9 hours people had been pouring into the field, staking out their claim.
The show was pretty much exactly what you would expect. There were fancy, arts lights, they played In Rainbows and some other songs, and a good time was had by all. About the only thing that surprised me was as The Bends came to a close, fireworks began off to the left, over the Art Institute of Chicago. Through Everything In It's Right Place, and damn near choreographed through Fake Plastic Trees.
Radiohead (the bright green light off in the distance)
I had to pee, so we pretty much left to beat the crowds and go have real food during Dollars and Cents, missing the last four songs, including Optimistic, but that's OK. Before Radiohead went on I went to put contact lens re-wetting drops in my eyes, and it burned because I had actually packed ear medicine by mistake and dropped that in instead. 11 hours without running water and a contact lens in desperate need of a rinsing meant that missing some of an average Radiohead performance from a mile away wasn't that awful, actually.