Day 1 Recap
It's in the mid-80's, not a cloud in the sky, a backdrop of some of the world's most inspiring big-city architecture, and music in styles ranging from the gorgeous, "raining inside your mind" pop melancholia of Aqualung to the still uncompromisingly fierce rock of Sleater-Kinney. It must be Lollapalooza, the 2006 version! Seriously, all stops are out in this gathering of 130 artists on 8 stages in a 3/4 mile long runway tucked between Lake Michigan and the beauty of Chicago's skyline. A huge chunk of the world's greatest musicians have stopped by for this celebration of the world's popular music.
Highlights from day 1 included Panic! At the Disco (top right) bringing their top-of-the-charts post-grunge-meets-Vegas style to the stage and then surprising us by covering Radiohead's "Karma Police" and Smashing Pumpkins' gorgeous "Tonight, Tonight." British band the Editors, led by riveting frontman Tom Smith (top left), proved they are one of the world's top young rock bands and fully deserving of their Mercury Prize nomination. After a frustrating 15-minute delay in starting her show, Lady Sovereign's (bottom right) energy and blisteringly fast hip hop quickly helped those watching, and moving with the music, forgive and forget. Jack White's (of the White Stripes) current project the Raconteurs (bottom left), a self-described "band made up of old friends," took the stage in an electrifying swarm of guitars and feedback. If you love the Raconteurs' album Broken Boy Soldiers, you must see them live. Rock, with a pop heart, doesn't get much better than this.
With 8 stages, and at least 2 acts performing simultaneously at any particular point in time, there is a lot you miss at Lollapalooza. Fortunately, with the opportunity to catch significant portions of the performances of 10 or so acts a day, it's impossible to feel disappointed. Lollapalooza is gaining a reputation for selectivity so the music is uniformly excellent. I didn't happen upon any duds yesterday, and I don't expect that to happen in the 2 days to come. With acts from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gnarls Barkley to Kanye West and Matisyahu, I'm happily looking forward.