The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
TUL's Take: Lollapalooza - Day One

The very first act we caught on Friday was Aqualung performing on the Adidas/Champs stage. We really didn't pay that much attention to them since we were just breathing in the fact we were at Lollafrickinpalooza.

Next were eels that put on a very energetic albeit interesting performance over at the Bud Light stage. The big dude in the Security t-shirt was a riot (kung-fu antics, playing the maracas, asking someone in the audience if they had cocktail sauce, etc).

The first band we were really looking forward to on Day One was Stars. We opted to see them over Editors since we already saw the latter just a couple weeks ago at the 9:30 Club. Unfortunately, I thought Stars fell somewhat short during their set. They're sound just wasn't suited for this type of environment and didn't really captivate me as much as they did back when they opened for Death Cab last year. Good, but not great.

The most disappointing performance of the day, however, belonged to the one and only Ryan Adams. What started off as a promising set got bogged down by Grateful Dead covers (not one, but three!) and long jams that were outright boring. We get it Ryan, you like The Dead, but there's honestly no need to fill up half of your hour-long set with their material, OK?

You definitely don't realize how massive Grant Park is until you walk from one side of the park to the other. Getting from the Bud Light stage to AT&T took at least a good 15 minutes. When you factor in the actual distance with the absurd amount of people walking around, it becomes not only tiring but aggravating (I'm a fast walker so I have little patience for slow/drunk people obstructing my path). That's probably why we only caught the last ten minutes of Mates of State after leaving Ryan Adams. They played at one of the two smaller stages at the festival and sounded great. Listening to their songs while sitting under a tree in the shade was a nice escape from the packed walkways. I'm getting a little compelled to check out their State Theatre show next month. Oh, and Chromewaves was dead-on about Kori's sunburnt face. Girl needed some SPF 55 badly.

Secret Machines were next and they of course failed to disappoint. These guys always seem to put on a good live show regardless of the setting.

Perhaps the most surprising act of Day One was The Raconteurs. We were heavily debating whether to see them or My Morning Jacket (one of several scheduling conflicts we had to face), but since The Raconteurs are more of a novelty act that won't regularly tour, we opted to see them instead. MMJ, on the other hand, will most likely be back at the 9:30 Club within the next six months.

After hearing several instances of how poor their live shows were, The Upstate Life was quite stunned with how good they sounded when they took the AT&T stage late Friday afternoon. The band ripped through most of the material from Broken Boy Soldiers with great intensity and a solid stage presence. Jack White's guitar work during "Level" was plain silly. The tens of thousands of fans in the audience were treated to a cover of "Crazy", one of several renditions that we would hear throughout the weekend, but it was probably the best one of the bunch (and yes, that includes Gnarls' version).

Headliners Ween and Death Cab for Cutie closed the first evening off, but we didn't bother to see either of the two since a) we've seen Death Cab enough already, b) we've never listened to Ween, so we really didn't have any interest in going, and c) we were exhausted, sweaty, and hungry. Besides, we had cookies and milk (and a doll bed) waiting for us in our hotel room (thanks in part to the American Girl Experience rate package...don't ask). The concierge at the desk seemed a little befuddled when we checked in.

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