(brb dying of shame that I used a hashtag as the title of this post. Bethany, you suck).
Ohhhhhhh my gosh you guys Lollapalooza was AHmazing and wonderful and glorious and GAH. It was my first music festival (unless you count band festival in middle school and high school, but that really doesn’t seem like quite the same thing to me) and MAN did I have a blast.
I have a good friend from college that lives in Chicago and is obsessed with Mumford & Sons, so officially we were there to see Mumford (and only had one-day passes for Saturday since Mumford was our primary concern). I, however, recently developed an insane obsession with Imagine Dragons and as such was wildly disappointed that I had to miss their show on Friday. Fortunately, Lolla livestreams a show per hour fo’ free on their website, so I still got my Imagine Dragons fix.
But then Saturday! Oh, Saturday. My friend and I got to Grant Park around 2:30 and began a marathon concert-going session, starting with Charles Bradley (apologies on the photography front).
Gotta be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention during his set. I suck again. He did, however, have the most fabulous polyester jumpsuits anyone has ever seen this side of Elvis, and his dance moves! To be fair, I’m not sure if people were cheering at his dancing because they were impressed or amused, but either way it made for a good show.
After Charles Bradley, my friend and I turned around, walked, oh, maybe 100 feet south, and hunkered down for Matt & Kim. There were a billion people at that show and I was paying far more attention to my watch than their music, because I had more important things to tend to. At 4:10, I worked on my hustling skillz and got myself out of that mass of people, but not before witnessing this:
Anyway, I was on a mission to get my country ON and headed a few blocks south to the Lake Shore stage to see ERIC CHURCH.
Even though I “officially” was at Lolla to see Mumford, I was far, far, FAR more interested in Eric Church than Mumford & Sons, or Matt & Kim, or Charles Bradley, or any other artist performing at Lolla on Saturday (though I was pretty bummed that his set overlapped with Ellie Goulding, because I would’ve really liked to have seen her show).
When I got to the stage, the crowd was super small and I was STOKED, because that meant I got to be super close. I honestly could’ve been up against the barrier between the stage and the crowd in the front row if I wanted to be, but I would’ve been so far off to the left that I probably wouldn’t have been able to see Eric Church at all, so instead I opted for a spot maybe 15-20 rows back, and man, you better believe I held my ground. No New Trier high schooler was going to steal my spot (so they filled in around me instead). I definitely had an elitist moment pre-show when a couple guys near me were arguing over who was the bigger Eric Church fan, and one of them was all, “Don’t even try to pretend like you’re the bigger fan. I’ve liked ‘Springsteen’ for over a year now!” Cool story, bro. I’ve liked Eric Church since “How ‘Bout You,” which came out in 2006. I win. (But does considering myself better than incoming college freshmen really count as winning? Probably not).
So anyway, Eric Church was AMAZING. Out of this world good. Everything I hoped for and more. Worth every single penny of that $95 one-day ticket and then some. Despite the fact that I’ve been a country music fan for over 10 years now, I’ve never actually seen a live country show, and I can’t think of a better first country show than Eric Church. Eric Church just knows how to do country right, and MAN does he do it right. None of that fluffy Rascal Flatts crap or stupid rapped-verses Jason Aldean business or sellout overplayed too-poppy Lady Antebellum junk. Straight up country (<– to be read with a twang), and that is how I like my country. He played most of his big songs, though tragically not “Like Jesus Does,” which is his current single and oh-so good. Listen to it. Right now. Here, I’ll even help you:
But he did play “Homeboy,” which alone was worth $95. “Homeboy” is easily one of my all time favorite country songs (and, interestingly enough, is also the name of one of the horses at camp. Any guesses as to which horse at camp is my favorite?), and to hear it live was beyond fantastic.
My friend has no
taste use for country music, so we met up after Eric Church, got some wildly overpriced food, sat on the curb and counted the number of people we saw with bare midriffs (the Lolla uniform for females this year was a bare midriff top [because it is apparently 2001], high-waisted booty shorts [because it is apparently 1954], and fanny packs [because it is apparently 1985]. I, personally, rocked a boring ol’ tank top, regular waisted shorts, a normal purse, and Mizunos. Because you know how I roll. Those Mizunos were so clutch, though. What they lack in shin splint prevention they more than made up for in toe protection when my feet got stepped on throughout the day). And when we got sick of that, we decided to go scope out the scene for “The Lumineers” (really for Mumford).
It was a bit crowded.
We ended up pretty much skipping The Lumineers altogether (though we could still more or less hear them) and going straight towards the main stage for Mumford & Sons, who put on a fabulous show.
I got up at 4:15 Chicago time on Saturday to get my run in, so I would’ve been fine if Mumford had played, oh, two songs and called it a night, because that’s about the point where I was ready to call it a night. I’m a little bummed I couldn’t appreciate them more, but they were absolutely phenomenal live (AND they ended the show at 9:50 instead of 10:00, so major A++ to them in my tired-as-all-get-out book).
Even though I was totally exhausted by the end of it all, I had an absolutely fabulous time at Lolla. It’s certainly not something I’d recommend to my claustrophobic friends (I’m not claustrophobic at all, but even I was a little nervous being surrounded by so many people at Mumford), but I thought it was a really great event and, provided the lineup looks good again, I’d definitely consider going back again next year.