1. For the first time in five years, I’m not going to Lollapalooza.
I have mixed feelings about not attending this year. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t have a great time last year. It was fine, but $120 was a good amount of money to spend for just a fine time. I only saw three acts, and I really only enjoyed one of them. I didn’t regret going, necessarily, but I did leave wondering if I would want to go again in 2017.
I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should go this year until finally deciding I’d wait to see the lineup and then make my decision. While the lineup on the whole wasn’t terrible, I wasn’t particularly invested in any particular day. I thought Saturday looked the best of the four options, but considering that I haven’t gotten through the system fast enough to get Saturday tickets since 2013, I didn’t have very high hopes that I’d get them this year. I actually got past standby much quicker this year than ever before, but once I got to the page where you selected which day you wanted to go, I never got beyond a “Searching for tickets” screen. Lolla announced that Saturday had sold out before any of my “Searching for tickets” screens went anywhere, so that was that.
I’m sad to see my Lolla streak come to an end, but it was getting to the point where it just wasn’t worth it anymore. One Day Passes cost $90 in 2013, but have gone up $10 every year (until this year, when they were still $120 like last year, but with a $15 “fee” – so really, they went up to $135 from $120), and it’s not like you’re getting anything better or different for your extra money. The place is still crawling with teenagers. The food is still expensive. The weather is still iffy. The acts have usually been there two or three years ago. It felt dumb to pay $45 more than I did in 2013 for what would essentially be the same experience, just without the novelty of being there for the first time.
2. Besides, the #1 act I really wanted to see at Lolla, Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness was 1) playing on Friday, when I couldn’t possibly go due to an early morning long run the next day and 2) was on my calendar for this past Friday anyway.
Apologies, as always, for my iPhone’s terrible photo quality.
I saw Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness last summer as an opener for Panic! at the Disco (and Weezer, who I did not stick around to see, since it was a Sunday night and I was far, far away in Tinley Park), but this past Friday at House of Blues, he was the main event! Andrew McMachon was the frontman of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, which is how I became familiar with him, but he’s been performing in this current iteration for a few years now, and I’m a big fan of his recent albums.
(Which is not to say that Dark Blue wasn’t the highlight of the show for me, because it definitely was, because I will forever hold a special place in my heart for the angsty emo music of my high school years. But now that I’m slightly less angsty on a slightly less regular basis, I don’t need lines like, “Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?” to speak directly to my soul anymore. Haha.)
The show itself was great, but I was reminded of how much I absolutely LOATHE the main act:everything else ratio of concerts. The first opening act started at 7:30, but Andrew McMahon didn’t go on until 9:30, and then played for about an hour and a half, including his encore. That’s a perfectly reasonable amount of time for a main act, I’d say, but that also means that of the three and a half hours of concert time, over half of that was spent either openers or turning over the stage between bands. I know this is part of how these sorts of things work, but it just drives me crazy every time. I guess this is really why I put up with the ridiculous prices of Lollapalooza. At festivals, there isn’t any down time between acts, and if you don’t want to see a particular act, you can go do something else in the mean time instead of having to defend your square foot of personal space.
3. I am, once again, having birding problems.
Two weeks ago, I went for a run on a Monday afternoon. It had snowed that day, and as I was running, I saw a little bird on the edge of the sidewalk, highlighted by its contrast against the snow. I assumed it was a house finch/sparrow by its size and coloring, but when I got closer and it flew into a nearby bush, I could immediately tell that it was not a house finch/sparrow, because it had a white belly. I thought I had once again spotted a brown creeper, and was very excited by this sighting.
Then, two days later, I was running along the same road, and I saw the bird again, in the exact same place as Monday. This time, I got a closer look at it, and upon further investigation, decided that it was not a brown creeper at all, as it lacked the brown creeper’s distinctive tail, and also seemed to be MUCH bigger than the brown creeper (who I remembered being quite tiny, because that was one of the primary characteristics I noticed about it.). After returning home, I pulled up the Merlin Bird ID app, aka my favorite app of all time, and to my great dismay, could not find a bird that looked like the bird I saw 😦
This past Saturday, I was one of what seemed like maybe a dozen people stupid enough to not let 40 degrees and rain deter me from my long run. While running along the empty Lakefront Trail, I saw a bird that I thought looked similar to the ones I had seen two weeks ago: relatively small, with flecked brown backs/wings and white bellies and a distinctive black stripe on their heads. I debated taking pictures of them, but given the rain situation, didn’t feel particularly inclined to take my phone out. I figured I’d remember enough details to tell Merlin and have it identify my bird. But once again, I could not!
I’m now on a quest to figure out what birds I’ve seen, because this is driving me crazy. And mark my words, if I see them again, I am most definitely taking a picture this time!
Have you been to Lollapalooza? Are you going this year?
Have you been to any concerts or other shows recently?