Live review: Lollapalooza Friday (8/6/2010)



Since 2005, Lollapalooza has been located in the heart of Chicago, taking over Grant Park for weekends full of music.

The day got started early, as B.O.B. kicked things off at 11:30 a.m. The backdrop of the Chicago skyline made for fantastic views throughout the day as more and more people filed in — a good number of them dressed in their favorite drag, leather, lace and wigs for the night's Lady Gaga performance.

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The Ettes hit the BMI stage around 12:30 for their brand of what I'd call indie punk. Definitely a group I'd be interested in seeing again.

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The Walkmen with their Dylan-esque indie rock hit the adidas MEGA stage after B.O.B. While Voodoo Fest in New Orleans has two main stages close together, and Bonnaroo allows for a lot of room surrounding each stage, Lollapalooza felt a bit crammed — with more stages than the previously mentioned fests and tighter crowd areas.

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Raphael Saadiq got his '60s soul thing going on the Parkways Stage.

Though the heat wasn't overbearing, it was a good time, after Saadiq, to grab some food at one of the many vendors here. Much like the porta-johns, there are two long rows of food vendors offering reasonably priced fare. However, while water is just $2 and free refills are available, the beer is $5 for a 12-ounce can.

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Live singer Ed Kowalcyzk was on the Kidzapalooza stage for a brief set. The singer admitted that while he didn't have songs specifically for kids, he did have songs about kids.

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A large crowd gathered around the BMI stage for Semi Precious Weapons, who is currently touring with Lady Gaga.

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Sure enough, two songs into the band's set, Gaga herself appeared at the back of the stage to watch the performance. (She later joined the band on stage and stage dove into the crowd.)

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The band puts forth a high-energy show full of campy rock that the crowd soaked up every moment of.

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Matt & Kim's energetic style hit the adidas MEGA stage. The duo's keyboard and drum songs were a great way to get people moving in the mild heat of the day.

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The Black Keys sounded the best I've ever heard them as they hit the Budweiser Stage in the early evening.

While I wanted to watch the entire set, I instead headed back to the Parkways main stage to try and get a chance at photographing Lady Gaga's set. After standing in line for an hour and a half, we were informed that only the first 50 photographers — I was 31st in line — would get to shoot what ended up being the first two songs. (The general rule is that photographers get to photograph the first three songs of a band.)


For the first song, Lady Gaga was obscured behind a curtain as her silouette gyrated and posed. She spent most of the second song in darkness before making her way to the front of the stage, wearing a purple jacket and leopard leotard. As she made her way to a piano in front of a car on stage, the photographers were escorted out and that was about all I got to see of her show... making my way through the crowd, I couldn't see much of anything and by the time I got some breathing room, I was too far back to catch anything that was going on.

While Gaga was entertaining her fans, The Strokes were rocking the other main stage on the opposite end of the park, wrapping up the festival at 10 p.m.

Saturday will feature headliners Green Day as well as Gogol Bordello, Social Distortion, Metric and others...

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