Lollapalooza was a long weekend. You can see TOC’s reports – including write-ups from me about The Hold Steady, the 1900s, Sam Roberts Band and Silversun Pickups on our blog. Plus, we’ve got loads of pictures on our Flickr site.
I know this is an overused cliche, but for me, it felt a bit like Groundhog Day: wake up, check schedule, get laptops, walk to Lolla, set up, walk to show, sweat, walk back to tents, check the blog, walk to next show, sweat, squeeze in two minutes to talk to friends you haven’t seen in a year, check blog, walk, sweat, write, walk, sweat, watch, pass out.
Every time I bitched about having to work at Lolla, people would say “Oh yeah, that’s a lot of work to be outside and watch music.” Except, that’s not what I did. Because I was working, I missed the massive audience participation of Iggy Pop’s set (easily the most talked-about event in a weekend sorely lacking in them) and Daft Punk’s reportedly mind-blowing performance (though I overheard it whilst in the press tent uploading photos). I missed more than I saw due to all the running back and forth, and blog editing.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any fun. Like at the Hard Rock after-party on Friday.
As I mentioned, Lolla is usually a chance to catch up with people I’ve met at previous fests, like Abbey at PunkPhoto, Scott at Stereogum, Whitney from Pop Candy and Rachel from Rachelandthecity. Friday night, I was on the list for the Hard Rock party and knew a couple other folks were going to be there so I headed over around 11:30 after a long, sweaty day. As expected, I was met with a line, but it was short so I queued up.
Now, I have two hard-and-fast rules about bar-going: no bar is worth waiting in line for and no bar is worth paying a cover charge if there’s no live band. (I retain a $5 and under exception for the latter if there is a DJ and/or it’s past midnight.) But Friday night, I broke my first rule and waited in line for 45 minutes as barely anyone from the press line was let in. I figured this would be the one time when I’d be in the mood to tolerate the kind of manufactured cool that events like this create. Plus, I wanted free booze.
At around the 40-minte mark, Whitney showed up with her friend Mariah, and we chatted for a bit as even she and her fancy laminated pass weren’t being let in. Suddenly, bouncers started ushering folks in, and I – along with two guys I was talking with in line, one of whom was wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt – were swept in, and up the stairs. Moving with the momentum of the situation, I stuck close to Whitney as we neared the VIP Lounge and she told Mr. Clipboard that I was with her. In the span of about two minutes, I went from standing on the street to potentially rubbing elbows with celebrities (and Danny Masterson). This was going to be the one time I played this game, and I intended to win, so I scanned the crowd for potential famous people.
Sure enough, standing next to me was a short, dark-haired, woman with heavy eye makeup who was being fawned over by someone else. “Ah ha,” I thought. “Amy Winehouse, my first sighting.” Despite the “no-that’s-not-her” protestations of my fellow partygoers, I decided to open with a question that would get me an easy “yes” and go from there. “Excuse me,” I said, “are you still touring with the Dap Kings?” She looked me dead in the eye, smiled – with suddenly worrying perfect teeth – and said:
Amy Winehouse: “I’ve never toured with the Dap Kings.”
Totally Not Amy Winehouse: “I’m Lady GaGa.”
Me: “Ohhh. Um, hi. I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.”
Lady GaGa: “Who did you think I was?”
Me: “You know, I….it doesn’t matter. Say, you’re from New York, right?”
Lady GaGa: “Yes, I’m from Man-haht-tan.” (in the thickest New Yawk accent ever)
Me: (determined to salvage this opportunity) “And you’re playing the MySpace stage tomorrow, right?”
Lady GaGa: “BMI.”
Me: “Oh-KAY! Well, it was nice meeting you, have a nice night.”
I turn back to Whitney and her friend, who are looking at me as if they’ve just witnessed someone willingly throw themselves through a plate-glass window. “So, that wasn’t her,” I said, confirming the obvious.
Later we met up again with Iron Maiden t-shirt guy who said he ran into Iron Maiden’s manager at the party, and he promised him free tickets next time they came to town. He also took the kid around the party, and helped him pick up hot girls (“I didn’t really have much to say to them except for ‘How’s it going?'”). Raise your hand if that totally sounds like what you’d expect from Iron Maiden’s manager.
Sadly, the night mostly lacked for celeb-spotting, but I did see:
* A great show by Polyphonic Spree
* Rachel and her friend standing onstage during said show
* A woman get a tattoo of a musical note behind her ear
* Another woman getting a makeover
* A flat-out trashed bathroom, rock-star style
I ended up having a really good time. I don’t think I would have had I not known people there. But it wasn’t as douchebaggy as I thought either. And, like I said, the booze was free.