Oh my, what a day… Woke up this morning to RAIN, and not just a little bit – it was coming down in bucketloads… Oh my, that probably means it’s going to be Glasto-style mud in Grant Park.
I lazed about for the morning, and by lunchtime the sun was back in the sky – so looked like normal service was resumed. As it was bound to be muddy I donned a pair of shoes I didn’t care about and headed down to the park to have a mooch around.
First band I really wanted to see was The Cars, and they were pretty good fun. You realise just how long ago the 80s were… and despite the drummer playing a rather gutless electronic kit, the band rolled out all their hits – singalong time!
Dived off to get something to eat and oh-noes, the rain arrives… with it’s chums thunderbolts and lightning… There’s no point trying to get under cover, the rain is hard and relentless, so I just quickly gave up and embraced the wet! I’m just soaked, head to toe… my phone has packed up… yikes! (looks like I’m staying in touch via hashblue.com for the rest of the week)
Wandered over to see the Arctic Monkeys, whose set was delayed by the storm by 30 mins – Alex Turner wanders on and introduces themeselves as from “High Green, Sheffield…. Australia” (I think I’m the only one laughing at that). I have to say I was mightily impressed, in a slightly curtailed set (45 mins) they belted it out with the usual cynicism and panache. Alex is also sporting a new punkish haircut, which I have to say I would have loved 20 years ago!
I’m in a good spot near the mixing desk and there’s only 45 mins to the Foos, so there’s no way on earth I’m moving. The crowd around me are a good laugh and we form our own “great wall” preventing people pushing in front. Anticipation builds… this is the band we’ve all REALLY come to see… Also building, over the spectacular Chicago skyline are more dark, ominous looking clouds…
Bang on 8:00 and on stage they come… the cheers are immense and EVERYONE is singing along to every word. Three songs in and the heavens open… now I thought it was raining hard before (and I’m from Manchester, where we like to think we know a thing or two about rain) but it’s coming down HARD. The skyline behind us has completely vanished, but the band keeps on playing and the crowd keeps on singing.
Dave is in happy mood, and it shows – he doesn’t once do his “hard rock stare” and serious face, he knows he has a good crowd in front of him, willing to risk drowning to have a good time so on he goes… As usual, the hits are coming thick and fast – a mix of old and new… but everyone knows the words. “Rope”, “My Hero”, “Learn to Fly” all met with equal gusto… It’s getting close to 9:45 (and the place has a strict 10:00 curfew) so Dave says, “no encores – we’ll play until they tell us to stop” – unbelievably they run out of time before playing “All My Life” (you’d think after I flew all this way they would play my favourite song) but all the same – a great set and a great end to a wonderful festival. The muddy throngs then trooped their way out of Grant Park, and I was still tight amongst them as I get back to my hotel halfway up North Michigan Ave. I’m cold, I’m wet – so straight into the shower… then down to the bar to write this (and enjoy a beverage or 2)!
So Lolla is over… Totally unlike Glastonbury, there’s none of the alternative scene here, and of course no camping, but all the same – a lot of music and a lot of fun! Would definitely consider coming back (ideally with a bit more company – Vanda, whose idea this was hasn’t really been around)