Lollapalooza 2008 Day 1: Don't hate me because I'm very important. Well, okay, go ahead.
As a newcomer to the 21st century Chicago version of Lolla, I didn’t know what to expect beyond a fuckton of sweaty college kids, frisbee hazards and ass grass stains. The fine people at Fresh & Clean Media, the publicists working this behemoth event, hooked me up with a VIP bracelet (oooh; it’s cloth!). Purist rock journo peers sniffed, “Well, you can’t truly experience the festival from the VIP area.” Ah, how wonderfully true. I don’t experience sunstroke, hunger, girls picking cigarette butts off their sticky shins, solicitations for car insurance–branded guitar picks, port-a-potties, infield mud or d-bags tripping in jester hats. Two gated “Lolla Lounge” oases sit at the far ends of the grounds, lakeside. You can see the orange and blue lawn chairs rising on a plateau of privilege from the peon seats. Oh, right, you don't have seats. Or modernist faux-leather couches. Or air-conditioned bathrooms with plumbing and potpourri. (!!!)
I settle into a teal plastic beach chaise with a gratis Vitamin Water as Holy Fuck work tape loops over hypnotic hyper-krautrock. Yes, I can actually see them onstage. I can count the fingers on the guitarist. The large screen provides the close-ups lazy journalists need. An employee approaches to announce that lunch will shortly be served. Pasta salad, melon-ball cocktail, lamb stuffed in pita and fresh chocolate chip cookies—shoveled down with biodegradable forks that slowly soften under your gluttonous bites. As soon as my plate is cleared, another lanyarded drone swoops in to collect my reconstituted plate for recycling.
Later, during the Go! Team, the sun is beating down upon the raised viewing dais. The handful of us wandering out from the shaded tables and complimentary tatami mats press cool cans of SmartWater against our beading necks, freshly sprayed with tester samples of sunscreen. A couple C3 workers carry patio umbrellas up to the platform to relieve us. We fan ourselves with free issues of the new Spin, which not-so-coincidentally opens with a small piece bemoaning the corporate nature of VIP cabanas, and the unpure view offered from the quasi–cruise-ship decks. Hey, I’ll have to find one of those Spin cats over by the open SoCo bar and object. This is the life. No wonder the rich vote Republican. Before heading back into the marble-interior restroom, I wonder how well these fences would withstand a riot under commoners’ revolt. The Coliseum had stone and swords. If the economy and climate worsens, here’s a tip for next year, Perry: Escape blimps. Catered, of course.