Looked upon by many as nothing more than a traveling freak show, Lollapalooza rumbled into the Gorge at George on the Fourth of July.
The gods must have been looking after the thousands of people who ventured to the fifth installment of Perry Farrell’s wacky alternative rock festival. The Gorge served as the launch site for Lollapalooza ‘95, and the goateed men and body-pierced women were in for quite a show.
The great times started even before Doo Rag opened, because thousands (and what seemed like millions) of people camped out Monday night. Parties were waged all night long, and what few moments of shut-eye we did manage were soon interrupted by some rather loud hip hop fans a few tents down.
But we all know that Lollapalooza isn’t about sleep, or even safe sex tents and $5 burritos, it’s about good old-fashioned loud music.
On a picture-perfect day, the Gorge was treated to a great show. Doo Rag opened; unfortunately for the band few people seemed to give a rip. As they played, most people staked out territory on the grass, found a good moshing zone, or just browsed “propaganda road.”
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were up first on the main stage, and anticipation was high as they began their set. The band played a driving set and livened up the party quite well. Horns and guitars, that’s the Bosstones’ calling, and they serve it well.
The Jesus Lizard is referred to in the “Insomnia Catalog,” a list of hard-to-find CD’s and shirts, as “only the greatest live band on Earth.” I cannot echo these sentiments, but I can say The Jesus Lizard is a decent band which inspired the crowd to mosh without abandon.
It turned out that Beck was the first big act of the day, and as his riffs echoed in the Gorge, the blazing sun beat down upon the masses of now very red young bodies. The heat was uncomfortable, Beck was not. Beck fans really got into the set, and it is safe to say that Beck created many new fans during the show.
My buds and I took a little break to look around at the many attractions. Whatever anger and bitter disgust I felt while observing The Lab, a medium for some screaming leather clad wrestling/ punk rock guys, was soon alleviated inside the cool and dark Cinema Tent.
As it turned out it was not the Russian docu-drama or the demented cartoons that made our day, it was the utter shock we felt when Perry Farrell entered the tent as we approached the door to exit. Perry, the genius front man of Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros, is also the mastermind behind Lollapalooza. A man of slight build, Farrell is big on presence and appeal.
We decided against following Perry around all day and instead returned to see Sinead O’Connor. I fell asleep during her set, so ask someone else how it was.
Coolio was up on the second stage, so we moseyed over there for some mist and hip hop. We were not huge fans of Coolio, so after two songs we jetted. I’m sure the set was great, but once again it is necessary to ask someone else.
My friends share a certain affinity for Cypress Hill. I don’t know, it just seems as though a certain aspect of the hip hop group really drives kids wild, I suppose it could be the band’s ten foot bong! Cypress Hill puts on a really great show and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the pit. The group really plays to the crowd, they should become a main event draw during the rest of the tour.
Hole was up next. As the sun set, Courtney Love came out and managed to turn off virtually everyone I know with her constant whining and crassness. Although they played only a dozen or so songs, I really enjoyed the music of Hole.
But Courtney Love definitely needs to chill somewhere down the line, or there will be a massive riot. The moshing was intense and unwavering, as was the cold wind that kicked into high gear as the sky darkened. Roughly half of the crowd left after Hole’s set, a testament to the fact no one cares about Sonic Youth. Well maybe they should.
During a post-Lollapalooza analysis with one of my camping mates, we could not help but agree that even if you do not like Sonic Youth, a certain respect must be held for the band that has set the stage for so much of today’s popular music. Sonic Youth played a great set, with “Bull in the Heather” as my personal favorite. I can only hope that concert goers at future Lollapaloozas will stick around for all of Sonic Youth’s performance.
A long day of music, mayhem and fun ended quite peacefully - that is until we saw what was left of our campsite. Vicious hoodlums had knocked over our tents and, in fact, stolen one of the tents of a compatriot. Fortunately one of our own guys had put up our tent by the time we located our Lollapalooza headquarters, so we stayed another night.
I can’t say that this year’s Lollapalooza offered up any great surprises, but nonetheless it was a great show, one worth venturing to in the future.