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Jim James of My Morning Jacket

IGGY AND THE STOOGES

Lollapalooza, Bud Light stage
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007

Setlist:
Loose
Down on the Street
1969
I Wanna Be Your Dog
TV Eye
My Idea of Fun
Dirt
Real Cool Time
No Fun
1970
Fun House
Skull Ring

MY MORNING JACKET

Lollapalooza, AT&T stage
Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007

Setlist:
Anytime
What a Wonderful Man
Off the Record
Gideon
Wordless Chorus
Dancefloors
Just One Thing
Golden
Lay Low
One Big Holiday
Run Thru
Move On Up

 


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Windy City Sounds: Marching through Lollapalooza 2007 (cont.)

Still high as a kite inside after the Roots, I set out to find Rick and company, who had sat this one out. Not understanding north/south in the City of Chicago, I accidentally stumbled upon the BMI stage, where Back Door Slam was playing. With plenty of shade and a kick-ass blues band on stage, I quickly demanded the appearance of everyone else, and shortly thereafter we all sat under a tree watching this band cut through fantastic renditions of their own songs and covers, include “Key to the Highway,” which was a great highlight. The set was so good, when we peered out onto the streets of Chicago, there was an elder-looking, quasi-homeless man dancing to the music and simply having a blast all by himself — a truly remarkable scene, and a testament to this band’s talent. I was still hung over from the Roots, but this was the best imaginable follow-up.

Next on the schedule for us was the highly anticipated set from Spoon, who had taken the indie rock world by storm recently with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. But before that, we needed to chill out, get some food, and generally chit chat, which meant momentarily leaving the venue. After we returned, and arrived at the MySpace stage, we chilled out, met some of Rick’s friends, and awaited Spoon. All the hype, all the CD listening, and all the crowd (at this point seemingly swelling to about 75,000 to 00,000 people) built to what can best be described as disappointment. We wanted them to rock in the worst way, but a strange combination of a chatty crowd and compromise-free demand from the band not to alter in any way from the CDs lead to a very ordinary set. As a result, we ended up walking away and checking out the final moments of Patti Smith’s set, which made us feel like we really missed something great. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand and really took her set somewhere. We were there only for the final climax, wishing for much more.

We decided to hang back and watch Interpol’s headlining set from afar on chairs we had randomly bumped into while waiting for others to arrive. We lasted approximately halfway through Interpol’s set before the mocking, repeated remarks about being tired and being more excited for tomorrow wore thin, and we decided to beat the crowd out the gate. After all, we didn’t even like the band and needed to save our energy for tomorrow when we would camp out like crazies at the big stage for Pearl Jam.

SUNDAY, AUG. 5

Day Three arrived with that standard feeling before a Pearl Jam show — the combination of complete anticipation and dread that this whole circus is coming to a close.

It started out in a familiar way: we waited for more than 45 minutes to enter the venue to find Pearl Jam fans in full sprint towards the big AT&T stage, trying to grab the barricade and be the one front row for the most anticipated Pearl Jam show in over a decade. We ran, we got close — in fact about 20 feet from stage — and we were determined to stay there. We sat through the most depressing set of the festival: a collection of songs about death and depression from Dax Riggs, who turned the crowd to full mock mode, save for the appearance of some guy dressed like Roy Orbison enjoying the festivities from side stage. The Roy Orbison look-alike was eventually more watched and cheered than Dax Riggs and his “Black Clowns of the Rodeo.” After that set, a fellow concert-goer received a text that Ben Harper would be doing a solo acoustic set at the kids’ stage in an hour, and the dream of being up front for Pearl Jam’s set died with it.

Leaving the front section of the Pearl Jam crowd was well worth it. First, it was a good 10-15 degrees hotter in that muck of humanity in an already mid-90s scorcher. Second, Ben Harper really did a fine job with his acoustic set. He started with “Steal My Kisses,” and explained it was written for his child, whom he had to chase around to kiss because his son hated his beard. He introduced the next song as coming from the Curious George soundtrack, along with “With My Own Two Hands.” Finally, he closed out the brief set with an excellent performance of “Waiting On An Angel,” stating he wished it would one day become a lullaby. The most remarkable part of this set was the crowd. It went from being so quiet while Ben was playing that you could literally hear a tree bustle in a small breeze to boisterously loud in between songs. It was truly thrilling to see so many people have such respect for Ben’s craft as to give him that kind of attention and care. The most important part of the crowd, the children, quickly learned and followed suit, completely taken by Ben’s amazing song writing and humble spirit.

After Mr. Harper completed his set, I decided it was time to experience as much as the festival had left to offer, and set off for a number of acts I wanted to see. While having a nice bite to eat for lunch at a picnic table, we watched most of the Black Angels’ set from afar, enjoying their intense live show, with the songs coming exclusively from their debut album Passover.

Then, it was back to that Bud Light stage one last time for Iggy and the Stooges. Truth be told, this was the act I fully expected to be awful, but was going anyway just so I could say I saw them. I was the true jerk of the lot, a completely non-genuine interest in the band. Ultimately, I was taken aback by how excellent they were live. The band was among the tightest at the entire festival, essentially egging on Iggy Pop into a maniacal mess. The crowd ate it up and went nuts for them, as Iggy humped amps, dove into the crowd, sang along with them, and generally caused havoc — sometimes welcome and exciting, other times out of control and agitating.

After getting a good 45-minute sampling of Iggy and the Stooges, I jumped over to where the excitement had begun: the Playstation stage. The Wailers were one of the bands I earmarked as a must-see before the festival, and I got all the way to the fourth row, stage right, for them. The set was somewhere between epic and mind-blowing, with the Wailers nailing every song under the sun while not completely catering to hit songs. Some essentials were there, including overwhelming versions of “One Love” and “Three Little Birds,” but the real shock of the set was the post-Marley “I Wanna Yell,” which burned with the same passion and urgency of any of Bob Marley’s great songs. It was either during “Them Belly Full” or “Trenchtown Rock” that I got the much feared text message from Rick — this basically meant something big happened and I missed it. The miss was the appearance of Eddie Vedder during the Kings of Leon set I skipped for the Stooges and The Wailers. The Wailers really were too good to leave; so good I was fine missing Vedder’s pseudo-surprise showing with the Kings of Leon.

With the Wailers done, there was only one stage left to visit: the big stage for the mighty combination of My Morning Jacket and Pearl Jam. The finality of it all dawned on me. I would no longer hop from stage to stage, or embrace a new surprise, or discover a new and exciting band. Those days and hours were gone, and it was time to settle in for the ride.

My Morning Jacket kicked things off with “Anytime” and rocked out through a number of songs off Z, when Perry Farrell emerged to tell the crowd to take out all their recording devices for the next song. My Morning Jacket decided their next music video would be an edit of fan shot footage while they played “Gideon” with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. The entire experience really took things up a notch and for the first time during the entire festival, a real sense of community was felt throughout the 100,000-plus attendees. Through most of the remainder, they played with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, which added an epic element to an already full sound. They were jaw-dropping, a true highlight.

But now it was time for the wait…

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