The Subways: 12:30-1:30. They were a great way to start out the weekend. These young Brits brought a lot of energy to the stage and kept the crowd into it, even though there weren't too many people to watch them. The only problem I had, as with a lot of other bands here, was that an hour was just too long of a set for them to fill and there seemed to be a bit of a lull during their set. Overall, I really enjoyed them.
Panic! at the Disco: 2:30-3:30. Why I stayed for the entire set is beyond me. I was honestly coming into this set hoping that they could pull off a really good set and win over a lot more fans who hadn't bought into their music yet. But I think they harmed themselves a lot more than they helped themselves. The singing was terrible, the vaudeville actors that were on stage for most of the set got old very quickly, and they butchered Radiohead's "Karma Police" and Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight" worse than they butchered their own songs. Being from Chicago, it hurt to hear a band think that they can pull off a song like that in front of the Pumpkins' home crowd fans. I was very disappointed in Panic! and they were easily the worst set of the weekend.
Editors: 3:30-4. I enjoyed what I saw from these guys. They had a lot of stage presence and sounded like early Interpol to me. If you're into that kind of sound I suggest checking them out. I would have stayed the whole set but I needed some McDonalds in me fast.
The Secret Machines: 5:30-6:30. I sat and watched this set from a little farther away than normal since I wasn't very familiar with them, but I was impressed. They were a nice band to take a break to before the rest of the day.
The Raconteurs: 6:30-7:30. This was probably the best set I heard all day. Jack White and company were energetic and played a good mix of hard rock and slower, almost country music without losing the crowd at all. The only slight complaint I had with the set is that they played the first of what ended up being about 5 times I heard the song "Crazy" covered this weekend. Solid group, I suggest checking them out.
Death Cab for Cutie: 8:30-9:30. I was disappointed that these guys closed the night. I'm one to think that a closer is supposed to be energetic and get you pumped about heading back for another day, but these guys just didn't do it. I'm not a huge fan of these guys, but I'm certainly not one to bash them. They do their melodic rock very well and I can enjoy them in small doses. But slow song after slow song is just not something that should be finishing a night at an event like this. I would have loved to hear these guys at around 5 o'clock but the organizers didn't see it my way. I left a half-hour before the end of their set to beat the traffic on the El home.
I had to work in the morning so I couldn't head out to Grant Park until around 3. My friend who was there at 12"30 said I had already missed two great sets from Nada Surf and Coheed and Cambria, but I was still excited about the day.
Wolfmother: 4-4:30. I got into the park a half-hour into the set to hear "Woman." I haven't heard much besides the singles from these guys but they were certainly having fun up there and the crowd really liked it. It was a solid rock show from what I saw and as my buddy said, seeing those huge afros on stage was worth the price of admission.
Gnarls Barkley: 4:30-5:30. This was a damn good time. The first big afternoon crowd of the fest piled in to see those guys that do that one song, but if they're like me, got a lot more than expected. Cee Lo, Danger Mouse, and the band, including a string section, all came out with their matching white tennis outfits and from then on put on a great show. I hadn't heard the album at all, but I was impressed at the wide range of music they played. Most of the crowd didn't seem as if they appreciated the musical talent as much as I did, though, as about half of the around 40,000 who came to watch left after they played "Crazy." The final two songs sounded great and it was a lot of fun to watch. I really enjoyed their set and look forward to buying this disc.
Smoking Popes: 5:30-6:30. I had never gotten too into these guys but have a lot more respect for them now. They put on a great set of melodic punk rock and the crowd was really into it. They played two new songs in the middle of the set and from the sound of those, the new CD's gonna certainly be one to pick up.
Common: 6:30-7:30. I chose to stay and watch Common despite all of my friends going to see the Flaming Lips, and from their perspective, I probably made a mistake. I really enjoyed Common's show -- he brings a lot of energy to a hip-hop sound that doesn't sound too energetic on record. The only problem I had with his set is that it almost entirely consited of Go, and while I really like Go, I wish he would have explored his catalog a little more. Despite enjoying Common, my friends said I would have enjoyed the Flaming Lips a lot more. An insane stage show with a crowd that was really into it was how it was described to me, which made me rethink my decision, but oh well.
Kanye West: 8:30-10:00. This was the most fun I had all weekend. I'm a fan of Kanye and his live set certainly didn't disappoint. It started off a little rough with some microphone issues that made the first three songs sound a little off, but don't worry everyone, Kanye made sure to let all 70,000 people, including his manager, know that some changes were gonna be made after the show to make sure he wasn't embarrassed in front of his hometown crowd ever again. After the sound issues were settled, he proceeded to give a very energetic performance with a good mix of hits and other quality songs off of both albums. With help from Common in "Get 'em High," Twista in "Slow Jamz," GLC in "Spaceship" and Lupe Fiasco in "Touch the Sky," and his own song "Kick, Push," the crowd of people were into it the whole time. I don't think I've ever seen so many white people putting up their fists to a song with the lyrics "That's that crack music, that real black music" and probably never will again. With Kanye's joking in between songs and energy during them, this was one of my favorite shows of the weekend.
The Redwalls: 12:30-1:30. These guys were a little more disappointing than my friend talked them up to me. Their Beatles-ish sound left a little something more to be desired in the energy department, even for their sound. It was a pretty boring set, but I think I would enjoy them on disc. Nothing worth seeing in my opinion.
Ben Kweller: 2:30-3:30. This was a fun show. I've enjoyed his albums and it was nice to see him live for the first time. The music sounded very good and the small crowd was very into it. It was a fun show to watch if you're a fan.
Andrew Bird: 3:45-4:30. The perfect chill show to have some lunch to. This show was fun to watch just because of how much music was coming from just two people. I know they use loops, which make some people a little angry, but it was fun to see them change from instrument to instrument during songs. If you ever need some calm music to listen to for any reason, this is perfect.
Matisyahu: 4:45-5:15. I was expecting this to be so redundant since this has such a gimmicky feel to it, but it was actually a very good show. The energy was something I wasn't expecting and it was really cool to see him beatbox for about 5 minutes straight. It was a lot of fun, but I don't know how much it would have lasted had I watched the whole set.
Of Montreal: 5:20-6. I came to these guys on a recommendation from my friend and I'm definitely glad I did. This was just a crazy show with crazy costumes and costume changes throughout and I enjoyed every minute of it. I had never heard the music before, but I really enjoyed it and would recommend this band to anyone who wants to see a fun, energetic rock show.
Queens of the Stone Age: 6:30-7:30. This was just a good hard rock show that had been lacking throughout the weekend. They played straight through for the entire hour with a few words here and there, but besides that it was the hard rock show that Lollapalooza had needed.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: 8:30-9:15. I had not been looking forward to these guys at all, but my friends were so we stayed in our spot to get a good view of the Chili Peppers. I was very disappointed at the set that I saw. They did just what I hoped they wouldn't do and played a majority of the new album, which just sounds like the same jam band song, one after another. I couldn't stand much more of the monotonous material anymore and decided to call it a weekend about halfway through the set. This was the one band that I wish would have just played their hits for the hour and a half because they could have been so much more energetic. They may have ended up doing that for the last half-hour or so they had, but it didn't look promising and I couldn't deal with much more. This was a sour note to end the weekend in my opinion.
Overall I would say I enjoyed the festival. The venue was nice, the food was reasonably priced for a weekend festival like this, the re-entry policy was a nice bonus, the tents set up had some interesting things to purchase, the Virgin Megastore tent had some great deals, and the overall atmosphere was great. The only complaints I had were the lack of time in between acts and the closers. You had to make about a ten-minute walk just to get to the other main stage and they put no time space in between, so you pretty much had to decide who you didn't want to see and entire set of. And you probably noticed that I wasn't impressed with the closers except for Kanye West's performance. I think that was the main reason that I enjoyed last year's Lollapalooza over this year's. Overall, this was still a fun weekend to hear some new bands and go to a different show than the punk/indie rock shows I'm used to seeing.