Lolla Day #2: It Takes Patti Smith 20 Minutes to Watch 60 Minutes

We’re back from another long day at Grant Park…and in the absence of a decent internet connection, here are some of the highlights:

  • First up: Pete Yorn. I didn’t like him.
  • Second up: the Sam Roberts Band! I was planning on skipping Sammy, seeing as how I’ve seen him several times already, but nationalist pangs drew me towards the PlayStation Stage in time for his 2:15pm start. Canadiana was in abundance; at one point the audience broke into an impromptu rendition of “O Canada” (which is becoming, like, so cliched these days). I stuck around for two songs, but left at the start of the third in order to see…
  • Silverchair–who sucked…and becauase that statement has blood shooting out of Jeff Gulley’s eyes, I’ll explain why. It’s not the fact that they weren’t playing any recognizeable songs–I was fine with that. It was that Daniel Johns (great last name, by the way) was so self-absorbed it became a distraction. I don’t care if a singer is self-indulgent; it’s an occupational hazzard of rock n’ roll stardom. I do care when a singer is so far up his own ass that he (or she) distances himself (or herself) from the audience, which is exactly what Daniel Johns did today. He was also blazed out of his gord; I guess that’s his prerogative as a rock star, but it made him come across as a total wanker. I made it through two-and-a-half songs; that was plenty.
  • Next up: the “very special guest” on the KIDZ Stage. Obviously we were expecting Eddie Vedder; instead, we were pleasantly surprised by Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) on solo banjo, Perry Farrell…and Patti Smith playing a four-song acoustic set!!!! Unbelievable! More on her in a second.
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah = alright; the first and last songs were good, but they bookended a bunch of samey-sounded crap (at least to these ears).
  • The Hold Steady = solid, and very enjoyable.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs = wow, does Karen O have a helluva live voice. Scary good stuff; still, there were other places we had to be. Such as…
  • The adidas Stage to see her eminence, Patti Smith. Patti’s four-song acoustic set was a pleasant shock, but it was nothing compared to the visceral power of seeing her plugged in. Her performance was utterly astonishing, and culminated in a rendition of “Rock ‘n’ Roll N***r” which frankly defies explanation. Let’s just say it was prefaced with a lengthy rant about giving the power back to the people, and as it culminated with one of the most blood-curdling “motherfuckers!” in history the skies opened up and the rain began pouring down. Then, when the song finished (with Patti ripping out her guitar strings), the rain stopped. Sheer, bloody majesty.
  • From there, it was on to Muse…who were very, very good (Tim, you were right about this), but suffered from bad positioning (i.e., no one could’ve topped Patti Smith). Still, their light show was impressive, and “Knights of Cydonia” put an exclamation point on a spectacular day by Lake Michigan.

So that’s that. Tomorrow, meanwhile, we’re aiming to be downtown by 1:45pm CST for Smoosh before camping out in front of the main stage for Pearl Jam. After the Vic Theatre we’re even more certain we’ll be getting a “greatest hits” set…and for once, I’m kinda looking forward to it. Talk to you later!

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