Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Memorable Concert Moments: Lollapalooza 1991 and 1992

So the 2008 edition of Lollapalooza was this past weekend, and the show got more buzz than I can remember hearing about it in years. Perry Farrell's brainchild has definitely taken a long, strange trip since its 1991 inception. And my own first couple of attempts to attend met with varying degrees of success.

When the inaugural lineup was put together I was flabbergasted. Some of my favorite acts were part of that initial tour -- Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Ice-T & Body Count and Violent Femmes in particular. The closest the festival was scheduled to be was in New Jersey three days before my wedding.

Perfect timing, right? Well, not to Danelle. Try as I might, I could not convince her that going to the show would have no effect on our impending nuptials. She was afraid I'd get beat up, or we'd have relatives in town that it would be rude for me to ditch, or I shouldn't take another day off of work right before our honeymoon or any number of a zillion other nightmare scenarios. There was no talking her out of it -- I wasn't going.

Of the two events I'm certainly glad I chose our wedding over the concert. She did make it up to me by performing homemade karaoke versions of a couple of Living Colour songs for me on our first anniversary.

The next year we moved to Dallas, and the tour was back and coming to town. The year two lineup was arguably even better than the first, with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam and Lush all on the main stage. I had no plans to get married again so my there were no apparent conflicts. I bought my ticket right when they went on sale and eagerly counted the days until I could wash away the last remnants of the previous year's disappointment.

Then as the glorious day approached, a conflict arose. Danelle's grandmother was having her 80th birthday party the same day.

I truly felt Lollapacursed. But I'd already bought the ticket, and we had dinner with Danelle's grandmother regularly. So I convinced myself that skipping the party for the concert was no big deal. Besides, Danelle's dear sweet Mamaw would completely understand, right?

I explained the situation to her, and her dear, sweet words still echo in my head to this day.

"That's all right, hon. I only want people there who want to be there."

Stunned doesn't even begin to describe my reaction. I'm not even sure what I said in reply, if anything. What reply is there to that? That's light years beyond "Do these jeans make me look fat?" on the no-win scale and right up there with "Do you still have a drinking problem?" There's no way out. Game over.

I went to the concert and had a great time, and I don't think there was any lingering ill will between Mamaw and I through her passing a few years later. I went to the next two Lollapaloozas, too, before losing interest. But not before enjoying the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Arrested Development, Green Day and Rage Against the Machine on the main stage. The second stage also introduced me to great acts like Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E, The Boo Radleys, The Pharcyde and Shonen Knife.

But the most unforgettable Lollapalooza performance for me by far came from Danelle's Mamaw. If I ever get invited to someone's 80th birthday party again, I'm pretty sure I'll make sure to be there.

UPDATE: Danelle and Nana both informed that Mamaw never actually got over my snub, and continued to bring it up long after the fact. Sorry, Mamaw. :(

No comments: