Lollapalooza 2009

So we packed up the kids on Thursday night, August 6th, and we headed off to Chicago, Illinois.  We were going to Lollapalooza of course, but this time would be different for us.  We were taking the whole family, including the kids.  We take the kids lots of places but we’ve never taken them to a show before and definitely not one of this duration and magnitude.  I knew it would be a little challenging but I also figured it would be pretty cool to do together.

So after an hour or so delay due to a slow leak in one of our tires we were off for Chicago.  That trip went okay but I was very tired on the way up.  Traci and I switched off on the driving and eventually we made it there.  After arriving in Chicago we circled the same block about five times until we finally figured out where our hotel was.  We stayed at the Hotel Burnham in Chicago’s “loop” area.  The doorman was really helpful, especially at 1:30 am; we needed the help.  The hotel valet parked our car and we crashed in the room.  We really enjoyed the hotel; I’d recommend it to others.

Day one was rainy.

It wasn’t pouring but it was steadily drizzling.  Just yucky.  We went to the Kidzapalooza section and Orson played guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums.  He even did some vocal work.  His favorite was the drums.  He got a cool new hairdo and did some painting while there.  We putzed around there for a while, listened to some music, and then went back to the room for a nap.  We went back to the festival and watched Depeche Mode.  They were really good, even better than I expected.  We bought both Orson and Trent ear protection before we left and they looked ridiculous with those giant “headphones” on their heads, especially Trent.  Those things were as big as his head.  Orson was pissy and didn’t really watch the show but Trent watched a good bit of it from my shoulder.

On Day two it got really hot.  We stayed cool with ice and water and ended up staying most of the day at the park in the shade whenever we could.  We also scored lots of free snacks for the kids on day two.  It was so crowded; I found out later it was sold out all three days: 75,000 people each day.  Try pushing a stroller through that!  Most everyone we met were super nice about it.  We watched a band called Rise Against; they were from Chicago I think and were pretty good.  Tool went on that night and they were perfect, of course.  Right before they came on I took Orson to pee.  Some dude told us there were additional bathrooms on the south side of the field.  There was only one bathroom and it was packed.  I ended up losing Traci and Trent in the crowd for the first two songs.  Eventually through text messaging we were able to find each other and we watched the show together from then on.  Orson was more into it this time and watched a good bit of the performance.  The walk back that night wasn’t bad; once the sun went down it got really cool.  We walked the six blocks or so to the hotel, stopping for Jimmy John’s along the way.  It was kinda surreal actually.

On Day three we were most interested in seeing Silversun Pickups and Jane’s Addiction.  It was hot that day too so we went to the Sears Tower before going to the festival.  After a three hour wait we were 103 stories above Chicago, at the highest point in the state.  Over 1300 feet.  We took a walk on the all-glass viewing boxes recently installed in Skydeck.  There really aren’t words to describe what it feels like to stand on a glass floor 103 stories in the air.  The ground is so far below you.  My heart was pounding, I was sweating, and I was sick to my stomach.  I vowed I wouldn’t wuss out and I didn’t; I did it once and then, just to prove I could, I did it again.  Each time I spent no more than  about 8-10 seconds on the glass.  It was crazy.

We made it to the festival in plenty of time to see Silversun Pickups.  They were freaking awesome and sounded better than I’ve ever heard them sound.  They really drew a large crowd too.  Traci and I split up and I took the boys to get some food while she went to watch Jane’s Addiction play.  I missed that show which was unfortunate since Eric Avery was back for the first time since like 1991.  Too bad Perry Ferrell looks like Suze Orman now.  Traci told me they were excellent.

It was funny to watch how people reacted to Trent in those huge headphone ear protectors while we were there.  They were as big as his head and squashed his little cheeks forward.  He looked adorable.  I received several pats on the back and high fives for bringing the kids from various strangers, not to mention all the people who tapped their friends on the shoulder and pointed at Trent as he walked by.  There must have been 30 or more interested onlookers watching little Trent.  Several people took his picture too.  He was like a little rock star there.

Traci did such a good job planning and packing; we had everything we needed and more.  No one can plan better than her, period.

Since Traci had her first day of work after summer break to get back to she couldn’t miss work the next day.  We hurried back to the hotel, packed up, then packed the car.  We pulled out right on time: 11:00 pm.  We stopped for gas and saw some fellow concert-goers there.  We got some food and took off.  I ended up driving the whole way, over five hours, and had to pop between 8-10 caffeine pills to stay awake.  I was strung out on caffeine by the time we rolled back into St. Louis and it took me over two hours to even get to sleep after all that caffeine.  I was tweaking hard; it was an awful feeling.  Eventually I fell asleep but had some weird ass dreams that made it hard to rest.  Eventually I got up, unpacked, and took care of the kids.  I felt weird for most of the day actually.  Luckily I squeezed in another nap.

All in all I had a great time.  With how expensive it was to drive up we’re thinking about just flying the next time (if we go next year).  We also might leave earlier on Sunday, depending on band lineup and whether or not I’m driving again.

I included some select photos from our trip below.  Hope you like them.

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