By Johnny Firecloud at 8:26 AM Tuesday, August 9th 2011
Lollapalooza 2011 has come to a wet, muddy and exhilarating close, tying up a three-day weekend that saw high-point performances from Foo Fighters, Muse, Eminem, The Kills, Atmosphere and many others. It was messy, it was crazy, and it was among the best nights of this music addict’s entire life, for one specific reason: Dave Grohl & company rose to the occasion in cinematically epic fashion, delivering a two-hour set of high-octane Rock crushers and hits to the crowd of 90,000, most of it in a torrential downpour. They even brought Jane’s Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza mastermind Perry Farrell to soak in the moment (pun so very intended).
If you were there, there’s a very good chance you’ve still got mud somewhere on your body, and your shoes have been ruined. You were drenched to the bone after sweltering in near-suffocating humidity in the first half of Sunday’s events, and ran a serious risk of death by mass electrocution in the rainstorm as you stood on the 300 foot metal platform in front of the Music Unlimited stage while waiting for Arctic Monkeys and, later, Foo Fighters.
Shin-deep in stinking mud and rainwater, you experienced what a true Summer music festival test of endurance is, and when Foo Fighters took the stage to close Lollapalooza with a blazing set of Rock power as the skies opened once more and fought for domination of the day – only to have Dave Grohl & company conquer with pure heart, excitement and hits – it was likely among the most thrilling moments of your musical life.
I lived the experience, and that’s exactly what Lollapalooza was for me – as well as the tens of thousands surrounding me, faces upturned to the downpour, screaming every word in unison with ear-to-ear grins on our faces.
Watch below as the Foo Fighters do what they do best, arguably better than they’ve ever done it before – their set begins at 16:44:
Something magical took place that night, some kind of rare high-wire act of energy and exhilaration that all musical experiences aspire to, but so very few actually ever accomplish. Between Dave’s shredding screams and drummer Taylor Hawkins’ pulverizing-firecracker low end, the crowd found an upped-ante of enthusiasm and electricity in their headliners.
Our dedication to the moment would be tested once more, however, as when the band launched into The Pretender, with no notice whatsoever the skies unleashed another torrent of precipitation.
Undeterred, the band plowed ahead, soaked to the core and clearly reveling in the all-for-one energy crackling among the masses before them. The gleam in Grohl’s eye as he rounded the bend to the final chorus of show-closer Everlong indicated that he felt exactly as we did: something very special was underway, a level of positivity and passion that transcended the majority of musical experiences. We were collectively an absolute mess of mud, rain and sweat, both band and fans alike, and the utter ecstasy among the crowd was an unselfconscious moment of mass engagement, fully enthralled and dedicated to the moment, closing out the Lollapalooza experience with a breakneck blast of Rock from the one band that will stand among all others as the truest form of Classic Rock the digital-kid generation has ever witnessed.