One of the advantages of living in the Chicago area was that there was always something to do. To celebrate the end of the internship, a few friends from Wilkes road tripped out and we spent three days at Lollapalooza, one of the United State’s largest music festivals that takes place in Grant Park, downtown Chicago. Over three days, we experienced over 30 hours of live music and saw countless bands and acts, including Lady Gaga.

Because my apartment wasn’t located in the city, it was a bit of a trip to make it downtown and back three days in a row. For day one, we decided to take the Chicago Metra, which is basically the train and goes directly from my suburb to the downtown area. Normally, this trip takes about 45 minutes, but with the increased foot traffic from the festival and several construction zones, the time it took doubled. Day one we saw The Walkmen, Jukebox the Ghost, The New Pornographers, Matt & Kim, Hot Chip, and Lady Gaga. While Lady Gaga completely blew the audience away, it was Matt and Kim’s performance that blew me away. The entire act was filled with energy and was just plain fun, and you could tell the duo completely love what they do.

The great thing about the festival was that every day got better. Day two we saw Stars, The XX, Grizzly Bear, Metric, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and finally Phoenix. Seeing Edward Sharpe perform my favorite song of the summer, Home, was amazing. Unfortunately, one of my other recent great finds, The XX, left me a little disappointed. The headliners for the day were Phoenix and Green Day, but performed simultaneously on opposite sides of the festival so you could only choose one. Since I haven’t been a Green Day fan since their album Nimrod in the 90s, it was an easy choice to go with Phoenix. No regrets, they were phenomenal, and played every song on their new album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which I considered my favorite album of 2009. My favorite act of the day probably goes to Metric, if only for the fact of how energetic Emily Haines was and how that transferred to the audience.

After the festival, my friends and I got on the subway and made out way up to Northwestern University where we had driven to and parked since taking the train took to long on the first day. While walking out of the train station with about forty other passengers, we unknowingly walked right into a gang fight where gunfire broke out. Yes, you read that right, gun fire. In a panic, the entire crowd began to run back into the train station, through the opposite doors, and continued running until we reached a hoard of police cars and officers. After the excitement died down, we reached the car and drove home,albeit a little shaken up.

Day three was by far my favorite day. Minus the Bear, Yeasayer, Frightened Rabbit, MGMT, The National, and Arcade Fire. Every act was consistently good, and the string of MGMT-The National-Arcade Fire were the best three acts I’ve experienced back to back ever. During The National, the frontman came out into the crowd to perform one of their most popular songs, Mr November, and was literally inches from me. Arcade Fire was the perfect close to a three day weekend, and ranked as one of my favorite acts of the entire festival (and topped the last time I saw them play in NYC two years ago). The crowd for MGMT was probably the rowdiest of the entire festival. Every 2 minutes I had to duck as more and more crowd surfers fell from the sky and almost toppled me.

All in all, it was a great ending to the Chicago experience, and although I still had a week of work left, the festival was really the peak of the summer and was by far the greatest music experience of my life. Enjoy the pictures posted.

I have one post left in me, as by now, I have already ended the experience and have started school again. Although Walgreens would have extended my stay longer, I had to be home to complete a two week hospital IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) for the last two weeks of August. My next post will be a final wrap up of the experience, and I’ll talk a little about my last rotation at corporate. Until then.


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