August 8th, 2009
09:44 PM ET

Lollapalooza 2009 – Day One: Rain can't stop the music

Lollapalooza can be summed up in one word: overwhelming. The festival, held in Chicago, Illinois, since 2005, has more than 130 bands playing throughout the weekend, including headliners Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, Ben Harper, The Killers, Tool and Lolla founder Perry Farrell's recently reunited band, Jane's Addiction. Rain made an unwelcome guest appearance all day Friday, but that didn't stop the sold out crowd's enthusiasm. At one point while walking the huge grounds at Grant Park, we watched a couple of guys wrestling in a giant mud puddle.
[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Festival goers enjoy one of the performances on the first day of Lollapalooza 2009."]
Early Friday afternoon, we checked out a hot hip hop group called The Knux. Fronted by brothers Krispy Kreme and Rah Al Millio, the self-proclaimed “party starters” cranked up the crowd. Krispy and Al told us later that they really get energized by the crowd's enthusiasm. They vary their set lists for every performance and for Friday highlights included "Bang Bang"  and did a very cool rendition of "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks. They got the crowd hopping with the classic “Jump Around” by House of Pain to close the set.

The Virgins were another crowd favorite, playing later on the same stage as The Knux. They rocked out the crowd with familiar hits such as “Rich Girls.” Thievery Corporation was a big draw, too, on one of the main stages later in the afternoon. We checked out Perry Farrell and surprise special guest LeAnn Rimes at the Kidzapalooza venue. They rocked the young crowd with renditions of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" and The Beatles’ "Here Comes the Sun." Kidzapalooza is a great area for music-loving parents to bring their kids. They get in free if under 10 and the area offers fun activities like hip hop lessons and a “petting zoo,'” where kids can play real instruments. They also can get a punk haircut at a “salon.” I wish they had stuff like this when I was a kid.

Later in the day, strategizing about which bands to see became more challenging. The evening schedule pitted old-school favorite Depeche Mode against new rockers Kings of Leon. My original plan was to check out part of KOL and then make my way over to Depeche Mode's stage. Only problem with that plan was that Grant Park is enormous and the evening crowds were so enormous there was no room to move. Once we marked our spot at Kings of Leon, we had to stay. They did not disappoint! KOL opened with “Be Somebody” off their latest CD. They had at least two sign language interpreters on stage, which was cool. They rocked hard; lead singer Caleb Followill shouted to the crowd that Chicago was one of his favorite cities in the world. They played most of their big hits, including “Sex on Fire” and an intense "Closer." We were thankful the rain finally stopped before the evening headliners started and it was an awesome night.

Post by:
Filed under: Lollapalooza • Music

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. krista conway

    Umm.. Actually they have a song called "Be Somebody", and a song called "Use Somebody", both on the same album. Look it up.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jane

    They have a song called Be somebody...WHICH they DID open with wow...were you actually there and a KOL fan you would know this. AND food was NOT overpriced and neither were any of the items for sale. A bottle of water was $2 in the CITY!!! At bonnaroo it was $3. And at any other event or concert food costs more than $5 which seemed to be the standard at Lolla. Seriously it was an awesome festival and if you didnt think so then you probably are just a really negative person and you need some sunshine in your life.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gray

    Wellllllll, KOL has a song called Be Somebody too. Chill, people.

    August 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sara

    That won't last five years really. Clearly you don't know that Kings have made three albums before Only By the Night, their first which came out in 2003. I don't know about you but I think they made it more than five years.

    August 10, 2009 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Shyna

    There were tons of bathrooms. You obviously don't know where to look. No matter where we were or what time of day, we never had to wait. You just have to know where they are and actually walk to the far end of toilets where there are no lines. And of course the toilets get nasty. That's why you come prepared with your own portable wipes.

    August 10, 2009 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. dana

    this is hysterical – the number of people that are instant kings of leon fans, yet only know the latest 2 singles.

    the new album is the most studio crafted album of their catalog and definitely not the best – but now everyone is a fan.

    for those that want to rock out to some down home southern fantastic, check out the first 2 albums. life altering rocknroll.

    August 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    I agree–the bathroom situation was awful! My friends and I talked about that all day. Even earlier when the crowds were smaller it was bad. Two hours into the festival the portas in one area were almost full and out of tp. It was gross!
    As for the people who missed Depeche Mode, I feel sorry for you. They put on a PHENOMENAL show. I think it's a no-brainer to go see a band who's celebrating their 30th anniversary next year and who are still on top of their game compared to a band that probably won't last five years.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. muggsy

    KOL has songs called "Use Somebody" AND "Be Somebody". They opened with "Be Somebody" and played the hit "Use Somebody" second to last!

    August 9, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brando

    just to be clear, KOL has songs titled both USE someboday and BE somebody.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Donnie

    @ jp: I agree. Way back when, in the Youth and Young Manhood days, KOL was doing what they do best. The new stuff isn't bad, but it feels thin, and I ended up getting sick of it very quickly, where on the other hand I still pop in Youth and Young Manhood pretty frequently.

    And to everyone: KOL do have a song off their new album called "Be Somebody." I guess they didn't open with it, if the couple of people commenting here who allege to have been there say they opened with "Use Somebody," but the song does exist.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ethan

    been there for the last two days, had an absolute blast. Great Music plus one of the coolest backdrops out of any festival ever. can't wait to go see dan deacon in a couple of hours!

    August 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stacy

    You should all really do some research before you start making post correcxting the person that wrote this!!!

    KOL also has a song called "Be Somebody" and YES they did open with that song!!! They didn't play "Use Somebody" until almost the end.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul Bahou

    actually, Kings of Leon have a song called Be Somebody as well as a song called Use Somebody. They're even on the same album.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Eric Flanagan

    You'll find that both Be somebody and Use somebody are songs on their latest album.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    these bands all suck. they couldn't pay me to attend.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  16. JW

    You guys were all at the wrong festival. Caribbean Festival, also held in Chicago the same weekend, is much more the 'people's festival"....although, the little advertising it received isn't surprising.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  17. jscmedia

    Sounds like a lot of fun. Meanwhile back in Houston, Houston Free Press has been putting on a spectacular 2 day event with tons of people for 5 dollars a day! Explosions in the Sky were incredible, as were many many others. Watch out for locals The TonTons, what a weird, unique and winning band! torch singing with progressive rock, what a great combo!

    August 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Lauren

    You should of seen TOOL. They are by far the best out of all the bands at Lollapalooza this year.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Kyle

    "...setting the precedent for alternative culture."? What does that even mean? There is nothing alternative about an event that is shamelessly over-marketed, over-priced, and the purview of affluent white kids (or, to say it better, the kids of affluent white suburbanites). The music's great, the experience is great, but there is nothing edgy or alternative about it.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  20. d

    Check your facts before flapping your lips. KOL has a song titled "use somebody" as well as another titled "be somebody".

    August 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Prince of Leon

    Just wanted to clarify further... it's "Use Somebody", not "Be Somebody"

    August 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Wagma

    So I was not at the concert, but just to be clear KOL do have a song titled "Be Somebody" on their latest album. Yes everyone knows them for that bloody "Use Somebody" song but they often start gigs with Be Somebody so I wouldnt be surprised. If you think you are a real KOL fan go checkout Youth and Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak....these albums reveal the real soul of the band.

    Oh and just read in another article that they did start with Be Somebody....hahahaha....u guys!

    August 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Jeff

    You know that Kings of Leon has two songs – "Use Somebody" and another called "Be Somebody." If not – stop listening to the radio and buy the album. Were you there? If not, how do you know which one they did?

    August 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tony

    "I wish they had stuff like this when I was a kid"??
    Wait, you mean you're NOT a kid? This had to have been written by a 13 year old.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Todd

    It is too bad that Perry Farrell and Janes Addiction missed their HUGE opportunity in the 80's and 90's. Perry just weired out and cost the entire band a "good long ride".

    August 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  26. tom

    Your stupid. Depeche mode is not a band, i've done more talented stuff on my computer. go see tool

    August 9, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  27. ben

    to jimmy, check out MOnolith fest @ Red Rocks in CO. Tickets started @ $75 for two days and the line up is amazing

    August 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Joe from NY

    people, they have two songs, Be Somebody and Use Somebody. They opened with Be Somebody.

    August 9, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Sara

    The lack of restrooms was overwhelming! I lost half of Depeche Mode trying to find a restroom that works and is not full of you know what. It took me 1 hour 20 min to find it. There were more bars than restrooms! When I finally found one, Depeche Mode was done. People who organize such events do not use their brain to think of people who attend. Where we suppose to pee? i saw girls and boys peeing on the grass. What they were suppose to do? I will never go there again. I only went because of Depeche Mode.

    August 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Eric

    I'd go just to see tool.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  31. April

    I was at the KOL concert. They did not open with Be Somebody.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Anna

    The song by Kings of Leon is 'Use Somebody'. Just clearing that up.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Johnson

    Seriously? This is written like an eight year old's diary. Did not do Lollapalooza the justice it deserved...

    August 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  34. jp

    its a shame everyone only knows Kings of Leon for "Sex on Fire" and the rest of the new album...i prefer their earlier albums Youth And Young Manhood, and Aha Shake Heartbreak, but it seems like most of the crowd at their concerts only know Only By The Night...

    August 9, 2009 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  35. Dawn

    You chose Kings of Leon over Depeche Mode? You must be under the age of 30, and how sad for you.

    August 9, 2009 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  36. Kamrath

    I'm pretty sure Any Engel should NOT be allowed to write on a major news corporation's website. This was purely awful to read.

    August 9, 2009 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  37. al

    KOL opened with "Use Somebody"... no big deal =) .. but you do blog for CNN ... still, you picked, in my opinion, the better show to see and hear... im sure they played a song called "the bucket" during the set .. if you didnt know this one, download it immediately..... thanks

    August 9, 2009 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  38. The Author

    "Use Somebody" not "Be Somebody."


    August 9, 2009 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  39. Steve E.

    What about Depeche Mode? I'd like to know how their performance went. What songs did they play? Don't leave us hangin' ..

    August 9, 2009 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  40. Val Davis

    The Kings Of Leon tune you referred to is "Use Somebody", not "Be Somebody". But you probably knew that.

    August 9, 2009 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  41. Chad

    You really missed Depeche Mode for KOL? LOL. Wow.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  42. James Anderson

    This story seems like it was written by someone who isn't really that enthusiastic about the festival. I just got done with day two of the festival, and could really paint a far better picture of what Lolla is about. Tool. Last night. Chicago skyline. The faint smells of sweat and dope in the air. A packed Grant Park; However, completely in control. Kids being kids, setting the precedent for alternative culture. Oh, and the signing lady that translated Rise Against's set. A well-thought-out festival (Unlike Coachella at times) that displays Chicago's alternative community. Nobody can translate the feeling that the crowd had as Tool launched into "Jambi" while the sun set along the Chicago skyline. Killer.

    August 9, 2009 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  43. Adam Grant

    This "article" is deemed worthy of being displayed on What a waste. CNN should spend more money on real reporters not on high school level writing.

    August 9, 2009 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  44. Doug

    If this is the level of blogging needed to make it to CNN, where do I sign up? "checked out, really cool."

    Great show, lousy writing.

    August 9, 2009 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  45. Kevin Kelly

    You're a pretty terrible writer.

    August 9, 2009 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  46. Jason

    You missed (or at least failed to mention) that of the days acts for Friday, that Manchester Orchestra (amazing), Ben Folds (even more amazing), The Decemberists (one of the most unique bands I have ever seen) and finally Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears had to be the winners of the day. I luckily was introduced to each of these bands for the first time on Friday and was completely blown away by each. The rain was a secondary attraction to the amazing music enjoyed throughout the day.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  47. michael

    it's "Use Somebody"

    August 9, 2009 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  48. Jimmy

    Lollapalooza is overrated. The tickets for the show are incredibly expensive and grant park is littered with corporate sponsers in addition to the massively overpriced food and merch. This is truly a festival for upper and middle-upper class white kids from the suburbs. At least the Warped Tour works to make their touring festival affordable for everyone. The 2000s saw concert ticket prices reach levels that just a few years earlier would have seemed ludicrous and then ticketmaster, which indeed has a monopoly, has the gall to charge often over a 50% service charge. And since many, if not most venues lack a box office it is necessary to buy tickets off of ticketmaster. We need more affordable festivals that cater to all peoples instead of solely the affluent.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  49. Painhertz

    You only mentioned one band that matters. TOOL. I'd get out more were I you.

    August 9, 2009 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  50. SchruteBeet

    Kings of Leon's song is "Use Somebody", not BE somebody...

    August 8, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About this blog

Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.