I had hoped to wake up and get there for Juliette and The Licks, but it just wasn’t happening. Not because of any hangover or anything, it was just too damn early. We aimed for Amy Winehouse instead and got there just before she came on, around 2. Huh. Interesting. Pretty hot. Good voice. But . . . it was just alright. I kind of hoped that she would be swaggering drunk, but instead she gave a solid performance. Boring! Juliette would have been loaded! Or at least acted it.
We tried our best to avoid the awful Paolo Nutini, but the sound seemed to follow us around. Ahh! We started in on the drinks despite the return of the heat and geared up for Mr. Iggy Pop and his Stooges, featuring the legendary Mike Watt on bass. Iggy is 60 years old. 60! And let me tell you, he rocked the shit out of the place. One of the best shows of the weekend. As they hurtled toward the end of the set, Iggy invited everyone up on stage (yeah, this is old news by now), and damn if everyone didn’t try. I was too far away, but it was a hell of a sight watching that stage just fill up with people jumping up and down as the band kept rocking. I pictured flattened security guys at the bottom of it all, but somehow the Ig-man pulled it off and then told everyone to get off, and they did. Great scene.
I wandered around a little and killed some time as folks watched Yo La Tengo. Then Modest Mouse was next and we got up to our usual right side of the stage, but the sound seemed a little thin. I must say, the sound was pretty loud and booming all weekend long, so this was a noticeable drop. We moved around and someone seemed to get it going, but it never felt to me like the great MM I have come to expect. Good, but not great. Nice to see Mr. Marr, though.
OK, so by now the entire Grant Park was heading south towards Pearl Jam-land, and I had hoped to see TV on the Radio before them but I had to pee. For the first time all weekend the lines were long, and so I waited and waited and could hear them, but . . . it just wasn’t the same. By the time I got out it was pure PJ pandemonium. Packed. The sky was darkening and you could feel the place buzzing. We were to the left and not as close as I had hoped, so it was all about the big screen.
What can I say about Ed Vedder and PJ? It was a great show. Lots of hits, which is to be expected, but also a few curves, opening with “Why Go” and also throwing in “State of Love and Trust.” “Crazy Mary” was nice. Fireworks started going off mid-show from some Bears event at Soldier Field (I think), adding a cool and unexpected display to go along with the music.
We eventually moved a little closer to the middle and behind some speakers, pumping up the volume. Toward the end Ed brought out an Iraqi War veteran in a wheelchair and gave him the mic, and he proceeded to speak against the war, calling it an illegal occupation that should be brought to an end immediately (apparently there is a documentary called Body of War about this man).
Ben Harper came out and sang a song with Ed that, to me, sounded like it was composed backstage, and it fell a little flat, but the message was right on, so it can be forgiven. I wonder what the meatheads were thinking? Ah, who cares, the show was strong and ended with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” complete with a Dennis Rodman appearance and Ed on his shoulders. Bizarre finish.
We avoided the mass exodus by skipping over to Kelly O’Shea’s in the Hilton for some post-show appetizers and drinks. It was a nice cap to the night and the weekend, and we caught a cab home instead of braving the terminally slow and certainly packed “L” train. And then I went home and slept my ass off.