Berlin Lollapalooza: Day One
I woke up today at 08:20, got out of bed, showered, dressed, and got ready for Berlin Lollapalooza (the first Lollapalooza concert in Europe). I had purchased my ticket online on July 25th and had printed it out at the hostel reception last night. Once ready with my ticket, sunscreen, and Canon Powershot (I may get to drunk thus making it too risky to bring my expensive Canon DSLR), I exited the dorm room and walked down to the hostel cafe where I had a cappuccino and doughnut for breakfast. Once finished eating, I exited the hostel and used the S-Bahn and U-Bahn to travel to Platz der Luftbrucke Station, which is located just north of Berlin-Tempelhof Airfield, which is where the Lollapalooza festival is located. Berlin-Tempelhof is historically famous for being the site where the Berlin Airlift occurred in 1948-1949 AD. After I reached Platz der Luftbrucke Station, I walked south and found the correct entrance to in to the festival grounds and waited in line for about twenty-five minutes for the entrance to open at 11:00. At exactly 11:00, the entrance opened and I followed the line to the ticket check, the station where I received my festival wristband, and the security check. By 11:30, I had made it on to the festival grounds and I wandered around, looking at the set-up and different stages. I could also see, beyond the festival’s outer fence, a number of people land-kitesurfing on the rest of the Berlin-Tempelhof Airfield (it looked like a lot of fun). I then walked up to the second main stage and waited there for the first band (Razz) to perform. Razz began at 12:30 and played until 13:15. I was pleasantly surprised having never heard of them and enjoyed their music. Once they were done, I joined the herd and migrated to the primary main stage and watched the U.S. Band Joywave perform from 13:15 to 14:00. I enjoyed their music as well, even more so than Razz. After they wrapped up their encore, I walked to the food stalls. As I neared the food stalls I watched as the wind picked up a table umbrella, sending it in to the air before crashing down and being stopped by several people; luckily no one was injured. I then bought some sliced currywurst with ketchup and seasoning, which I ate while listening to Everything, Everything perform on the secondary main stage and while I was in line to buy a bottle of water and a Warsteiner Lemon beer (I had to give it a taste and now that I have, I will stick with regular Warsteiner). I then walked up closer to the stage to watch Everything, Everything perform for the last twenty-five minutes of their set (their music didn’t match my tastes). As they were finishing their last song, I walked to the primary main stage to watch James Bay perform. James Bay and his band were really good albeit a little mellow and overall not as rockin’ as I prefer. After they finished, I walked back to the secondary main stage and watched the U.S.band Mighty Oaks perform. They started at 16:00 and were great and entertaining; overall an excellent band. After the Mighty Oaks finished up, I decided to get some food and drinks and prepare for Franz Ferdinand & Sparks to perform. I ate two slices of ham, pepperoni, and pepper pizza (the pizza stall probably had the quickest moving line) and then got two bottles of water and a bottle of sparkling apple juice (because water is just plain boring) to rehydrate (I sat down to eat relatively close to the alternate stage and I listened to a few songs by Hot Chip – they sounded fine and I probably would’ve enjoyed watching them). Next, I staked out a spot close to the secondary main stage a half hour before Franz Ferdinand & Sparks (FFS) was set to go on (at 18:00). While waiting, I was able to listen to the Parov Stelar Band on the primary main stage (they sounded pretty good and I wished I could have watched them up close since they had some brass in their band and the lead singer was a woman; I was able to at least see them on the big screens from where I stood). Also, while waiting, a staff member appeared to come by and round up all the groupies to take them backstage (perhaps the band needed some love prior to going out on stage). Franz Ferdinand & Sparks came out at 18:00 and were fantastic, bringing a lot of energy, fun, and talent; I wish they had gone on for another hour, but they only played until 19:00. Once they wrapped up, I walked back to the primary main stage and watched Bastille play; naturally there was already a large crowd and I was no where near as close to the stage as I was for Franz Ferdinand & Sparks, which did make quite a difference, more than I had imagined possible (not just on the ear drums, but for the immersive experience). For one song, the lead singer of Bastille jumped in to the audience and sang the entire song while walking through the crowd of people who naturally had their smartphones out to record the event (I do find it hard to believe he actually sang the song amidst a loud audience, but who knows). Overall Bastille was very good and I’m glad I watched them. After they finished, I rushed to the secondary main stage with most of the crowd and made it there in time to see the theatrical opening of Deichkind; the singers came out in suits made of lights with pyramidal helmets (looking like a Germanticized version of Silent Hill’s pyramid-head monsters); their music was not to my tastes at all, but for those that love German electronica hip-hop, they must’ve been fantastic. Once I realized I didn’t care for them, I got a beer at the nearest stall, but stayed around for a while longer to watch more of Deichkind. For their next song they donned giant brain helmets. They were full of energy and put on a great show, but I’m just not a fan of most hip-hop. The rest of their show that I watched had more bizarre oddities like office swivel chairs for the band to sing and move around on, a man with a desktop mouse arrow on his back, Pac-man and a ghost coming out on stage, revolving stage props, light sticks, dual umbrellas, a hand-crank siren, and glitter canons. After watching them for fifty minutes, I used the restroom (up against the fence line like most of the male – and some of the female – attendees; based on the long lines at the food stalls and latrines, I’d say the festival planners failed in planning the logistics/support side of things) and then walked over to the Perry’s Stage to get a decent spot to watch Fatboy Slim. I arrived in time to catch the last song by Dog Blood (Skillex and Boys Noize) and made my way to the center, about fifteen meters away from the stage. Now by choosing to watch Fatboy Slim, it meant having to miss Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but as far as my tastes go and as far as who puts on a better show, I think it’s no contest and I made the right choice. Fatboy Slim came on stage at 21:30 to the sound of the pipe song from ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ – a good sign. He then put on a great show that lasted until 22:56. After his performance I joined the rest of the herd and made my way out of the festival grounds and to the nearest U-Bahn station (Paradestrasse Station), but then decided to walk down to the one further south (Tempelhof Station) thinking it would be quicker and would guarantee me a seat; well, when the U-Bahn train came I got a seat, but it was probably unnecessary since the next two stations (next to the festival) were not that crowded. Anyway, I rode the train to Oranienburger Tor, exited the station, and walked to an open-air restaurant nearby where I had a late night snack of fries, bratwurst, and a Sprite. I then returned to the hostel, got ready for the following day, and went to sleep around 02:00.
As for today: out of all the bands and artists I watched, my three favorites were Franz Ferdinand & Sparks, Mighty Oaks, and Bastille. Fatboy Slim gets an honorable mention because he was awesome; however I did not include him on my “top three” because his music wasn’t particularly to my tastes.