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Mountain Song: This summer, Jane's Addiction, minus Flea, will headline the newly relaunched Lollapalooza


Lollapalooza's Perry Farrell attempts to recapture the spirit of 1991

By Michael Alan Goldberg
Lollapalooza reviews by Jim Harrington and Todd Inoue

PERRY FARRELL has heard the cynics and critics who suggest that Lollapalooza's time has come and gone, or that the festival has lost its uniqueness in a sea of roaming (and competing) spectacles that includes Ozzfest, the Warped Tour and Metallica's Summer Sanitarium Tour. But when asked what will set this year's Lollapalooza apart from all the others, the Jane's Addiction frontman cracks a smile, not willing to reveal his hand just yet.

"The whole thing's gonna happen different, that's for sure," he says. "You're gonna see something you've never seen before when you go there, I'll promise you that. We've accomplished some amazing, major things, but there's still some ribbons and bows to put on the package. And that stuff I really can't tell you about right now."

He's a pretty clever cat, well aware that what drew so many people to Lollapalooza in the first place was the sense of mystery and the anything-goes, carnival atmosphere unlike anything anyone had previously experienced. That vital essence seemed to fizzle out after the seventh edition in 1997; as one record label executive put it back then, "It was getting stale and had turned into a giant flea market for beads and T-shirts."

So, after a five-year hiatus, Farrell is promising a re-energized and relevant tour this summer, with plenty of surprises to go along with all the music. With a lineup that boasts Queens of the Stone Age, Audioslave, Incubus, Jurassic 5, the Donnas, A Perfect Circle and the newly reunited Jane's as the headliner, Farrell thinks there's something for everyone.

Second-stage acts announced for the tour include the Distillers, Cold, Steve-O from Jackass, the Music, Cave In, Kings of Leon, Rooney, Mooney Suzuki, Pharoahe Monch, Burning Brides, 30 Seconds to Mars and Bellydance Superstars. The midway will feature video-game competitions (X-Box is a Lollapalooza sponsor, go figure), wireless spectacles, exotic foods and art. The information booths return in the World of Just (Be)Causes.

Ultimately, Farrell firmly believes that his particular combination of music, social activism and community spirit is as magical a party now as it was during Lolla's inaugural jaunt in 1991, and certainly worth your hard-earned dollars.

"If you were there for the first Lollapalooza, and you wanna feel that way again, I'd say give this one a shot."

Lollapalooza No. 1
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; July 26-27, 1991
WHO PLAYED: Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Living Color, Nine Inch Nails, Ice-T/Body Count, Butthole Surfers, the Rollins Band
SUMMARY: A year earlier, a similarly diverse clash of music, art and culture called Gathering of the Tribes was held at Shoreline with a lineup that included Iggy Pop, Queen Latifah, the Cramps, Indigo Girls, Soundgarden and others. The show was a resounding disappointment in task and box office. The tribes gathered but didn't come together. This year, under a conceptual vision guided by Farrell, the tribes mingled freely about the maypole, eager to sample other fringe elements. Lollapalooza attendees witnessed a decade's worth of styles, from Nine Inch Nails' industrial metal shower to Siouxsie and the Banshees' symphonic goth; from Living Colour's uplifting rock to Ice-T's tales from the 'hood. Throw in hardcore hero Henry Rollins, the multimedia head butt of the Butthole Surfers and finish with the majestic, erotic rush that is Jane's Addiction, and this Lollapalooza created a concert that crossed over to "event" status. Witnesses will forever point to this Lollapalooza as the one that got everything right.

Lollapalooza No. 2
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; July 18-19, 1992
WHO PLAYED: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Lush
SUMMARY: A year of transitions, headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the height of their Blood Sugar Sex Magik popularity. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam repped the burgeoning grunge movement. Jesus and Mary Chain and Lush were the cool 4AD style of indie rock. Ice Cube replaced Ice-T as the gangsta-rap spokesman. With second-stage performances by House of Pain, Cypress Hill and the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E (one T.R.I.B.E member stage dived and took out three rows of people!), Lollapalooza No. 2 was just different enough to stave off criticism and serve as a dandy follow-up to year No. 1.

Lollapalooza No. 3
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; June 22-23, 1993
WHO PLAYED: Primus, Alice in Chains, Dinosaur Jr., Fishbone, Arrested Development, Front 242, Babes In Toyland, Rage Against The Machine
SUMMARY: Though it still sold out in minutes, Lollapalooza No. 3 was coming off two wildly successful tours. No. 3 was probably the beginning of the end, as bookers tried too hard to be "alternative." Blame the pacing and an overreliance of guitar-based acts. The energy level red-lined during Rage Against the Machine's performance, returned briefly during Arrested Development, then ebbed for the next three hours. Lollapalooza was on the FasTrak toward disaster until ...

Lollapalooza No. 4
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; Aug. 27-28, 1994
WHO PLAYED: Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, the Breeders, A Tribe Called Quest, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, L7, Green Day
SUMMARY: This lineup was plucked from the stars. It's most notable for the Beastie Boys, who absolutely slayed the crowd with a mix of old and new. George Clinton lead his P-Funk All Stars in a legendary funk revue. A Tribe Called Quest was the best hip-hop group so far on Lollapalooza. Green Day's Billie Armstrong held the stage hostage, running around Shoreline. Unfortunately, headliners Smashing Pumpkins were left to wallow in the mist. The car-chase scene from Steve McQueen's Bullitt preceded the Pumpkins' entrance, and it was a fitting predictor for the four-car pileup about to unfurl.

Lollapalooza No. 5
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; Aug. 18, 1995
WHO PLAYED: Sonic Youth, Hole, Cypress Hill, Pavement, Beck, Jesus Lizard, Mighty Mighty Bosstones
SUMMARY: Despite some other memorable performances, Courtney Love was the star of this freak show. Performing just over a year after her husband, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide, Love channeled Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and the spirits of self-destructive rock stars past and present, proving that music--like life--is fascinating to watch when it is taken to the edge. Following in the Lollapalooza tradition of headlining acts delivering anticlimactic closing sets most fans were heading for the doors by the time Sonic Youth came on to fuss around with feedback. In retrospect, this was the last Lollapalooza where the term "alternative" actually meant something.

Lollapalooza No. 6
Spartan Stadium, San Jose; Aug. 2, 1996
WHO PLAYED: Metallica, Soundgarden, the Cocteau Twins, Devo, Ramones, Rancid, Shaolin Monks/Kung Fu of China, Screaming Trees, Psychotica
SUMMARY: In 1996, Perry Farrell had bailed on Lollapalooza, and this year's show was a big mess, devoid of vision. If you ever wanted to see skinheads dressed in beat-up black concert T-shirts yelling "Fuck yeah, Monks!" Lollapalooza No. 6 was the place for you. In its debut at Spartan Stadium, this Lollapalooza recalled Bill Graham's old Day on the Green shows much more strongly than the original traveling alt-music circuses. The inclusion of a number of so-called wild cards, such as the Shaolin Monks/Kung Fu of China ensemble, did little to hide the fact that this was really a Metallica show with a bunch of openers. If there was any doubt before, Lollapalooza sells out in year six.

Lollapalooza No. 7
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; Aug. 16, 1997
WHO PLAYED: The Orb, Tool, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tricky, James, Julian and Damian Marley and the Uprising Band, Failure
SUMMARY: Perry returns. After bellyaching before, during and after last year's metal-heavy marathon, musical diversity was this Lollapalooza tour's high point--and what better reaction than empty seats? The fact that Lollapalooza was willing to risk alienating some potential ticket buyers was proof that the fledgling tour was doing something right, although bean counters would beg to differ. If the tour had kept its original lineup with Korn and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lollapalooza could have been great. Alas, Perry's puppy was put down for six years.

Lollapalooza No. 8
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View; 12:30pm, Aug. 19, 2003; $49.50-$69.50; 650.967.3000
WHO'S PLAYING: Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, Jurassic Five, A Perfect Circle, the Donnas, Cold. Second Stage: Steve-O, Kings of Leon, Mooney Suzuki, 30 Seconds to Mars. Midway: Video-game competitions, wireless spectacles, belly dancers, exotic foods and art. World of Just (Be)Causes local and nonprofit booths
SUMMARY: The return of Lollapalooza is heavy on big rock, like Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle, the Donnas and the return of Jane's Addiction, which, on July 22, releases Hypersonic, its first album in more than 12 years. The Guitar Center marathon is broken up by the sole hip-hop representative: Jurassic Five. Lollapalooza seems far too safe and reliant on six-string thunder for it to stand as anything visionary or revolutionary. It's as if the bookers were working with an antiquated business plan in an alternative universe, as if Coachella and Field Day never happened. Why is Incubus there? Where are groups like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Panjabi MC, Blur or the Rapture? Where are the DJs? Live 105's BFD--with the White Stripes, AFI, Hot Hot Heat and Interpol--looks more progressive on paper than Lollapalooza. The side stage seems to be the place this year, mainly because of Jackass resident idiot Steve-O. He opens his show by snorting a big pile of rock salt and downing a fifth of tequila before throwing it all back up. Now that's a Lollapalooza!

Summer Music Guide 2003

Summer Sonic: This summer, Good Charlotte's Joel Madden looks forward to touring and working on his '65 Chevy.

Perry-patetic: Lollapalooza's Perry Farrell attempts to recapture the spirit of 1991.

Modern Love: The 1983 Day on the Green with the Police, the Fixx, Madness, Oingo Boingo, and the Thompson Twins blew open the alternative-rock movement in the Bay Area. Plus: an interview with Fixx frontman Cy Curnin.

Ozzfest 2003: With Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed and Chevelle. Shoreline.

Summer Sanitarium: With Metallica, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and Deftones. Candlestick.

Wilco and R.E.M: Shoreline.

Björk: Pier 30/32.

Stanford Jazz Festival: With the Branford Marsalis Trio, alumni from Cal Tjader's groups, James Williams, Madeline Eastman, Dena DeRose and Geri Allen's Ensemble. Dinkelspiel Auditorium and Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford University.

Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival: With Nneena Freelon, the Count Basie Orchestra, Greg Osby, ¡Cubanismo!, the Yellowjackets, Jimmy Heath and Ledisi. Dinkelspiel Auditorium and Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford University.

India.Arie: Montalvo.

Beck/Dashboard Confessional: Greek Theatre.

The Dixie Chicks: HP Pavilion.

Lou Reed: Mountain Winery.

Shows: From Agenda to Zoë.

Summer Festival Guide: Art, wine and more.

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From the May 22-28, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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