Hive Five: Must Watch Lollapalooza Moments

Perry Farrell performs with Jane's Addiction, Stanhope, N.J., August 1991. Photo: Steve Eichner/Getty Images

The summer festival season is slowly coming to a close, but not without a few final bangs. One of the biggest is Chicago’s Lollapalooza, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend. Few music festivals around today can boast a decorated history matching Lollapalooza’s, in fact it’s technically the oldest festival occupying the same mass-festival realm as Bonnaroo and Coachella. As the early Lolla days predate the YouTubian method of documenting everything, rare footage is indeed rare — but we’ve mined the video archives for the must see moments from years gone by — aside from touching on your favorite mosh pit and most sanitary porta-potty experience, here are five musical moments worth their very own remeberingpalooza.

1. Jane’s Addiction and Ice-T do a controversial cover

It’s hard to look back on Lollapalooza without paying homage to the band, or rather, the man who started the whole thing: Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction. He often talks about this as his fondest festival memory: Jane’s Addiction took the stage to give their rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Don’t Call Me Whitey” but received some help with their cover from Ice-T. The track starts off real heavy with a racy joke from Farrell when Ice-T suddenly appears behind him with a few of his own words to add, prompting the two go back-and-forth until the song turns into a raging square dance of sorts. [Watch on YouTube.]

2. Butthole Surfers party backstage and frontstage

Remember watching Animal House and thinking, “Wow, partying back then looked so awesome!” Fast forward to the Butthole Surfers touring with Lollapalooza in 1991 and you’ll get the same exact feeling. Not only does the raw VHS footage capture some epic partying backstage, but also a raging performance of “Graveyard”. A YouTube commenter said it best, guitarist Paul Leary looks like “a mental hospital patient the band kidnapped, gave a guitar plus a dozen hits of acid to, pushed out on stage and told him to “play like Jimi Hendrix”. Rock on. [Watch on YouTube.]

3. The Smashing Pumpkins reach the height of their popularity, and their hair

The Smashing Pumpkins were arguably at the peak of their success in 1994, headlining both Reading Festival and Lollapalooza. Taken from the San Diego Lolla gig, Billy Corgan and company energetically tore through “Hummer” to a sardine packed crowd — if you can forget about the endless infighting, drug problems, and awkward reunion records that followed, this was truly a “golden era” performance but more importantly, it’s kinda creepy seeing Corgan with hair. [Watch on YouTube.]

4. Pavement get a West Virginian welcome

Many think Pavement are the most successful independent rock band of all time, a claim they’ve certainly earned since their inception in 1989. They only grazed the mainstream radio masses briefly in 1994 with “Cut Your Hair” and even that wasn’t enough to stop the … mud. Eh? During the 1995 tour stop in West Virginia, festival workers began hosing down the crowd and West Virginians naturally started mud wrestling and throwing chunks of mud at the band. Lead singer Stephen Malkmus eventually left the stage. There’s only so much mud one man can take. [Watch on YouTube.]

5. LadyGaGapalooza

Capping off the list of infamous Lolla moments is a recent stunt Lady Gaga pulled in 2010, on a stage you may find yourself standing in front of this weekend in Chicago. Showing support for her friends Semi Precious Weapons, Gaga joined the group on the BMI stage (where she debuted in 2007 before headlining in ’10) for some impromptu drumming, making out with band members and, more surprisingly, stage diving. Security guards had their work cut out for them, nervously grabbing for her feet the first go-around to hold her in place but she couldn’t be stopped the second time, floating beyond the stage with hundreds of helping hands and camera phones engaging in the moment. [Watch on YouTube.]

RELATED POSTS