Sunday, July 13, 2003

A history of Lollapalooza

By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

1991: Perry Farrell, flamboyant frontman for Jane's Addiction, conceives a brilliant idea - a traveling rock/culture festival for the new breed of bands emerging in the West Coast scene. He launches Lollapalooza with a premier lineup of such then-cutting-edge acts as his own Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Henry Rollins Band, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Living Colour, Fishbone, Violent Femmes, Ice-T's Body Count and Butthole Surfers. There was no side stage that year. The fest did not play Cincinnati's Riverbend.

1992: As grunge took over rock, Lollapalooza 2 was a huge success with the Mainstage lineup of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and, at the last show of the tour, Temple of the Dog, a grunge supergroup featuring Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. That would be enough to ensure 2's place in history. But what many still say was the best Lollapalooza of them all also featured Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice Cube, Ministry, Jesus And Mary Chain and Lush. The second stage was introduced, but was mainly a sideshow featuring the Jim Rose Circus along with the Cows, Sharkbait and Archie Bell. July 28, Lollapalooza hit Riverbend on the fourth date of the tour.

1993: Grunge still had clout, and the Mainstage featured Seattle's Alice in Chains. But the alt-rock movement was getting more diverse and Lollapalooza fielded a Mainstage lineup with quirky Primus and the rock 'n' revolution of Rage Against the Machine, along with conscious rappers Arrested Development, progressive hard-rockers Tool, Babes In Toyland, Front 242, Dinosaur Jr. and the return of Fishbone. The second stage came into its own, with a lineup highlighted by Sebadoh, Mercury Rev, Royal Trux and Mutabaruka. But Cincinnati went Lollapalooza-less that year.

1994: Alt-rock dominated the music industry and it was another good year for Lollapalooza, with a broad range of headliners including Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Beastie Boys, George Clinton's P-Funk All Stars, the Breeders (featuring Dayton's Kim and Kelley Deal), A Tribe Called Quest, L7, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Boredoms.

But the second stage acts almost stole the show - Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices (more Dayton rock), Lambchop, Stereolab, Charlie Hunter Trio, Shonen Knife, Black Crowes and Cypress Hill among them. July 20, Lollapalooza returned to Riverbend.

1995: The fifth year for Lollapalooza found a good mix of post-grunge acts, including the Widow Cobain's band Hole, along with the prog-grunge of Pavement, the noise-rock of Sonic Youth, the return of ganja-rappers Cypress Hill and a wildly eclectic mix of Sinead O'Connor, Moby, Elastica, Superchunk, Beck, Jesus Lizard and even Boston ska kings the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. At various venues, the second stage attractions included the Roots, Patti Smith, Yo La Tengo, Brainiac, Built To Spill, Redman and Mike Watt. July 18, Lollapalooza played Riverbend.

1996: Metallica, Waylon Jennings, the Ramones and Wu Tang Clan - now that's a party! Lollapalooza went nuts this year, fielding its wildest lineup ever. The headline acts also included grunge heroes Soundgarden, the artsy Cocteau Twins, Rage Against The Machine, Cheap Trick, Violent Femmes, Steve Earle, Devo, Rancid, Screaming Trees, Psychotica and even the Shaolin Monks/Kung Fu Of China show. The second stage fielded a new act called Ben Folds Five, along with the Bollywood pop of Cornershop, Aussie rockers You Am I, Soul Coughing, and the Melvins. This one was too weird for Cincinnati and passed by Riverbend.

1997: The swan song (until this year) for Lollapalooza, with a plodding mix of electronic dance sounds from Orbital, Prodigy and Tricky, as well as some very tired rap from a pigtailed Snoop Dogg (who has since wisely given up smoking pot). Even Korn failed to get things going and the hottest set of the day came from Tool. The second stage was equally flat, highlighted at various dates by Eels, Farrell's post-Jane's Addiction group Porno For Pyros and Americana rockers Old 97s. When Lollapalooza played Riverbend on July 22, it was obvious the idea had run its course.

Lollapalooza's encore
A history of Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza: Mainstage acts

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