I think I woke up a little the worse for the beer on Saturday morning, but Mark & I got coffee, then we woke up the kids and went for a real breakfast. Our favorite Greek-owned breakfast place moved a few blocks west, on Madison St. on the border between River Forest & Forest Park, where I used to live, and, when we went in 2007, we didn’t like it quite as well. Meanwhile, the diner that was always in downtown Oak Park, that was extremely mediocre the few times I tried it when I lived in the vicinity 15 years ago, seems to have improved to become the breakfast spot of choice. So that’s where we went. I had over medium eggs that were really over medium; adequate sausage – not as good as Willow Creek or Usinger, or even Johnsonville but cheaper than the first two brands anyways; OK potatoes – well-cooked but could’ve been browner; and toast that could’ve been a lot hotter, but at least the butter was soft enough to spread on it, cold as it was.
Down to Lolla-land in time for Blues Traveler who were pleasant enough. Then we bailed – listened to Against Me!’s first song on the way out – and went to the Art Institute, to see Henri Cartier-Bresson. It was a pretty amazing show – especially to us baby boomers raised on Life magazine, and photo journalism. The images were presented on their own, for the most part – there were two photo essays, on Mao’s China and a business in NYC, both in the 1960s (shades of Mad Men), that included Cartier Bresson’s captioning, but the rest were mostly just places and dates.The Chicago Tribune did a nice article on Sunday morning with a two-page spread (not recreated in the online copy) of some of the most striking and familiar images, like Brie:
Then back to Lollapalooza – we went to the more southern food court – Balbo St. – because the reviews were saying there were more interesting choices there, but we got pulled pork sandwiches, an easy & familiar choice. Then we sat in a kind of trampled and cigarette butt-littered, but shady, area, heard 4 AFI songs, and ate. Then it was time to reclaim our hillside spots to see Social Distortion, and the big closer of night, Green Day. Slightly Stoopid played in between. I listened for a little bit of them, and I hadn’t realized how reggae they are. John says the stoners love them. I didn’t love them all that much so I went to get an ice cream. I admired the technique the place selling the ice cream was using – 5 flavors, all waffle cones, frozen in the cone, with a sheet of plastic on top, that they peeled off as they handed it to you. Everything $5. No scooping, spoons, change, etc. I had cookie dough, and the ice cream itself, sadly, was not as good as the technique.
Here’s how old punk rock is – Mike Ness is almost 50, and Billie Joe Armstrong is almost 40. Not only that, founding punkers like Joey Ramone and Malcolm McLaren and Joe Strummer have died from old age diseases like cancer and heart attacks, not drug overdoses. And one of the founders of Lookout Records is over 60, and friends with my brother – their blogs link to each other.
So I’ve seen Green Day about 4 times now. And I think their showmanship has only gotten better and better. They engage the crowd – they bring people up on stage, they get the crowd singing along, they throw out t-shirts and usually gve away a guitar. At Lollapalooza, they had the first guy they brought up dive off – and Billie Joe told everyone in the front rows to put down their cell phones, so they could catch him. They brought up a really little girl, and a guy who not only knew all the words to Longview, and had a decent voice, he ran back and forth across the stage a la Mr. Armstrong. I get a little irked by all the antics, though, and start to think, “wait, I don’t want to hear the crowd sing, I want to hear the band” – but they are so charming about it all, you just gotta love ‘em. This show they worked in a bunch of covers, too: Hey Jude, and Sinatra’s My Kind of Town (Chicago Is) – and Tre Cool wore a Lady Gaga bra and straw hat, too. And they played a solid 2 1/2 hours with fireworks, pyrotechnics, and a mix of old and new.