Lollapalooza Festival: 8/20/1991

Yes, I attended the first Lollapalooza Festival, which was really, really cool. I was living in Miami at the time and the show was in Orlando. I went with these two girls I knew, but it was strictly a platonic thing. I had a car, and they needed a ride, so it all worked out.

We left in the morning and made the trek to Orlando, which was not too bad. We got there plenty early enough and made our way into the fairgrounds well before the music started. The lineup was pretty solid, and I was really looking forward to seeing all the bands on the bill, especially since the only band I had previously seen was Living Colour. Anyway, here is a list of the bands that performed that day:

  • Jane’s Addiction
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Living Colour
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Ice T & Body Count
  • Butthole Surfers
  • Rollins Band

If memory serves me correct, Rollins Band played first. I had seen Henry Rollins years ago with Black Flag, which was a wild show. His solo band was cool, and he definitely got the energy going.

Next up were the Butthole Surfers. I remember wondering if they were mentally challenged. The singer would toss bottles in the air and allow them to smash on his head. Anyway, they were entertaining. I can appreciate a good freak show.

I’m pretty sure Ice-T and Body Count were next. Their set I remember vividly. They were so raw, so powerful, and they felt—dangerous. I recall thinking that rock music had become pretty tame, but seeing Body Count filled me with the combined sense of danger and excitement that I had not felt at a concert in a long time. And when they performed the infamous “Cop Killer,” with Ice-T beginning with his rap about taking a cop “into the parking lot and shooting him in his mother-f***in’ face,” it was hard not to notice the rage exuding from the phalanx of Orlando police officers lined up and glaring at the stage. It is an image that was burned into my brain.

Nine Inch Nails played afterwards, and the girls I was with were pretty psyched for them. I had not really listened to NIN prior to this, so I didn’t know what to expect. They were intense; only way to describe them. Not my fav, but I appreciated the energy they had on stage, and their sound was definitely unique.

Next up was Living Colour. Damn, I love that band! As a guitarist, I’m always in awe of Vernon Reid’s playing. They totally rocked, in my humble opinion.

Then came Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie was so cool. I wished I was closer because I really enjoyed their set. But even from a distance, it was great seeing them.

Finally, Jane’s Addiction took the stage. They were great, and even after a long day of music out in the Florida sun, the pit was still swarming and people were going wild. I thought they played well, and my only disappointment was that they didn’t play “Jane Says.” Otherwise, killer set.

We drove back to Miami that night, so it was early in the morning by the time I dropped my friends off and made it home. Coffee is a wonderful thing.

I was not able to find all the setlists from the day’s performances, but I found a few. Here are the ones I found.

Nine Inch Nails Setlist:

  • Now I’m Nothing
  • Terrible Lie
  • Sin
  • Physical
  • The Only Time
  • Wish
  • Get Down Make Love
  • Down In It
  • Head Like A Hole

Living Colour Setlist:

  • Type
  • Desperate People
  • Funny Vibe
  • Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing
  • Love Rears Its Ugly Head
  • Under Cover of Darkness
  • Time’s Up
  • Sweet Chariot
  • Open Letter (To a Landlord)
  • Memories Can’t Wait
  • Elvis Is Dead
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Cult of Personality

Siouxsie and the Banshees Setlist:

  • The Last Beat of My Heart
  • Silver Waterfalls
  • The Killing Jar
  • Paradise Place
  • Cry
  • Kiss Them for Me
  • Peek-A-Boo
  • Cities in Dust
  • Switch
  • Fear (of the Unknown)
  • This Wheel’s on Fire
  • Rhapsody
  • Helter Skelter

Jane’s Addiction:

  • Up The Beach
  • Whores
  • Standing In The Shower… Thinking
  • Ain’t No Right
  • Three Days
  • Been Caught Stealing
  • Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey
  • Ted, Just Admit It…
  • Classic Girl
  • Mountain Song
  • Stop!
  • Summertime Rolls
  • Ocean Size

Black Flag: 8/12/1984

BlackFlag_8-12-84

Back in 1984, I was working as a line cook in Miami at one of those TGI Fridays type of places that later went out of business. There was a young woman who worked there named Kim who was very much into the punk scene, hence her nickname “Punk Rock Kimmie.” One day she came up to me and punched me in the arm and said, “Hey Jeff. Wanna go see Black Flag?”

My response: “Umm. I dunno. What songs do they play?”

Kim: “I dunno, but they smash bottles on the stage and roll around in the broken glass.”

Me: “Yeah? How much?”

Kim: “Six bucks.”

Me: “Sure, I’ll pay $6 to see that.”

The show was at Flynn’s on Miami Beach, a true hole in the wall. This place was run down, dirty, dismal, and dangerous—essentially everything you would expect from a hardcore punk bar. I confess I felt nervous around all the skinheads who packed the small venue.

Saccharin Trust was the opening act, but I cannot tell you much about their performance. I was much more focused on the environment and the people there. But Black Flag I remember well.

They came out and it was nothing short of chaos. The mob of angry youths slamming was a bit intense, but I found a safe spot and observed the madness from outside the fray. Henry Rollins, the lead singer, stalked the stage in nothing but shorts, gym socks, and sneakers, screaming viciously into the microphone and spurring the already frenzied crowd. Sweat poured off of him and I remember thinking that he had way too much energy for a single human being. But the encore is what stands out the most for me.

After the high-energy performance, the band was called back on stage. Rollins, drenched with sweat, kicked off a sneaker and pulled off one of his socks. He squeezed the sock sweat into a glass and then drank it. Then he removed his other sock and squeezed it over the crowd. I watched with morbid fascination while fans stood there, mouths open, as sock sweat was squeezed into their mouths. The thought that crossed my mind: Some people will drink anything.