The original plan was to make like a gonzo and not take a single note. I mean, technology and my memory are pretty tight right now. But my journo instincts could not handle the clusterfuck of emotion and music careening from the amps of eight stages, splayed out across Chicago’s lakeside front yard.

A young music heart met during The Black Kids set shared that one only needs fifteen seconds to realize his affinity for a song.

Indeed, Perry Farrell gets off on riddling that park with madness. But there’s always method there to navigate, so long as you’re paying attention for more than a quarter of a minute.














It’s rapid fire on the grounds of Grant Park. In two sips of a beer’s time, one could witness Stephen Malkmus tease a crowd with a Pavement tune, but miss the opportunity to clobber three beach balls, point and laugh at a dirty teenager rolling in baseball diamond dust and hear CSS explain the many ways music is like hot, hot sex.

In the spirit of that young music heart, here are 15 moments of greatness and oddity I documented in fifteen-count time, listed as all great things are, in ascending value:

15.) In one swift rip on my scooter, along the entrance to the park, poor souls were backed up literally a mile’s length just to get through the security check point. Meanwhile, 10,000 thieves were warming up their wrists to play the stretch-the-wristband-sneak-your-friend-in-game.














14.) Yeasayer channeled their inner shaman during a Friday afternoon set, frontman Anand Wilder layering raps over “Sunrise,” beats crumbling into dub, before ascending into tribal jerks. In a brief introduction, a rep from XM Radio apologizes that the band’s good Chicago friend, Oprah, had to bail from doing the introduction herself.

13.) Forget the crunchy, monster pick-up of Akron’s The Black Keys, the tumbling two-man southern rock worthy of a bottle of whiskey a song. Fans instead had an interest in cheering the absence of the sun, hiding behind a cloud. In the remaining seven seconds, a single off-mic yelp introduced new power-stomper, “I Got Mine.”














12.) Radiohead was more hyped than Obama’s supposed appearance (he never showed). Their Bonnaroo ’07 set is a thing of four-hour infamy. The band has stated in interviews that their last show in Grant Park was one of their favorites to date. Though, sadly, one of the only take-home experiences of their headlining set today, as in 100,000 pairs of eyes are watching you Thom Yorke and crew, was a single verse to “Fake Plastic Trees,” thousands emanating Yorke coos abound: “She looks like the real thing/She looks like the real thing/My fake plastic love,” while some fireworks from a White Sox game burst in unison.

11.) MGMT’s dancematronic hit “Time To Pretend” was devoid of dance. Inexcusable. It was like 95-degrees out. And they’re young performers, a bit apprehensive on stage. But a fan one-lined the vibe best: “This is the kind of music I want to listen to after I ejaculate.” I guess that could be positive or negative.

10.) German electrohouse duo, Booka Shade, on the other hand, rocked the dance sockies off of MGMT on the adjacent Citi Stage, a mere 100 feet away, inciting dancers to hang off the limbs of trees. Their 15 seconds of infamy belongs to a crowd of 5000 pogo’ing in unison with two fists in the air. Now every time I come across the moniker in a record stack, strobes of that image will encourage me to impulse buy.

9.) Mark Lanegan of The Gutter Twins, howling his newfound undertaker status in rock behind some fab black shades made me fear for my soul. As did the closing lyric of “Idle Hands,” with Lanegan asserting, “We are the devil’s play thing, into this reckoning.”

8.) Pausing in front of Buckingham Fountain, the loose rock-paved roundabout that separates North Grant Park from South, and inciting three, paced mass CHICAGO screams.

7.) Choosing not to prod curiosity and actually see if Obama would shop up to Kanye West’s set, I opted for Trent Reznor’s dead-eyed version of “Closer,” turning the song’s infamous chorus into one inhibition free Fuckathon. Though many of my seconds here were used on Reznor’s eyes, the dude channeled hedonism demons.

6.) Battles, actually drawing people away from Broken Social Scene’s set with their tweeks of nonsensical math rock on hit single “Atlas,” shooting guitars and keys with uzi-precision, yet slathering it with enough funk to launch feet in the air.

5.) Little kids, little tiny children with their parents dancing off in the distance to the Brazilian Girls chorus, “Pussy, pussy, pussy marijuana,” completely oblivious to the meaning of their frolic.

4.) Mr. Farrell getting all nostalgic with an acoustic version “Jane Says,” peaking my head under the tent – I was late, and there was absolutely no room to squeeze in the crowd – to see Slash on guitar? The dude had Slash on guitar. Of all my 15-second moments, I wish I’d been able to witness a little more of that jam.

3.) Saul Williams demanding that “Race is a social construct” and that we have the ability “to see beyond it,” prior to grunting through an awfully off-key, yet honorable cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” It was also Sunday, if that counts.

2.) Exactly five troll hobbles of Explosions In The Sky’s lead guitarist Munaf Rayani blasting through one of their finest tantric rock sessions to date, with the shuffling grandiose of “Your Hand In Mine,” followed by precisely three remaining seconds of Chicago skyline gazing.

1.) The true fifteen seconds of infamy, the quarter minute that defined this year’s festival belongs to the vehement rants of Zach De La Rocha, particular a laser-eyed string of words about this year’s presidential election: “It’s those generations of poor black and Latino and Muslim brothers and sisters that are going to stand up and make this country an offer it can’t refuse. An offer it can’t refuse. An offer it can’t refuse. So wake up. WAKE UP. WAKE UP.” – before blasting into closer, “Killing In The Name Of,” and spurring 100,000 people to ironically shout “FUCK YOU I WON’T DO WHAT THEY TELL ME.”–Gavin Paul/photos by Gavin Paul