We were so fresh on Saturday morning that we opted for a beer with breakfast (after an initial coffee – we’re not animals) before heading over to the festival at the Longchamps Racecourse. It’s amazing what you can do when you drink in moderation.
There were apparently a number of stations we could’ve chosen to travel to, most of which provided free buses between the station and the racecourse. In the end though, we decided to get off at Boulogne Jean Jaurès and walk from there to the site as we thought the buses would be crazy-busy.
It turned out to be a good choice as the trains were almost empty and the walk from the station to the festival was only around 10 minutes despite the official website claiming it would be double that.
It was all going too smoothly and being ever-so-slightly pessimistic I was waiting for a hiccup of sorts but it never really came. That’s not to say the journey in was without incident, mind you.
Upon arrival we had our tickets checked on our phones before being allowed into the site. I’d screenshotted our tickets and sent them to James as my phone was on its last legs. So far, so good – we thought.
Unfortunately the previous image I’d sent James was a photo that over the last few weeks we’d been laughing at non-stop. It came from the England vs Sweden World Cup match, after which a picture had been doing the rounds on social media of a rather over-excited middle-aged man crowdsurfing in a pub during the match…naked. Yep, guess which picture the steward accidentally scrolled onto.
Hilarity ensued and we well and truly had the giggles again. The fact she scrolled onto it was amazing, but her reaction which consisted of an extremely high-pitched “oooooh!” and practically throwing the phone back at James was even better!
The next step was to pick up our wristbands, which was once again as straightforward as showing our tickets and being on our way. Just like at BBK Live the previous week, the wristbands could be topped up with money from your bank account on the Lollapalooza Paris app. It seemed most were blissfully unaware of this fact though, as the queue for the top-up tent often seemed bigger than the crowd for some bands!
We picked up a pint each for a cool €7.50 (plus an initial €1.70 charge for the cup) and wandered around in the blistering sun for a while. There wasn’t really any bands of interest on for a few hours so we opted to prop up a bar while taking in a bit of Zara Larsson’s set (nope, me neither) and about 20 seconds of Lil Pump before deciding that we’d rather cut our ears off with a rusty butter knife.
A rather unique thing about this festival was the fact that there were two main stages which I initially thought seemed a little ridiculous. They were so close together I couldn’t wrap my head around how two bands would play simultaneously without drowning each other out!
As it happens the bands rotate between both main stages, so you’ll have a band on at 15.30-16.30 on Main Stage 1, while the next band will take to Main Stage 2 at 16.30 and so on. It’s actually a really good idea as there’s no waiting around while other bands set up and soundcheck – as soon as one gig finishes the next one starts.
Finally the time rolled around for a half-decent band as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took to the main stage mid-afternoon. I can’t claim to be an expert on any of their stuff and only really knew of their tune Spread Your Love before seeing them, but they put on a good show and I’ve Spotified (is that a verb?) a few of their tunes since. Not bad at all for an mid-afternoon festival slot.
More importantly, the guitarist looked like an absolute hard-nut with his leather jacket and constant stream of cigarettes which he’d tuck behind his guitar strings when he needed to sing (or actually sing with the fag still in his mouth), so that bumps them up a bit more.
We had a couple of hours to kill before Kasabian were due on so we took in a few tunes from Bomba Estereo (second time in a week for me, a little less hazy in my head this time) before grabbing some food and putting away a few more beers.
In order to get a good spot we headed to the Kasabian stage a good half an hour before they came on and caught a bit of Bastille as a result. Not for me, but I’ve heard worse. Certainly worth putting up with to be in the thick of things for Leicester’s finest.
Having seen Kasabian last year at Sonic Mania I kind of knew what to expect as they don’t tend to mix up the setlist all that much, but they simply never disappoint. The crowd were on fire (pun intended) from the opening beats of Ill Ray (The King) and kept up the pace all the way through the gig.
The mosh pit – fully instigated by Serge in his rather striking bright orange poncho – was a great laugh and I ended up on James’ shoulders during You’re in Love With a Psycho. I even got a point from Tom before the security guard told me to get down – I swear Tom’s recognition was aimed at me!
After the customary set-ending Fire (and a suitably crazy mosh pit) it was a case of waiting around for Depeche Mode to close out the night. Once again I didn’t really know much apart from the hits but as is often the case I think you can never turn down the chance to see legends when you have the opportunity; David Byrne at BBK being a prime example!
With an hour and 40 minutes to fill there were many tunes I wasn’t familiar with but the class of the band was clear to see. A really tight live outfit and when the classics were blasted out – Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence and set-closer Just Can’t Get Enough – the atmosphere was incredible. I’ll let the video do the talking.
With that, day one of Lollapalooza drew to a close. As expected the crowds flocking back to the station were much bigger than the ones on the way in, but we still managed to get on the first train we saw. We were still waiting for the hiccup.