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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Chicago & Lollapalooza 2009 recap
Amy and I just returned from a great, kid-free weekend in Chicago. In fact, it was the first kid-free weekend we have had in over 10 years. The last time was a road trip from Memphis to St. Louis in 1998 to see the Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest at the Kiel Center on August 8th. So when I saw that the Beastie Boys were going to be headlining the second night of Lollapalooza on... August 8th, I had to get tickets.

Of course, after getting tickets, arranging for my mom to come over and watch the kids and getting a *sweet* hotel room, the Beastie Boys were forced to cancel their show.

Me at the Google office in Chicago
Amy is a whiz with a digital camera. I'm the shadowy figure on the right. Trust me.

The weekend started with a cold, rainy Friday in Chicago. We stopped by the Google office to have lunch, get a tour and play a little Rock Band. Amy and I joined Shannon and Lindsey from Google on "Eye of the Tiger" and "Livin' on a Prayer."

After leaving Google, we checked into our room at theWit before heading out to shop for the rest of the afternoon.

Our room at theWit #1604

The most surreal stop was at the American Girl store on Michigan Avenue. Thanks to our neighbor, Mira is convinced that she needs one (or more) American Girl dolls. We're still not so sure, so we grabbed a catalog and got out while we could.

For dinner, we headed to Joe's on the corner of Grand and Rush. Highly recommended if you like steak (and a lot of it). The grilled tomatoes are also outta sight.

Old Fashioned and steak at Joe's
I topped off the steak with an Old Fashioned

Saturday, we decided to search for an old-school diner to have breakfast. We ended up at the Pittsfield Cafe which is tucked away in the lobby of the Pittsfield building (duh!) at the corner of Wabash and Washington. The food (I got the Jumping Bean omelet with hashbrowns) and service were excellent.

Pittsfield Cafe makes a mean breakfast

After lunch, we decided that more shopping was in order before heading over to Grant Park for Lollapalooza. The weather had gone from 60s and rain on Friday to 95 and sunny on Saturday, so we didn't want to get there too early (since we would be there until 10pm).

Lollapalooza 2009: Buckingham Fountain
The Chicago skyline provides an awesome backdrop for Lollapalooza

Thanks to a scheduling mishap on my part, we ended up arriving at Lollapalooza around 1pm for what I thought was a 2:30pm Arctic Monkeys set. Minutes after heading in, I realized the mistake. Because we bought one-day tickets, we weren't able to leave and come back in. So, we did what we do best, we decided to shop at the various booths set up in the middle of the park.

After shopping, we discovered two things that would prove very handy as we waited for the Arctic Monkeys set: homemade ice cream and shaded hammocks. Local radio station Q101 had set up dozens of hammocks under the trees, so Amy and I stretched out, ate some ice cream and did some people watching.

Lollapalooza 2009: In the hammock haven
In the hammock

Lollapalooza 2009: In the hammock haven
The hammock was great for people watching

We were still able to enjoy some of the music from the nearby stages. We heard much of Ida Maria's set and some of Gomez's as well.

Eventually, we forced ourselves out of the hammock to check out Perry Farrell's DJ set on the Perry's stage. We got there a few minutes early and were able to see Prophit finishing up their set with a cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade."

At 4:30, we finally got to see the Arctic Monkeys who were awesome. They sounded great and played a lot of my favorite songs including "505" which ended the set.

A clip from "A View from the Afternoon"

We were able to hear some of the Santigold set while waiting for TV on the Radio who came on at 6:30. I wasn't a huge TVOTR fan (I have "Return to Cookie Mountain," but really only listen to one track), but they put on a really good show.

A little clip from "Wolf Like Me"

We closed out the evening with the headlining set from Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I had seen them at the much smaller Lifestyle Communities Pavilion when they came to Columbus a couple of months ago and was eager to see them again in front of the much larger Lollapalooza crowd. As usual, Karen O. put on a great show.

A clip from "Zero"

Lollapalooza 2009: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

After a long, hot day at Lollapalooza, we headed back to the room and crashed. We wanted to check out the club Roof on the top floor of our hotel, but we were just too wiped out.

While it was great to get away, we're not used to being away from the kids. So we packed up before noon and headed home. Depending on the bands, I would like to do it again next year. Not sure Amy feels the same way, though :)

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.