barbie and ken at lollapalooza

March 31, 2012

Mi amigos,

This was the last day of our third month of travel… it has gone so fast. We left our beloved Valparaiso on the 9:00 am bus traveling to Santiago, Chile. Valparaiso for the last five days started each day with very thick fog and we had to put on our jeans and light jackets… so different from the beginning of the month there.

When we arrived in Santiago about 90 minutes later, the sun was up, the temperature was about 20 degrees (quite lovely). We caught the metro (the equivalent of the skytrain, but underground) and lugged our luggage up so many flights of stairs I lost count … actually, Don lugged the luggage.

We found our hostel about two blocks from the metro station… they were ready for us, we dropped off our stuff and headed for Lollapalooza. This is the second time Lollapalooza has been held in Santiago, Chile. There is a lot of interest here for this kind of music festival.

As we were sitting on the grass on our towel (about 30 degrees now), we took note of our fellow festival enthusiasts. It was interesting to note, the crowd was between 18 and 28 years old or so, occasionally,  a child with parents and for most of the day we were the oldest enthusiasts there.  Later in the evening we noticed about six more older-types waiting for Bjork to perform.

It was so funny when, a few acts in, we were approached by a media outlet who picked us out of the crowd and asked us where we were from and what brought us to Lollapalooza and what we thought of the bands so far. The answers were easy and we had a great laugh about how they might use the clip: “hey we found some old people at Lollapalooza, they were from Canada…”

We then moved on to our favourite band of the day… Gogol Bordello….”Start wearing purple” is my song of the hour… as many of you know, I love purple.  Their whole performance was so much fun…they are like Cape Bretoners gone wild, complete with accordion and violin. They hail from New York City and while lead singer Eugene Hutz claims Roma heritage, the rest of the band comes from all over the world, including Chile. Again looking around at our fellow audience… we were astonished to find ourselves in the midst of hard core punk rockers… surprisingly dressed up like Barbie dolls, with their pigtails decked out in all kinds of colours, their very short shirts all a-sparkle and smiles outdoing the beauty pageant contestants…. they even had their Ken dolls with them… not what I was expecting.

Later we witnessed the band Cage the Elephant seemingly fall apart. Don has the first CD they made, which is reasonable music (this is Deborah writing) with their first hit Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked is quite good. Getting back to the band … the lead singer was either very sick, in a drugged state or inebriated. He didn’t have much energy and couldn’t keep up with the band, a big disappointment to the fans. Many of them left before mid-act, including us. There were five stages so it was easy to find more compelling performances.

When we were walking back to the second main stage, we heard Arctic Monkeys – with all the Chileans singing along. The Arctic Monkeys are from Britain and seem to have a huge following here in Chile. We were not very familiar with them and I found some of the music not that easy to listen to. Mind you, the Barbie and Ken dolls loved it.

The last act of the day was Bjork and the crowd went wild! I had not heard her music before, it is definitely different. I would suggest it is ethereal. She had a 10-women choir that sounded like angels themselves. Bjork on the other hand seemed to not have the same quality of melody, but quite distinct sound. Her lyrics were very intriguing. It really seemed like poetry set to music. I was with the crowd and really enjoyed it.

We chose to leave about half an hour before the end of the show as there were upwards of 30,000 people there and one metro station to take them all away. We were very fortunate and got on the first train that came by and made the connection as well and got home in about half an hour … efficient system at a reasonable price…the cost for each of us was $1.20. I don’t know why Translink can’t be as reasonable.

All in all, this was a great day for me, my first time at a Lollapalooza concert. It was also good to be back in Santiago, which is a very beautiful city, especially that day with the pollution high in the stratosphere so we could see the mountains surrounding the city, wonderful heat and later the moon beaming down.

Mucho gusto!

Lots of happiness to you all!

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