When talking with friends about heading north to Chicago for Lollapalooza, they were never shocked that I was doing so on a whim as a last hoorah before my yet to be conceived child is born. They weren’t even shocked that I could have just as easily seen most of the Lolla lineup in Austin at the similar ACL fest. It was always the moment when they said “take lots of great pics” and I revealed I was not bringing any cameras that their faces went into the grimaced, botox induced smile that happens when you just don’t know how to nicely respond to something. True, I would have my trusty Blackberry which does have a camera attached but it isn’t exactly up close and personal worthy.

I must admit, I wasn’t certain of my ability to walk into a new city armed with nothing but my mind, a twitter account and a moleskin to track my experiences. A week before it was time to go I even priced handheld’s like the Flip, enamored by the possibility of catching intimate moments with the XX and Mumford and Sons that I could later relive. I stuck to my guns though and walked into Lollapalooza with myself, the phone and enough water to cross a desert.

Set after set, I engulfed myself in the moment, vowing not to spend the entire show catching up on Facebook or Twitter or even just spacing out while people watching. I drank in, let the music find me and left satiated yet starving for more.

Set after set, someone held their phone up for the entirety of the song, watching the band play through the screen.
Set after set, kids around my chatted about the next band, the nights plans, last nights events.
Set after set, I moved my head, my position, my arm so someone behind me could try to get another photo.

And I tried not to be annoyed. I reminded myself that my idea of a great show is only my idea. I reminded myself that the crowd around me was just as much a part of the experience as the band. But I couldn’t help but wonder how spending half the show striving to get the perfect shot of the lead singer to prove you were here would allow anyone to actually be there.

On the flight back, I listened to a few of the Lolla lineup bands, reveling in the experience, the moments I had now stored in my hands and feet. I realized that I didn’t give a damn that the only photos I had to share with the world where blurry one offs I had taken. There were people out there who were being paid good money to take great photos from vantage points I would never be able to get to. All I truly cared about was that itchy feet feeling, that soaring heart moment, that visceral memory of song.

That’s what you’ll find here, me chasing, expounding, rambling about those visceral, beautiful, raw moments.

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