'I'm having the time of my life'

September 01, 1994|By McClatchy News Service

TACOMA, Wash. -- If the Puget Sound area seemed a little short of grungy Generation Xers, potheads, bead merchants and plastic water bottles yesterday, that's because most of them were across the mountains at the Gorge, near George.

The occasion was Lollapalooza '94, a two-day-and-night stand in the breathtaking natural amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River.

The sold-out crowd of about 19,000 braved Interstate 90 construction, blistering heat and $5 tacos.

It was a day of contrasts, as Shonen Knife and L7 illustrated. The all-female bands played at the same time yesterday. But that's about all they had in common.

Fempunkers L7, from Los Angeles, tore things up before thousands at the giant main stage. Shonen Knife, a campy pop trio from Japan, entertained a more intimate gathering of hundreds at Lollapalooza's Second Stage.

L7's audience-inspiring chant: "[Expletive]! [Expletive]! Get off your [expletive] and jam!"

Shonen Knife's audience-inspiring chant: "Hee hee ha ha ho ho HO."

Missing, of course, was Seattle's Nirvana. Before leader Kurt Cobain killed himself at his Seattle home in April, Nirvana had been set to headline this fourth Lollapalooza tour.

The duty fell instead to Smashing Pumpkins, a moody, expansive group of alternative rockers. The Pumpkins had a lot of fans at the show, and did a fine set. But the loud cheers for Nirvana's "All Apologies," played over the loudspeakers between bands, showed how much the fans missed their local heroes.

"It was obvious that Nirvana was supposed to headline this show," said Nick, a 26-year-old from Vancouver, Wash. "I think everybody misses them."

Nick was with his 23-year-old pal Ron, who came all the way from New York.

"This is like one giant family reunion," Ron said.

Many performers mingled with their fans, especially the lesser-known Second Stage acts, all of whom signed autographs at the makeshift record store at stage left.

A rap group called The Pharcyde wandered into the crowd early in the day, much to the delight of some young fans. Dathan and Aaron, two 18-year-olds from Seattle, got members of the group to sign their shirts, then stood in the sun smiling broadly.

"This is not just about music," Dathan exulted. "It's a celebration.

"I'm having the time of my life."

Carissa, a 19-year-old from Stanwood, lounged on the grass with her friend and PayLess co-worker Heather, an Everett 18-year-old.

They said they were having fun. And they wouldn't mind coming again. But mostly, being at Lollapalooza just beat working.

"There are a lot of interesting people here," Carissa said, looking out at the expanse of people with unnaturally colored hair and pierced skin.

Did being at Lollapalooza make Carissa or Heather feel closer to their generation?

"Uh, yeah, I guess," Heather said. "But I'm not going to dye my hair green."

Or mosh.

PROTOTYPE

Age: 19

Sex: Male

Attire: Long, baggy shorts, shirt wrapped around waist

Shoes: Boots

Hair: Short and dripping with sweat

Facial hair: A few lonely bits of chin stubble

Skin: Sunburned and tattooed

Favorite band: Beastie Boys

Politics: Strongly in favor of legalizing pot.

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