Lollapalooza 2011 Lineup Has Us Feeling Existential

EminemLate Monday night (or early Tuesday morning), the folks behind Lollapalooza revealed the lineup for the 2011 edition of the fest, a top-heavy bill featuring headliners like Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay and Muse that makes me feel like this.

Yes, I am having an existential, Tommy-Lee-Jones level crisis about Lolla 2011, which, in case you weren’t aware, is also the 20th anniversary of the fest. It’s not really because I have a problem with any of the headliners per se, it’s just that, well, it would’ve been nice if any of them actually had ties to Lolla’s past. Sure, there’s some nods to recent history — Muse played the fest in 2007 — and plenty of synergy in the second-tier of bands (A Perfect Circle played the fest in 2003, Ween played in 2006, My Morning Jacket played in ’06 and ’07), but overall, it looks like Perry Farrell and Co. have largely ignored the past 20 years … aside from a hard-to-navigate “Time Capsule” on Lollapalooza’s official site, that is.

And, sure, maybe in the weeks leading up to the fest — it’s set for August 5-7 in Chicago’s Grant Park — all that will change, and organizers will announce a slew of nostalgia acts (surely, Psychotica could clear their schedule). Or maybe they won’t, because they prefer to look forward … and, really, that’s their prerogative. But looking at this lineup as is, I just feel very Ed Tom Bell: world weary, saddened by the inevitable march of time, longing for the days of yore, yet bracing for the future. I am a man without a country, or a purpose. I am an anachronism.

Simply put, I don’t feel any connection to this festival whatsoever. I am too old to care about the headliners (or, more specifically, get really pumped about Eminem), too young to willingly slide into the “obsess over the midcard” role just yet (“How about that Mavis Staples?!?”) But at the same time, I feel like I have lived long enough to wish Lollapalooza 2011 would’ve embraced its heritage a bit more, since, you know, I basically grew up in the Alternative Nation for which Lolla was the standard bearer. And yes, I am still young enough to realize just how old that statement makes me sound.

So perhaps tonight, when I go to sleep, I will dream of the Lollapaloozas of yester-year … of headliners like Primus and the Pumpkins, of mid-carders like Rage Against The Machine (!) and Pavement. Of “cyber tents” and circus freaks and being young and wrapped in flannel, even if it was 100 degrees out. And yes, perhaps I will dream of Perry Farrell, going through a pass in the mountains, head down, blanket wrapped around him. He would be carrying fire in a horn, the way people used to do. And in the dream I would know that he was goin’ on ahead and he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold, and I would know that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I would wake up.