Which was the best (pre-revival) Lollapalooza lineup?

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Not as obvious as I thought it would be! There are a couple years you take away one shitty band and it's something you'd want to go to today.

(main stage only)

Poll Results

1994: The Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, The Breeders, A Tribe20
1995: Sonic Youth, Hole, Cypress Hill, Pavement, Sinéad O'Connor/Elastica, Beck, The Jesus Lizard, The 16
1991: Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, Ice T/Body Count, Butt7
1992: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, L7, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, 5
1997: Orbital, Devo, The Prodigy, The Orb, Tool, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tricky, KoЯn, James, Julian and Dami3
1993: Primus, Alice in Chains, Dinosaur Jr, Fishbone, Arrested Development, Front 242, Babes in Toyland2
1996: Metallica, Soundgarden, The Ramones, Rancid, Shaolin monks, Screaming Trees, Psychotica 0

antexit, Saturday, 5 January 2008 12:38 (thirteen years ago) link

The only one I saw was 1991 (at Harriet Island, no Femmes) and looking at these lineups, I wonder why I never went back? Oh yeah, because it was hot, dirty, exhausting, and generally unpleasant. But it did teach me that Living Colour was much better than I had previously believed.

I was going to vote 91 for nostalgia's sake but looking these over I have to hand it to 1994. Unless you can't abide the Pumpkins (and I abide them enthusiastically) I think there's little to complain about here.

I suppose you could argue that the best possible line-up for an all-day festival WOULD include one crappy set so you had time to take a break.

If someone asked you "Who are the only bands to have appeared twice on the Lollapalooza mainstage" would you have guessed L7 and Tool?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 5 January 2008 14:45 (thirteen years ago) link

The 1992 entry is wrong, L7 was NOT on the mainstage. Take it from one who was there.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 January 2008 14:52 (thirteen years ago) link

Also, some of the tours had mainstage switchouts halfway through for the opening act. So in 1994 the Boredoms did the first half of the tour, Green Day did the second half.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 January 2008 14:54 (thirteen years ago) link

I think I read an article (in Spin?) about Lolla 92 in which Lush was accused of hanging backstage with Ministry drinking beer bongs of vomit. That totally unfounded rumor pushes it over the first year by a nose, even though it has the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:10 (thirteen years ago) link

97 has the most acts who I could probably sit through a set by now.

chap, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:18 (thirteen years ago) link

I voted for '95, the only one I went to.

Pleasant Plains, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:29 (thirteen years ago) link

Wow -- it got better as it went along!

I went in '92 and found it difficult to care. The Mary Chain were useless in an open-air environment. I cared little about Lush, Ice Cube, or the Chili Peppers, and not at all about Soundgarden. Pearl Jam and Ministry were the best.

It also didn't help that Hurricane Andrew struck the next day. I'd no idea what Eddie Vedder meant when he remarked, "Heh. Whatever the Weather Channel says, there's a hurricane RIGHT HERE!"

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:32 (thirteen years ago) link

I remember how often Peter Gabriel and New Order were discussed as possible headliners in the early days.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:32 (thirteen years ago) link

really?? that's strange

Surmounter, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Peter Gabriel was a Buzz Band.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Green Day was on the main stage in 1994.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 5 January 2008 15:57 (thirteen years ago) link

I was at the '92 one too, and L7 was there, at least at Molson Park in Barrie, unless I'm remembering this completely wrong. My and my friend won that Wheel of Fortune thing they had and got to go backstage and get sneered at by JAMC.

Nirvana was supposed to headline the Smashing Pumpkins year-- if that had happened, there'd have been no contest.

antexit, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:42 (thirteen years ago) link


J0rdan S., Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:43 (thirteen years ago) link

i'm voting hypothetically btw as i was 6

J0rdan S., Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:44 (thirteen years ago) link

94 & 95 are both really strong but 94 has BORE ATAK so i had to vote that.

14 y/o trippin balls on mescaline 1991 @ great woods was the only one i attended. the high comedy of nin's strobe and dry ice stage show in the midday sun - scary butthole surfers firing shotgun blanks into the crowd (i remember thinking who the fuck let that man have a gun!) - ice-t and his crew mingling w/the audience - this lol hueg pretzel and soda i got - janes addiction's totally fucking sweet stage show - IT WAS SRSLY AWZ DUDES!

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:54 (thirteen years ago) link

1995, though I didn't attend that one; went to 1991, 1993, and 1994. They got less fun for me as they went on, as they got more crowded with folks there firstly for the spectacle (in ATL).

In 1991 the crowd was a bunch of misfit-types: I remember sitting next to an older goth couple popping mushrooms like potato chips, and (on the other side) hacky-sack playing Dead fans. I remember thinking it was cool that Jane's Addiction had nude dancers on stage.

Euler, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:56 (thirteen years ago) link


jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:57 (thirteen years ago) link

95 looks pretty good except for the bosstones.

scott seward, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:58 (thirteen years ago) link

did alice in chains and front 242 get to jam together in 93?

scott seward, Saturday, 5 January 2008 17:59 (thirteen years ago) link

i have a confession to make and here i guess is as good a place as any. between the ages of 13-16 i saw the mighty mighty bosstones probably ten times. AND IT WAS SO FUN!!!!!!

small clubs in boston everyone just freaking out jumping all over the place

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:02 (thirteen years ago) link

i can dig it. i spent an entire night watching dropkick murphys live footage on youtube a while back.

scott seward, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:04 (thirteen years ago) link

lol my friend curtis was in this really quite awful band called patty's pig that fused celtic action w/hardcore sounds sort of an irishy bosstones (i did not make the comparison to curtis's face). anyway one night they played w/this middle of the road going nowhere hardcore band called the dropkick murphys. they were at least nice enough to thank them on their first album.

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:08 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw Coolio on the second stage at '95.

And everyone cleared out after Hole, so we practically had the whole front area to ourselves when Sonic Youth came on.

Bosstones weren't so bad either.

Pleasant Plains, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:10 (thirteen years ago) link

i'd like too see a dance-off between the bosstone dude and bez from happy mondays


scott seward, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:13 (thirteen years ago) link

1994, easy.

I could do without Beastie Boys and L7, but come the fuck on:

- The Smashing Pumpkins
- George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars
- The Breeders
- A Tribe Called Quest
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
- Boredoms

And just think how many of those guys were in their prime! the Pumpkins doing Siamese Dream-era songs, Breeders were on Last Splash... Nick Cave doing Let Love In, dear god, his best album - and the Boredoms on Pop Tatari, jesus.


stephen, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:18 (thirteen years ago) link

whereas, say, in 1992 I'd take the Mary Chain and would be content for the rest to be hit by a mail truck.

stephen, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:19 (thirteen years ago) link

the boredoms were absolutely the best live band in the world in 1994

bosstones are really made for a15 y/o sensibility like i thought it was soooo hilarious that they had a guy who didnt play an instrument - to my credit i never listened their album

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:19 (thirteen years ago) link

ok now ive watch a few dropkick murphys videos and is every one of their songs abt boston - so glad i move out that shithole before they became the house band - that i could not tolerate

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:24 (thirteen years ago) link

I didn't see the Boredoms at Lollapalooza but they did play a one-off date in LA en route to their stint with 'em -- which, needless to say, was utterly glorious.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:31 (thirteen years ago) link

yah i saw them in boston when they were there for lollapalooza

jhøshea, Saturday, 5 January 2008 18:58 (thirteen years ago) link

I vote 94 over 97 (and 91)

The Reverend, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:06 (thirteen years ago) link

If we're judging this based on what I'd prefer to listen to now, then it's 1997, easily (BY FAR the most underrated Lollapalooza, especially at the time it happened).

But back then it was a different story. 1992 is full of grunge hell and RHCP, and although Ministry might suck now they were awesome then and stole the show in every city according to just about everyone. 1992 was an event and a spectacle, that's for sure, and everyone I know who went said it was killer.

I went in 1991, 1994, and 1997. Ten years ago I would have told you that 1994 was the best, and it was definitely the most fun for me out of the three. Now, however, the Beasties and the Pumpkins are embarrassments, the Breeders have more or less faded into irrelevance (although they were smoking hot at the time), L7's music went into the shitter and nobody gives a crap about them anymore (even though they were awesome back then), and so on. That lineup has *not* aged well at all, but was pretty impressive then (you could say the same about the second stage, featuring Stereolab and Verve among others).

The music was great in 1997, but the venue (in Toronto at least) was shit, and everyone was basically there to see Tool (who were great, but literally 2/3 of the people left before headliners Orbital). *Not* a good overall experience. So for that reason I can't vote for 1997. I'd rather gouge out my eardrums with a potato peeler than hear some of the bands from 1993, 1995, or 1996. I guess I'll choose 1991, which was awesome from Ice T onward and probably still would be today.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:07 (thirteen years ago) link

I think I read an article (in Spin?) about Lolla 92 in which Lush was accused of hanging backstage with Ministry drinking beer bongs of vomit. That totally unfounded rumor pushes it over the first year by a nose

That's true, dude! One of Jim Rose's freak show dudes would make this milkshake in his tummy of Pepto Bismol and other stuff, and get people from the audience (and eventually bands) to drink it!


Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:09 (thirteen years ago) link

i voted '95. Beck, Pavement, and SONIC YOUTH who were like my three favorite bands at the time. Cypress Hill had a huge inflated Buddha onstage. i also saw Mike Watt on the second stage. and as someone else mentioned, most of the crowd cleared out before SY.

one time, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:18 (thirteen years ago) link

uh and its the only one i went to.

one time, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:18 (thirteen years ago) link

The first one was obviously the best one.

Alex in NYC, Saturday, 5 January 2008 19:35 (thirteen years ago) link

fwiw here are the second stage lineups:

Jim Rose Circus, Sharkbait, Archie Bell, Porno for Pyros, Basehead, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Sweaty Nipples, Arson Garden, Seaweed, Seam, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., The Look People, Stone Temple Pilots, Vulgar Boatmen, Truly, Skrew, Tribe, The Authority, Samba Hell, Café Tacuba, Rage Against the Machine

Tool, Sebadoh, Cell, Unrest, Mercury Rev, Mosquito, Free Kitten, Royal Trux, Tsunami, Mutabaruka, The Coctails, Scrawl, Luscious Jackson, Genitorturers, Truly, Eggs, Girls Against Boys, Thurston Moore, A Lighter Shade of Brown, Glue, The Karl Hendricks Trio, Hurl, The Goats

The Flaming Lips, The Verve, The Boo Radleys, The Frogs (first six dates only), Guided by Voices, Lambchop, Girls Against Boys, Rollerskate Skinny, Palace Songs, Stereolab, Fu-Schnickens, The Pharcyde, Shudder to Think, Luscious Jackson, God Lives Underwater, King Kong, Charlie Hunter Trio, Shonen Knife, Blast Off Country Style, Souls of Mischief, Cypress Hill, The Black Crowes

Coolio, Doo Rag, Possum Dixon, Poster Children, Yo La Tengo, Brainiac, The Coctails, Geraldine Fibbers, Dambuilders, Laika, The Pharcyde, Tuscadero, Built to Spill, Helium, Redman, St. Johnny, Dirty Three, Mike Watt, Versus, Hum, Blonde Redhead, The Roots, Blowhole, The Zeros, Pork Queen, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Sabalon Glitz, Psychotica, Patti Smith, Overpass, Moby, Superchunk, Beck (acoustic, generally), Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A., Ariel, Incredibly Strange Wrestling

Beth Hart Band, Girls Against Boys, Ben Folds Five, Ruby, Cornershop, You Am I, Soul Coughing, Sponge, Melvins, Satchel, Jonny Polonsky, Fireside, Ass Dildo

Indie Stage: Chune, Moonshake, Lutefisk, Capsize 7, The Cows, Long Fin Killie, Thirty Ought Six, Varnaline, Crumb

Beck, Summercamp, Artificial Joy Club, Jeremy Toback, Radish, Old 97's, Inch, Porno for Pyros, The Pugs, The Lost Boyz, Agnes Gooch, Demolition Doll Rods, Skeleton Key, Molly McGuire, Orbit


sleeve, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:48 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah, 1993 was the second stage 'indie' year by far, and it varied from city to city. For the LA area show (in Irwindale!) saw Dos, Thurston solo, heard Sebadoh at one point. Also a great Ethyl Meatplow set, second of the three times I saw them.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 January 2008 20:54 (thirteen years ago) link

1991, because people hadn't quite figured it out yet. Where I saw the show (Stanhope, NJ) the whole area by the stage was taken up by hippies on blankets because, dude, outdoor concert. Out comes Henry Rollins, bows to the crowd, the band explodes, and the booted masses come roaring in to start the pit. Amid the gigantic cloud of dust, you could see baskets and blankets literally flying through the air as hippie idiots ran screaming. It was a new day in outdoor-concert-land. That single moment was the only time I ever believed in the whole "Alternative Nation" hype. Plus, the day I was there Siouxsie wasn't feeling well, so we got extra-long Rollins Band and Butthole Surfers sets to compensate.

unperson, Saturday, 5 January 2008 21:08 (thirteen years ago) link

Waterloo Village -- I was at that one as well (Stanhope). Cried aloud when they announced that Sioux wasn't performing (but saw her the next day).

Alex in NYC, Saturday, 5 January 2008 21:51 (thirteen years ago) link

1993, though '91 comes close. Any year where Alternative and EBM/Industrial acts were playing the same stage.

rock_is_dead, Saturday, 5 January 2008 22:04 (thirteen years ago) link

Best Lollapalooza Lineup

gr8080, Saturday, 5 January 2008 22:14 (thirteen years ago) link

'94 at an old army airfield in rhode island was pretty awesome. i always felt sorry for the kid who passed out just outside the gate - before even getting in. an ambulance was taking him away just as we arrived.

i missed '91 in flagstaff AZ by a day or two. i was in town to get packed up for 3 weeks of geology field camp, and i remember seeing the posters as i was buying TAPES to listen to out in the field (de la soul is dead, among other things) and i had no way to stick around for the show. always felt sort of sad about that, especially since i never became a geologist....

chr1sb0y, Sunday, 6 January 2008 00:22 (thirteen years ago) link

The Flaming Lips, The Verve

Yeah, I was looking for this one.. if I could go back in time and see one of them I'd choose 94.

billstevejim, Sunday, 6 January 2008 00:31 (thirteen years ago) link

"Cried aloud when they announced that Sioux wasn't performing (but saw her the next day)."

okay, that settles it. you are not a goth. a true goth would have cried on the inside.

scott seward, Sunday, 6 January 2008 00:37 (thirteen years ago) link

I went to 94 and 95 and while I enjoyed the latter (esp. Sonic Youth and Jesus Lizard sets) '94 had the best second stage acts of any year and a pretty good mainstage line up (except for the Pumpkins--and I think the version I saw had Green Day not the Boredoms bah).

Alex in SF, Sunday, 6 January 2008 00:53 (thirteen years ago) link

1994 easy.
I went 92-94 (mom wouldn't let me go to '91), so I'm judging based solely on experience - but the lineup really was unstoppable that year, compounded by the convenient happenstance that many of the bands were promoting their best albums. Caught The Flaming Lips, Verve, GBV, & some Tibetan monks with ten-foot long mountain horns in addition to most of the main-stage acts. What I'll truly never forget about that day was seeing The Boredoms & Nick Cave give tremendous performaces to a practically empty pavilion at 3:00 in the afternoon

Pillbox, Sunday, 6 January 2008 01:01 (thirteen years ago) link

I went to the first five of these - I lived in the middle of nowhere so driving to see a bunch of bands in one day was kind of fun. The first Lollapalooza was actually the first live concert featuring "real" bands that I ever saw. We were like ten rows from the front, no earplugs, and the Rollins Band just destroyed us all with loudness.

They were all fun to varying degrees - unexpectedly catching Tool and Cypress Hill on the second stages, making a big banner to get Soundgaren to play "Fopp" by the Ohio Players only to have the RHCP play it later, almost dying in a huge Pearl Jam melee, hanging out with the drummer for Alice In Chains' mom, lots of sneaking people up front from the lawn, wearing my first ironic t-shirt to a show, etc.

Sadly I never saw the Smashing Pumpkins in 94 as I got arrested right after the Beastie Boys started and spent two days in jail. Stupid Milwaukee.

joygoat, Sunday, 6 January 2008 01:14 (thirteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 00:01 (thirteen years ago) link

Cried aloud when they announced that Sioux wasn't performing (but saw her the next day).

omg there were so many crying goths @ greatwoods when they announced siuox wouldnt play - soooooo hilarious to 14 y/o tripping self - i had forgotten abt that

jhøshea, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 00:09 (thirteen years ago) link

still pretty funny

jhøshea, Wednesday, 9 January 2008 00:14 (thirteen years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Thursday, 10 January 2008 00:01 (thirteen years ago) link

If you'd told me "just one year will get 0 votes" I would have predicted both 97 and 93 before 96.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 10 January 2008 04:03 (thirteen years ago) link

Orbital and Primus have more ILX fans that Load-era Metallica, though I assume the 0 means Chuck Eddy didn't vote.

da croupier, Thursday, 10 January 2008 04:07 (thirteen years ago) link

94 won for the boredoms, right?

da croupier, Thursday, 10 January 2008 04:10 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm not surprised at all that '96 got a goose egg, that year had the biggest backlash and was the beginning of the end. It was also the only year I attended, I was 14 and a huge Sonic Youth fan and was bummed about not going the year before. I had a blast seeing the Ramones and Soundgarden on their final tours, Ben Folds Five were great, enjoyed Screaming Trees and GVSB and You Am I so much that I don't know why I never got around to buying albums by any of them, and fucking WU TANG were special guests at the show I went to. Still would've loved to go in '95, though, especially for Superchunk and the Geraldine Fibbers the year they released my favorite albums by them.

Alex in Baltimore, Thursday, 10 January 2008 05:53 (thirteen years ago) link

I still don't entirely understand who 'Psychotica' was or why they were a main stage act, though. man they sucked, wtf.

Alex in Baltimore, Thursday, 10 January 2008 05:54 (thirteen years ago) link

1995 wins hands-down if my focus was on bands i like the most

but if i was to actually weigh up which festival i'd most like to attend and took into account a number of variables such as what a particular band was doing at the particular time, i could go with 1994 and even consider 1993

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 10 January 2008 08:11 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Thirty years ago tonight, the first ever Lollapalooza show. Featuring, among other things, this monstrosity:

So the notes going around today that it's the 30th anniversary of the first ever Lollapalooza date leave out one tiny detail. The official T-shirts sold on the tour SUCKED. Look at this terrible as hell but also incredibly of its time thing. pic.twitter.com/xwYccmVrr2

— Ned Raggett (@NedRaggett) July 19, 2021

Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 July 2021 03:52 (two weeks ago) link

Meantime, enjoy this piece about The Date That Started It All


Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 July 2021 03:55 (two weeks ago) link

I picked up one of these at a Buffalo Exchange back in high school:


Has all the official band logos on the back.

“Heroin” (ft. Bobby Gillespie) (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 19 July 2021 04:58 (two weeks ago) link

I went in '94 and '95. I'm glad I did and I wish I could do it again...

alpine static, Monday, 19 July 2021 06:23 (two weeks ago) link

Looking at the wiki, the lineup for the cancelled 2004 tour (a two-day per city affair felled by low ticket sales) was wild:

The Pixies, Morrissey, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, The Killers, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, The Von Bondies, The String Cheese Incident, Modest Mouse, Le Tigre, Gomez, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Danger Mouse, The Polyphonic Spree, Broken Social Scene, Ross Golan, The Datsuns, Bumblebeez 81, The Secret Machines, Brayndead Freakshow, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Elbow, Wheat, The Coup, Wolf Eyes, The Dresden Dolls

“Heroin” (ft. Bobby Gillespie) (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 19 July 2021 07:05 (two weeks ago) link

Saw '94 and '97...got to see '97 in literally the front row as somehow the corp. comp tickets fell all the way down to the IT department (as the exec's backstabbed each other around the office trying to get the Jimmie Buffet tickets).

Beastie Boys in '94 was literally about the most pushed to lather I have had ever seen a band do to an audience. They had a circle pit going at the front of the stage where there was FIXED seating in concrete at the Deer Creek shed in Indy. There was just total bedlam going on in the grass up top. After a whole day in the sun, when the Beasties were done so was the crowd and they just vanished. I'd say it was maybe bit over 1/2 full when the Smashing Pumpkins started playing. I ended up booking myself a couple tunes in as I had to start a new job the next day.

earlnash, Monday, 19 July 2021 08:26 (two weeks ago) link

Dude, we were at the same Lolla shows! Also saw '96 @ Deer Creek tho.

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Monday, 19 July 2021 11:11 (two weeks ago) link

xp the climactic screams in "Sabotage" ... when they turned on the house lights ... holy shit, i still get chills thinking about it, and i wasn't even *that* much of a fan. (i was, however, 18 years old.)

alpine static, Monday, 19 July 2021 18:50 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah the equivalent moment in LA was pretty damn great.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 July 2021 18:54 (two weeks ago) link

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