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At ?Lolla,' Audioslave enslaves us all - Ryan Whelchel

This past weekend Lollapalooza exploded into the Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater with hot ticket bands and headliners of Lollapalooza, Jane's Addiction, newly formed Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, the Donnas and many others. Perry Farell, front man of Jane's Addiction, originally created the tour in the early 90's, as an alternative music show, showcasing alternative music acts and alternative lifestyles. As the years went on, Jane's Addiction began to fall apart, and the tour began to suffer from copycat tours, and it quit, until now.

The Hi-fi Buys amphitheater was packed with thousands of people ecstatic to see their favorite performers take the stage, along with joining in on other activities that were taking place. The tour showcased two stages, a main stage and a secondary stage with simultaneous performances. The main stage provided the acts that can be heard all over mainstream radio, while the second stage was reserved for lesser known bands and acts that still deserved attention.

The entire tour is hosted by Microsoft's X-Box. Along with many of the other things that were taking place at the concert event, was a tent that was setup to showcase many of the X-box games that are soon to be released. They held tournaments to win prizes, and pose with two X-Box models.

I will say that the worst thing about the show is the extreme prices. Tickets were expensive, due to Ticketmaster's continuous dominance of the ticket industry, but also souvenirs and food were expensive. For a Lollapalooza 2003 tee shirt, it would cost $30. For a regular sized bottle of water it would cost $3.50! They wouldn't even give you the top to the water because you may throw it at the artists performing. Another bad part of the event was that they printed on the tickets that cameras and such devices are banned. I was in the pit, five feet away from the band. What do I see around me? People taking pictures like crazy and even sometimes handing the camera to the security guards to take pictures for them. I had plenty of opportunities to where I could have taken pictures of Chris Cornell and Tom Morello of Audiolave who leaned down right in front of me. You were even searched when you came to the arena, so how did all these cameras slip by?

The top drawing bands that were on the last four spots were (in order), Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Audioslave, and Jane's Addiction. All bands performed new songs that had not been released including Jane's Addiction who is releasing a new album, "Strays."

Queens of the Stone Age after playing a new song brought out a legendary Seattle singer from the band Screaming Trees, Mark Lanegen to jam with them for about three songs. After a blistering set and joking with the crowd QOTSA bowed out and left the stage.

Incubus took the stage next, playing many songs from their most recent album "Morning View" but played classic Incubus songs from "Make Yourself" and "Science", along with two new songs that have yet to be released. The music was right on mark with their recordings, and Brandon Boyd (vocalist) has a very energetic and charismatic way about him on stage.

On to the next act, which I have been waiting months to see, was Audioslave. Audioslave is a band that was formed with legendary grunge vocalist Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden) and guitar veteran Tom Morello, Brad Wilk (drums), and Tim Commerford (bass), all from Rage Against the Machine.

Their performance started with the drop of the band's symbol, a flame, that you could only see through if you were right next to it. The monitors then changes to show Audioslave's name, then there was an explosion and the banner dropped and Cornell was running around with Morello Jumping in the air. Wilk had his drums set up so that he was not facing the audience, but there were mirrors around him so he could see the crowd and band. Early in the show the band experienced technical problems and most the electronics didn't work. Cornell grabbed the microphone and said, "We're always prepared for situations like this. Someone give me a acoustic guitar." Immediately the crowd began to scream, for Cornell hasn't played guitar live since his Soundgarden, and solo days. He debuted an unreleased song, and again another unreleased song when the same problem occurred.

After the second new song he saw that it wasn't fixed yet and he began playing "Highway," an Audioslave track that is on their platinum-selling, self-titled album. More than halfway though the song the rest of the band came in exactly on time, just to give Cornell a huge grin.

Throughout their whole show they were smiling as if they could not believe that everyone here knew all their songs and were here for them. They even covered a popular song on the radio by the White Stripes called "Seven Nation Army." It was easily the most phenomenal performance, and most awe-inspiring night of my life.

Next up was Jane's Addiction who are riding on the heels of the first studio album in over a decade. The originators of Lollapalooza were set to take the closing spot. With a new bass player at hand, one of the most original bands ever, was taking stage. Well I wish I could tell you more, but to be honest my friends and I left before they played. I didn't think it would be able to live up to Audioslave's act and I'm not a huge Jane's fan, and besides we were tired from being there most of the day, and hungry from boycotting the overpriced venue food. My last thought about the show was, "I should have tried to bring a camera in."

Ryan Whelchel, of Jonesboro, is a rising sophomore at Georgia State University and a summer intern at the News Daily.