Lolla Look Back: Freakshow With Pearl Jam And Soundgarden

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(image via Vimeo)

(image via Vimeo)

Nowadays we associate Lollapalooza almost entirely with the prodigious amount of musical acts it has to offer over a three-day stint in Chicago’s Grant Park. However, those who attended the fest as a traveling show in 1992 will more than likely remember the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. Farrell describes the typical setup for a music festival and then his desire to take his a step further by bringing in “alternative lifestyle people” whom he adoringly calls “freaks.”

Farrell and Rose recall a particular act involving seven feet of inner tubing, a medley of liquids, and a strange libation choice for [lastfm]Chris Cornell[/lastfm] of [lastfm]Soundgarden[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Eddie Vedder[/lastfm] of [lastfm]Pearl Jam[/lastfm]. It’s definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen at Lollapalooza: viewers with weak stomachs should perhaps skip this tidbit of the fest’s history.

Described by Rolling Stone as “the absolute must-see act” of Lollapalooza, the Circus featured an assortment of sideshow performers hosted by Jim Rose, who would perform between acts with feats such as stapling currency to his forehead and driving nails into his nostrils. The Circus gained widespread attention through the festival, often overshadowing the musical performers that the festival was founded upon showcasing. The show intended to shock and entice audiences, and overzealous crowd members would often find themselves participating in the bizarre and grotesque performances.


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