By Tim Salhany, staff writer
Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago Fulfills Its Promise of Great Music and Good Times
Chicago, IL (RPRN) 8/10/2009–â€œBest crowd ever,â€ proclaimed Karen O, lead singer of New York City band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, not two-thirds of the way through their Saturday night set. She, of course, was referring to the masses of people watching her group perform in beautiful Chicago this past weekend at the Lollapalooza music festival. A late addition to the festival, Yeah Yeah Yeahs were added to the bill after the Beastie Boys dropped out due to the unfortunate news that founder Adam Yauch (MCA) was suffering from cancer. â€œYeah Yeah Yeahs are never going to forget this night, weâ€™re not even supposed to be here,â€ said a grateful O, who gave a magnificent performance, despite a minor glitch where she forgot the words to her bandâ€™s biggest song â€œMapsâ€ – thatâ€™s right, I said minor.
Yet, it must be said that the atmosphere throughout the three days of this festival never ceased to be upbeat and full of thrills, even with Fridayâ€™s downpour and Sundayâ€™s 95 degree heat wave. According to Lollapalooza founder and Janeâ€™s Addiction front man Perry Farrell, the show was virtually sold out, with roughly 80,000 fans witnessing the loads of performances each day. Still, this should come as no surprise, considering the huge success the festival has had in recent years. Lollapalooza remains one of the biggest and most fan-worthy music festivals out there, and since 1991, minus a few years in between, it has satisfied music enthusiasts with live performances of their much-loved bands, groups and troupes. The festival has used Chicagoâ€™s impressive Grant Park as its site since 2005, and will reportedly continue to do so until 2018.
Headlining this year was Depeche Mode, whose Friday night performance reassured fans that the band is still going strong, despite recent news of lead singer David Gahanâ€™s struggling health condition. â€œWeâ€™ll see you next time,â€ Gahan proclaimed, after his bandâ€™s crowd-pleasing two hour set, opening and closing with favourites â€œWrongâ€ and â€œPersonal Jesus,â€ respectively.
Snoop Dogg and The Killers performed back to back, with a one hour break in between, closing the festival on Sunday night at one of the main stages. Snoop Dogg received a colossal turnout, especially considering that he was virtually the only rapper in a festival catering mainly to rock music fans; â€œWho Am I? (Whatâ€™s My Name?)â€ and â€œDrop It Like Itâ€™s Hotâ€ saw what appeared to be a sea of hands waving in an endless crowd. While the Killers performed some songs off their new album, they succeeded in appealing to mainstream fans by playing more or less all of their chart toppers, including â€œSomebody Told Me,â€ â€œMr. Brightside,â€ and â€œRead My Mind.â€ A highlight of their performance occurred during â€œAll These Things That Iâ€™ve Done,â€ when the crowd sang along to what is almost certainly their most famous lyric, â€œIâ€™ve got soul, but Iâ€™m not a soldier.â€
Still though, for this festivalgoer, the pre-eminent show of the gala was Scotlandâ€™s Glasvegas, whose sound and visual style are reminiscent of a brand of expressive pop-rock that bridges the 50s and the 80s. The group perfectly executed songs from their self-titled introductory album, with vocal lead James Allen chanting up to par, if not better than his resonance on the record. Performing their smash â€œDaddyâ€™s Goneâ€ at the very end, fans sang along satisfied, knowing that this band is going nowhere but up; theyâ€™ll surely be back next year should they keep on keeping on.
Other highlights of 2009â€™s Lollapalooza include performances by Chicagoâ€™s own Neko Case, Englandâ€™s Gomez, Swedenâ€™s Lykke Li and the always original, fantastically creative Of Montreal, out of Athens, Georgia.
One last note â€“ each and every performance on the main stages was beautifully filmed, not only permitting proper viewing for all on big screens, but actually evoking an artistic sense that seemed to contribute to the bandâ€™s overall performing style; Depeche Mode for example were filmed in black and white, and the Killers, at various moments, in shades of bright blue and red. One thingâ€™s sure, if a DVD ever comes out with this footage, and Iâ€™m sure it will, Farrell could make, yet again, a pretty penny.
Photo: Tim Salhany Saturday, August 8th, 2009