Lollapalooza returned to Grant Park in Chicago once again for a weekend of music, and a lot of sun. Along with the usual packed crowds streaming into downtown, this year saw an uptick in surprise guests (hi, Chance the Rapper), and an easily observed increase in spiked seltzer sales. The headliners this year— which included Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, the Strokes and Tame Impala — were joined by a host of acts that could have taken the leading slots themselves, like Lil Wayne, Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Meek Mill, 21 Savage and Death Cab for Cutie. The four day festival didn’t miss any moments to get the crowds talking. Here are some of the highlights from the annual party.
The Strokes Reached a New Generation (Thursday, August 1st)
“Mothers and fathers old enough to witness the first wave of Strokes-mania stood next to their children, still singing stories of bathroom hookups, alcoholic benders, and one-night-stands,” wrote Charles Holmes of the band’s set. “There is nothing more awkward than Casablancas wailing the lyrics, ‘Yeah, we were just two friends in lust / And baby, that just don’t mean much,’ to a crowd filled with parents who sired their children under similar circumstances. In contrast, everyone under the age of 30 were only able to muster a shred of excitement when a song like the Guitar Hero-buoyed ‘Reptilia’ blasted across the grounds.” Read more.
Chance the Rapper Joins Death Cab for Cutie (Friday, August 2nd)
Chance the Rapper surprised fans with an appearance during Death Cab for Cutie’s set on Friday, where the rapper and singer Ben Gibbard reunited to perform their brand new Big Day collaboration, “Do You Remember.” “This is our first time ever performing this song and I think this might be a moment in history,” Chance told his hometown crowd before the Friday performance. Read more.
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Lil Wayne Performs His “Old Town Road” Remix (Friday, August 2nd)
The remix has been kicking around since mid-July, when a snippet of Lil Wayne’s version of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” leaked and the rapper started performing it on his co-headlining tour with Blink-182. After Lil Wayne’s contribution leaked in full earlier this week — with the rapper’s verses replacing Mason Ramsey’s vocals alongside Young Thug on the latest remix of the never-ending smash hit — he took it to the Lolla stage to perform in full. Read more.
Childish Gambino Joins 21 Savage for “Monster” (Friday, August 2nd)
21 Savage brought Childish Gambino onstage at Lollapalooza to perform his track “Monster,” which appears on the rapper’s 2018 album i am > i was. The duo gave a fast-talking, high-energy performance on the front of the stage, with Donald Glover wearing a neck brace and arm sling. The pair trade verses, with Glover spitting, “Me and Savage, we came from the dirt/ If you rappin’ for money, you silly/ This shit ain’t a milli’, this shit is a hundred/ The industry savage and most of you average.” The hard-hitting chorus brings the two together: “Power/ The money and the fame make a monster.” Read more.
Rosalía’s Star Is Born (Sunday, August 4th)
Decked in a mint green outfit, Rosalía seemed hellbent on working the crowd. She went a capella for stretches, doused herself with a water bottle while whipping her hair back and forth, and dynamically hit every mark with her dance team. By the time she got to songs like the Justin Timberlake-interpolating “BAGDAD – Cap.7: Liturgia” or “Con Altura,” multiple people merely passing by stopped to catch the set. It was the rare Lollapalooza crowd that grew in size over time, instead of dwindling.
Meek Mill Has More Fun Than Anyone Else Onstage (Sunday, August 4th)
As Meek stood in the middle of the Lollapalooza stage on Sunday night, he couldn’t stop smiling. The longer he stared out at the crowd, the more full his Cheshire grin grew. In the span of an hour, Meek tried to open up his first mosh pit for 2011’s “House Party” (a song that is decidedly not a mosh pit jam), simulated having sex with a blow-up doll he called “bad little white joint,” signed a fan’s jersey in the front row, and paused the show to touch hands with as many fans as he could. Read more.
Ariana Debuts “Boyfriend” Live (Sunday, August 4th)
Ariana Grande was joined by the duo Social House, who have been opening for her on the Sweetener World Tour, to perform her new single “Boyfriend” live for the first time. “That awkward moment when you get him to break up with his girlfriend and he still doesn’t want a girlfriend,” Grande says before launching into the track. While Grande sang the first verse of the song, Social House danced behind her before launching into their portions of the single.