Review and photo by: Dillon McKeever
Started in 1991, Lollapalooza has grown to be one of the top music festivals worldwide. Conceived by Jane’s Addiction’s front man Perry Farrell, the festival started as a farewell tour for his band and has turned into an annual three-day music festival in Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park. Since its revival in 2003, Lolla takes place not only in Chicago, but also in Santiago, Chile, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Tel-Aviv, Israel starting in 2013. Many artists and bands have passed through the Lollapalooza stages, and each year the shows and names get bigger and bigger. Featuring dozens of acts every year, the performances have ranged from small local bands to names like Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Deadmau5, Nine Inch Nails, and Lady Gaga.
Day 3 of Lollapalooza was a bittersweet but exciting day. Covered in glitter and mud from the previous day, Groove Editor Lisa Occhino and I made our way to the north end of Grant Park to see one of my personal favorites, Florence + The Machine. We pushed our way through the thousands of people in attendance to try and get a decent view of the stage, and just as we arrived, the music to “If Only for a Night” began. We walked hand in hand through the crowd as that unmistakable voice rang through the park. We stood on our toes and still couldn’t see a thing. We walked through thicker and thicker crowds until we finally found a suitable spot. Finally we could see her standing there, the one and only Florence Welch. She took over the stage in a red and black gown that flew behind her in the wind as she finished her first song. The crowd went nuts as we all waited hungrily for the next song. As the show went on, everyone was constantly wowed by her powerful voice and breathtakingly spiritual presence on stage. It felt as if she was singing to each and every individual person watching her. The love and the music were contagious as it coursed through the ears and hearts of her fans. Not a single note or beat was missed, even as she ran through the crowd and all across the stage. Flo was unstoppable. We watched, danced, and sang our way through a set list that included “Breath of Life,” “Cosmic Love,” “Shake It Out,” and of course “The Dog Days Are Over.” After 12 amazing songs, the show finally ended. The band left the stage and the crowd moved onto the next show, but for me the music never ended. The whole performance stuck in my head for the entire day. It was an experience that only Florence could deliver, and it was one of the biggest highlights of the whole festival.
After Florence + The Machine, we made our way over to the opposite end of Grant Park to catch glimpses of Kaskade and Jack White, who blasted throughout as the final headlining act of the festival. With his iconic guitar shredding and adrenaline-pumping sound, he played such hits as “Blue Blood Blues,” “Take Me With You When You Go,” and “Sixteen Saltines.” As the sun set over the amazing Chicago skyline, we danced our heart outs and lived as if there was no tomorrow.
With the last note of “Seven Nation Army,” the crowd roared with excitement and sadness. Lollapalooza was over. Thousands walked home, to buses, trains, and cars, singing, dancing, and drunk. Lollapalooza was a stunning success. 141 bands. 300,000 fans. Zero dull moments. Lollapalooza may be over for 2012, but the music will never end.