Lollapalooza 2008 (Roger Kisby/Getty Images)
During the three-day festival (August 1-3), concertgoers braved the sweltering heat in Chicago’s Grant Park to take part in the festival. Sandwiched between downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, Grant Park affords beautiful views of the cityscape and water.
On Friday, post punk duo The Kills kicked things off with a tough set of minimalist punk songs. Singer Alison Mossheart strutted her stuff around stage in a leopard-print blouse as she sang and blasted out distorted guitar riffs. They were folled by NYC gypsy rockers Gogol Bordello, who whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their unique blend of Eastern European folk music and punk. The wild stage antics of Ukrainian born singer Eugene Hutz provided the the crowd with a much needed energy boost after a long, hot afternoon.
Lolla veterans Radiohead closed out the first day with a set on Friday night. The event coordinators wisely did not schedule any other bands at the same time as Radiohead‘s set, and the result was a record crowd size of around 80,000 for the UK band. Radiohead played through many of the songs off their recently released album In Rainbows, while also mixing in older songs like “The Bends,” “Idioteque” and “Paranoid Android.” They sounded tight as ever, reminding everyone of the intricate musicianship that goes into their recordings.
Dr. Dog restarted the show on Saturday with their breezy blend of rock and ’60s-era pop–a perfect early afternoon hangover cure for those worn out from the night before.
Saturday night saw competing sets from two of the festivals heavyweights, Rage Against the Machine and Wilco. Rage Against the Machine delivered a loud, high energy set of their politically charged rock songs, while, across the park, hometown heroes Wilco played a more subdued–though no less captivating–set featuring many of their classics like “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” and “Pot Kettle Black.”
Sunday headliners Kanye West and Nine Inch Nails closed out Lollapalooza in top form. After a disappointing Bonaroo performance earlier that summer, Kanye completely redeemed himself with a stellar set. It seemed as though all the criticisms of him Bonaroo show had been heard and taken into account for his Lolla set–he was on time, he interacted with the audience, and he played with a live band.
Nine Inch Nails brought their dark, industrial show to an enormous scale for their show, with huge LCD screens lighting up the park and smoke machines creating a brooding atmosphere onstage. Trent Reznor proved that even after all these years, he and his songs still hold a lot of power. Though they came out almost 20 years earlier, songs like “Head Like a Hole” and “Closer” still resonated.
All week, MP3.com shines a Spotlight on Lollapalooza. The 20th anniversary festival takes place this weekend in Chicago’s Grant Park.