Over the years, Lollapalooza has hosted its fair share of acts that could fill the entire Grant Park field, but when Chance The Rapper headed home to take the top spot on Saturday, literally every single blade of grass was covered until the very last stair step. Considering he played the very same festival to a mere smattering of fans on a small stage just two years ago (and graduated to a more desirable slot in 2016), it was a testament to his grassroots approach spreading like wildfire.
No, the south side native’s life might not even remotely resemble the days of relative obscurity and popping up at open mics now that he’s snagged a case of Grammy, BET, Soul Train and iHeartRadio Music Awards, but he used that down-to-earth approach to make a completely unscripted headline set seem intimate. The entirely DIY Chance The Rapper was no sell out on the world’s stage and his longtime listeners seemed to appreciate the local hero all the more for staying real, but his decision to drop a track, assess the flow, talk for a bit, get choked up and then tap into another tune definitely had more curious onlookers ducking out early.
It was an unusual method for an event of this magnitude that lost steam fairly often, but the enormous amount of appreciators who stuck around to hear the rest of Chance The Rapper were treated to some extraordinarily hopeful rap, hip-hop, R&B, gospel and pop from “Coloring Book” and “Acid Rap” with advice from a man much wiser than his 24 years.
It was an unusual method for an event of this magnitude that lost steam fairly often, but the enormous amount of appreciators who stuck around were treated to some extraordinarily hopeful rap, hip-hop, R&B, gospel and pop from “Coloring Book” and “Acid Rap” with advice from a man much wiser than his 24 years. “You guys have all the power in the world,” he shouted. “I don’t give a f— who it is, put pressure on the politicians to put you first.”
By the time “Cocoa Butter Kisses” rolled around, Chance teamed with his fellow Chicagoan and frequent collaborator Vic Mensa, also covering the former’s “Didn’t I (Say I Didn’t)” and verbally adding “fame will take you a lot of places, but don’t let it take you away from fam.” Another notable feature came from Francis And The Lights, who conjured up ghosts of Peter Gabriel in his prime as the pair traded steps and shout-outs during “May I Have This Dance.”“Same Drugs” and a reprise of “Blessings” kept the grooves flowing from the club to the church, and at some point throughout it all, a “Praise Chance” sign flashed on the jumbrotron. Given such a humble and spiritual attitude, he’d probably shrug off such a grand statement, but when he suggested “the only thing more dangerous than a strong person is a fearless person,” it was evident this particular rapper was willing more than willing to lead the charge.
Almost as monumental, at least for those who wanted to reconnect with the grungy side of the alt-rock era, was a reunion of all the original Live members after a seven-year schism. However, any previous acrimony was entirely erased by the time Ed Kowalczyk and company tore through the classics “Selling The Drama,” “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes” (plus Audioslave’s “I Am The Highway” in honor of Chris Cornell) sounding like a carbon copy of the “Throwing Copper” era, but with a prevailing sense of thankfulness for getting a second chance.Also along the rock dial, Royal Blood drummed up a mighty roar as just a duo, expertly morphing blues, garage, psychedelic and heavy elements with a set that split the difference between 2014’s self-titled debut and the brand new “How Did We Get So Dark?” Shortly before, Colony House turned in a hook-laden, aggressive approach to indie/alt-rock with a hint of southern influence, while unveiling the nuts and bolts behind its national debut “Only The Lonely.”
Banks did a bang up job prior to Chance The Rapper with her a sultry voice, striking songs, cutting edge chorography and a generally entrancing vibe behind her cocktail of alternative R&B, trip hop and electropop. And Lollapalooza regulars alt-J kept the throngs engaged with its left of center but generally likeable indie rock and folktronica flavors that contributed to the south end of the mammoth fest getting the most foot traffic its seen all weekend.
Lollapalooza takes place at Grant Park through Sun. Aug. 6. For additional details, visit Lollapalooza.com.
For additional information on Chance The Rapper, visit ChanceRaps.com.