The Saturday edition of Lollapalooza’s 25th birthday bash was by far its grandest and also the most skillfully curated balance between looking back and forging forward. Leading the marathon pack were alternative rock/funk legends the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who easily had the audience edge over synthpoppers Disclosure (even with red hot status on today’s charts and a tremendous live reputation).
Also ageless in the musical and visual department were Jane’s Addiction, who besides boasting an equally historic alternative rock legacy are the very bedrock of the entire Lollapalooza experience.
Sure, Anthony Kiedis, Flea and the fellas have been in the game since the ‘80s, but hammered with the hunger of up-and-comers from the opening onslaught of “Can’t Stop,” “Dani California” and “Scar Tissue” through the final encore of “Give It Away.” In between, the guys whipped up a cyclone of hits (“Otherside,” “Californication,” “Under The Bridge,” “By The Way”) with classic-minded new cuts (“Dark Necessities,” “Go Robot,” “Goodbye Angels”), hearkening back to the glory days of the fest without ever coming across as the slightest bit nostalgic.
Also ageless in the musical and visual department were Jane’s Addiction, who besides boasting an equally historic alternative rock legacy are the very bedrock of the entire Lollapalooza experience. Despite the lack of new material, the theatrical players and their sexually suggestive dancers pummeled through 1990’s iconic “Ritual de lo habitual,” while also inviting Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave’s Tom Morello out for “Mountain Song” and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin to kept beat come the sing-a-long “Jane Says.”
Speaking of Morello, he also gave a growling electric guitar boost to the already aggressive X Ambassadors on the volatile “Collider” after praising the organizers for their ongoing commitment to diversity. In keeping with those themes of variety and unity, Big Boi and Phantogram united for the experimental hip hop act Big Grams, interspersing individual offerings with material from the group’s self-titled EP).
The potpourri of material further extended to country singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton, who after writing for literally every major player in the genre has played a sizable role in rescuing the style from being completely hijacked by the meathead bros. In addition to his articulate storytelling and fiery axe slinging, Stapleton’s soulfully southern gravel was a welcome anomaly and one could only wonder how much stronger he would’ve been in a whiskey-selling saloon just a few hours later in the night.
Just as impressive at the crossroads of gospel, R&B and vintage soul was Leon Bridges, whose velvety voice and inspirational narratives more than spoke for themselves. In fact, Sunday came a day early as the troubadour took onlookers to church with revival-like fervor sure to have shaken even the weariest out of their afternoon stupor.
Click here for more day three photos of Lollapalooza at Grant Park.