With five years between projects and four since mounting a major tour, The Killers finally came out of hibernation on Friday at Lollapalooza. Armed with a field-filling light show and jumbotrons that flashed atmospheric images, the Las Vegas-based band were clearly on a mission to reclaim its place as one of today’s most dynamic live acts, and for 90 non-stop minutes, the alternative rockers more than accomplished that mission.
Given the emphasis on the past ten-plus years rather than overly focusing on the present also allowed the considerable but not entirely cramped masses to realize the fertility of The Killers’ catalogue…
It all began with “The Man,” a preview from The Killers’ fifth studio album “Wonderful Wonderful” (due September 22) that found the fellas tapping right back into their danceable delights with a slick glam sheen to set the tone for the “Direct Hits” parade that followed. Given the emphasis on the past ten-plus years rather than overly focusing on the present also allowed the considerable but not entirely cramped masses to realize the fertility of the players’ catalogue, including synthpop standouts “Somebody Told Me” and “Spaceman” right on up to the all-out anthem “Mr. Brightside.”Just prior to The Killers, Swedish trip hop/indietronica quartet Little Dragon bundled together striking beats with alluring colors and costumes that delighted die-hards, while reeling in a respectable amount of random passers. A little earlier, dreamy electro rockers Phantogram turned in a similarly hypnotic set, accompanied by a much-needed olive branch of empathy and support for anyone battling mental illness.
It was equally inspirational to see Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, who bravely battled leukemia and continues to display resilience with contagious piano pop well beyond Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate. Fellow veteran Ryan Adams also cranked up the guitars as he tore through about two decades of straight up rock and folk that climaxed with “Shakedown On 9th Street,” but after realizing he ended the originally scheduled program a few minutes too early, the troubadour treated everyone to the impromptu “Magnolia Mountain.”
While it’s unclear if Foster The People had extreme drawing power or if people were simply posting up to see Blink-182, the alternative dance act took advantage of their platform to not only namecheck Lollapalooza as being a landmark festival in the group’s development, but to celebrate diversity and urge unity. Iceland’s Kaleo also came out swinging, winning over the uninitiated thanks to a psychedelic/blues rock spread and front man JJ Julius Son’s bulldozer of a voice that may have been the most magnetic of the 2017 edition thus far.
Lollapalooza takes place at Grant Park through Sun. Aug. 6. For additional details, visit Lollapalooza.com.