Our friends at Chicago station WXRT are doing full Live at Lollapalooza coverage all weekend long, including show reviews, photo galleries, and video and audio clips from exclusive backstage interviews and performances. Below is a Day One recap from WXRT’s Marty Lennartz, along with links to photo galleries, interviews, and more!
As usually happens when covering the action at The XRT Backstage Broadcast Compound at Lollapalooza, I don’t get out much. Day one brought a steady stream of artists playing the fest. From an early afternoon chat with Mark, Bob1 and Bob2 from Devo, to an inspiring conversation with the great Mavis Staples, as well as our annual sit down with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, I was kept pretty busy during most of the day’s stage activities.
I do get out at night though and after navigating the tight security and backstage lockdown that preceded the arrival of Lady Gaga (in a black-ops-like SUV with tinted windows, no less), I was able to escape to the opposite end of Grant Park for the return of The Strokes. But before I left I marveled at the size of Lady GG’s crowd. I thought the other end would be relatively empty. Not the case. It seemed the Strokes had just as large a crowd. Grant Park had to be one of the five largest cities in the state at 8:30pm Friday.
So Gaga was wowing them with the largest and most expensive extravaganza in Lollapaloza history down south, up on the north end with The Strokes, it was pretty much just five guys playing some of the best rock songs of the past decade–with little more than a screen that projected a Pong game, though making up for the lack of spectacle with oceans of swagger and confidence.
The band sauntered on to the stage a little late–but they’re always a little late. I remember once waiting until 2am for a show at Metro, so 8:45pm wasn’t so bad.
And what better way to kick off their biggest show ever in Chicago than by blasting through “New York City Cops” and segueing right into “Modern Age”?
It might have been pop-star veneer across the park, but where we stood, it was pure authentic rock stardom. Casual cool, for sure. Julian didn’t say much, and when he did speak it was stuff like, “Hey Chicagpolooza! I’ve been waiting months to say that.” (He might need a stage banter consultant.)
But with a string of songs we pretty much all know and haven’t heard live in years, keeping the talk to a minimum was perfectly acceptable.
“Someday”, “Reptilia” and “Last Night” (with the retro video game projections) all made us remember how this band brought that classic NYC rock sound back in a big way, and helped set the scene for the indie-rock explosion of the past 10 years.
One of the best rock shows at Lollapalooza in recent memory and a great return to the stage by a band who influenced many and a fitting capper to a long Day One.
Links to even more photo galleries: