Ah, Lollapalooza: that music festival in Chicago that seems to get bigger and bigger with each year that passes. Although the event began as a touring event in 1991, Lollapalooza has since become an annual gathering for music lovers in Chicago’s Grant Park. What has remained consistent with Lollapalooza is its goal to introduce people to music from across the world, and offering an experience that makes them want to return again and again. So, in honor of Lollapalooza 2015, we look back at a standout moment from the festival since 2005 (since that’s the year Lollapalooza moved to Chicago for good).
Lollapalooza Settles Down In Chicago (2005)
After being a cross-country event since its inception in 1991, Lollapalooza set up shop in Chicago’s Grant Park, and has been there ever since. The lineup featured headliners such as Billy Idol, Cake, Primus, the Pixies, and Weezer, as well as other groups like M83 and The Black Keys, who would achieve mainstream success years later.
Gnarls Barkley And The “Crazy” Epidemic (2006)
2006, a year of many notable moments in American pop culture. But the biggest one (arguably)? Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Accessible, easy to dance to, and a chorus that can still incite insanity at a party, the popular single turned Gnarls Barkley creators CeeLo Green and Danger Mouse into household names. So, it’s understandable that a good portion of the people at Lollapalooza 2006 were ready to sing the song alongside each other, while watching the masterminds behind the track performing it live. The anticipation was so high that even Jack White’s Raconteurs covered “Crazy” prior to Gnarls Barkley’s set the following day. Then the moment came: dressed in tennis whites, CeeLo, Danger Mouse, and their backing band played a memorable set that included, of course, “Crazy.” And it was nothing short of that.
The Daft Punk Pyramid Comes To Chicago (2007)
At this point in their career, Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007” tour is essentially their magnum opus, a moment in music that simultaneously foreshadowed and inspired contemporary EDM concerts. Their set at Lollapalooza 2007 is a testament to that, as the DJ duo played banger after banger inside a pyramid. A PYRAMID. There’s a reason why Daft Punk is celebrated as one of the best EDM groups to ever exist, crafting a sound and live experience that still gets talked about today.
Kanye West Returns ‘Stronger’ Than Ever (2008)
Kanye’s performance at Lollapalooza 2006 wasn’t that great, but to become a king and reach the masses takes time. The rapper successfully achieved mainstream success with his 2007 release, Graduation. Now with three albums under his belt, Yeezus made his return to Lollapalooza in 2008 and, well, owned every moment. Arrogant, earnest, and sad (he dedicated the performance to his mother, who had recently passed away), Kanye performed all of his hits, ending with “Stronger.” Little did we know that Kanye had barely begun to make his mark on rap music, and music in general.
If you read any review from Lollapalooza 2009, you’ll realize that a lot of people were there for Tool, that progressive metal rock hybrid that’s kind of an anomaly in music. After all, these are the guys that got the masses to fall in love with a song (“Schism”) that has a 6.5/8 time signature, and one of the creepiest music videos of the early 2000s. Anyways, the four-piece commanded the stage, their songs going into one another seamlessly. Screens connected to the stage displayed the music videos to the songs being performed, which the audience welcomed with cheers and dancing. Tool knows how to party, and once you get past the strange time signatures and surreal imagery, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get into them sooner.
Lady Gaga Becomes The Crowd-Surfing Queen Of Lollapalooza (2010)
Lady Gaga is punk as f*ck, and if that statement makes you feel some type of way, maybe you need a reminder of the moment she made Lollapalooza history in 2010. Four hours before performing on the festival’s main stage, the mainstream pop star made a surprise appearance during Semi-Precious Weapons’ set, grinding on lead singer Justin Tranter and stage-diving into the crowd wearing a pair of stilettos and a bodysuit. Gaga’s handlers successfully retrieved her, but she immediately broke free and went deeper into the audience. Legendary.
Coldplay Does Their First Lollapalooza (2011)
Everyone knows Coldplay. Whether you’ve cried to their music, sung “Yellow” to a potential bae, or had one of their many hits as your high school graduation song, everyone has had a Coldplay moment. But those in attendance for Lollapalooza 2011 were able to celebrate a special moment with the band, when they did their first ever performance at the festival. Mylo Xyloto, the group’s fifth album, hadn’t dropped yet, so when the band broke into songs from the forthcoming release, the crowd responded positively. But let’s keep it real, the fans were there for the hits, and Coldplay was more than willing to give them what they wanted.
Severe Thunderstorms Make A Guest Appearance (2012)
Lollapalooza 2012 was briefly postponed when heavy storms began to roll through Chicago. Festival organizers advised attendees to move to pre-determined evacuation zones, while afternoon sets from fun. and The Weeknd were rescheduled for later in the evening. Some bands, such as Alabama Shakes, weren’t as fortunate, losing their set altogether.
Death Grips Piss Off Their Fans (2013)
Death Grips was already in a #NoF*cks mood since 2012, and that mood continued throughout most of 2013 when the band began to cancel all of their shows for the latter half of the year. And it all began with a Lollapalooza “after party” the group never showed up to. Instead, fans were greeted by a suicide note from a fan, and a lone drum kit which was immediately destroyed. Some viewed it as a twisted example of performance art; some saw it for what it was (f*cked up). Regardless, it’s a moment that showed Death Grips follows its own rules, whether we like it or not.
Malia Obama Attends Lollapalooza (2014)
Another moment that proves that the Obama family is arguably one of the coolest families to ever take residence in the White House, President Obama’s oldest daughter, Malia Obama, came through Lollapalooza 2014 and low-key stole the show. Although the White House wouldn’t confirm Malia’s attendance, tweets and photographs showed that she was in fact there, and was ready to see Chance the Rapper’s set. See? Children of the president are just like us. They just want to see good live music (and may or may not have Secret Service guys protecting them).