Lollapalooza Day 1 Highlights: Paul McCartney’s Enchantment & Father John Misty’s Hangover Croon

“Chicago. Lollapalooza. I have a feeling we’re gonna have a great time tonight.” Whether it was a prophetic pronouncement or an obvious overstatement was irrelevant. Sir Paul brought the thunder to Grant Park and many of the 100,000 in attendance heeded the call. Topping off a sweltering day at our return to Lollapalooza was a folky toss-up with sarcastic tactician Father John Misty, a groovy early day stand out set from Glass Animals and a search for the characters in the audience that make this festival stand out every year.

The Macca Cometh: Paul McCartney

This was a neighborly affair. The reach of Paul McCartney’s influence and the range of his demographic have no conventional bounds. Everybody knows the work of Sir Paul, and everybody came out to sing along.

73, going on 17. What’s perhaps most intriguing about McCartney at this stage in his career is his seemingly undeterred passion for performing. What’s more, this run of festivals he’s been dominating over the last few years has provided ample opportunity for anyone to get a close view the living legend.

His voice rebounded remarkably from the early set off-key slump of The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Got To Get You Into My Life”.

“If you wonder why we’re changing guitars around all night it’s because we’ve got them and we’re showing off”, McCartney jested before strolling through a rallying “Paperback Writer” as a swarm of dragonflies hovered above.

As it was destined to be, this set was carried by those Paul Beatles hits that have rung through the ages: the delightful melancholy of “We Can Work It Out”, the boundless warmth of “Blackbird” (which he played solo on an elevated platform), and the honky-tonk magic of “Lady Madonna”. He paused a few times to comment on the imposing EDM fuckery that was bleeding from the Kaskade set over at Perry’s stage.

Every song was a monumental hit. McCartney growled out “Back In The U.S.S.R.,” rocked amongst pyro during Wings’ “Live And Let Die” and sent the massive crowd into dazed silence during “Hey Jude” until that indelible chorus. “Naaaaa naa naa na-na-na na.” So many bewildered eyes dotted the crowd, awash in the surreal circumstances of their present reality.

During the encore he was joined on stage by justifiably jubilant Alabama Shakes’ singer Brittany Howard for The Beatles’ “Get Back” before closing out the 2+ hour affair with a run including “Helter Skelter” and “Carry That Weight”.

Crooning Malcontent: Father John Misty

Josh Tillman looked visibly something. Whether it was hungover or sleep-deprived remains a mystery. Perhaps that apparent lack of lucidity is what led to the steady flow of comical, sarcastic candor that he wove into a tight one-hour mid-day set at the Palladia stage.

The Father’s brand of gloomy incantations is seemingly ill suited for festivals. He makes more sense in the dark. But he made the best of it. He goaded the audience constantly, trying to tease the sunbeat swell into life. “Sorry, my voice is gone. It’s depressing. I’m depressed” he jested before spinning to “you’re all on ecstasy anyway, so what does it matter.”

There are dichotomies to Tillman’s onstage persona. He’s aggressive in his sensitivity, a variance that was evident during set opener “I Love You Honeybear”. “Shh…my feelings” he later taunted. His indifference is intentional. Never was this more evident than when he shrugged his shoulders and sneered with perceived disinterest during a crushingly intimate “Bored In The U.S.A.”

He donned the electric and graced the audience with an emphatic “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” before closing out the bewildering yet gripping one hour set.


Doin’ It Right Award: Hippie Hula Girls


Nordic Pop-Tart

We popped in (and out with haste) for Swedish songstress Tove Lo. Enough said. 

Augmented Reality: Samsung’s Virtual Reality

Samsung is everywhere on the grounds in Grant Park, hooking festivalgoers up with charging stations, entertainment and shady lounge areas to chill when the sun just won’t quit. The Samsung Galaxy Experience offers up a chance to play in VR with their Galaxy S6. Samsung product owners who head in early and run the gamut of fun offerings the Galaxy Experience is offering on site might just find themselves with wristbands to The Owner’s Lounge, with free drinks and catering, shady hammocks, a chill elevated lounge area to view main-stage headliners, and a chance to try a VR setup which puts you onstage with the artists. Get all over that.

Put It Back On, Dude

Oozy Grooves: Glass Animals

British indie rockers Glass Animals were ecstatic to find themselves on the Lollapalooza main-stage in front of a formidable early afternoon crowd. Singer Dave Bayley was strapped to a guitar for most of the set, but he often found himself too busy to play it, opting instead to sway his shoulders, arms raised high, trying to conjure up a dance party. Mission accomplished. This one was for the ladies. Bayley’s charming vibrato was accompanied by sporadic screaming outbursts in the audience during “Psylla”. At 2:30PM we saw the first of what will inevitably be many pass-outs. Stay hydrated people.

This was the perfect mellow hip-shaking affair to get things going in the unrelenting heat. Bayley wandered to the far reaches of the stage to pull in the outer reaches of his people during “Gooey” while multi-instrumentalist Drew MacFarlane raised his guitar to the sky.

“Who’s excited to see Paul McCartney” Bayley asked before switching gears. “We’re gonna try a little cover in the spirit of Chicago” he announced before putting an oozy spin on “Love Lockdown”.

We’re lathered in sunscreen and putting on our finest duds to prepare for a massive day two that features sets from Metallica, Tame Impala, Death From Above 1979, Django Django and more. Stick with Crave for all the latest at Lolla!


All Photos: Rory Biller