In its tenth year at Chicago, Lollaplooza welcomed over 100 bands, hundreds of thousands of fans and a number of surprises over the course of three days. As the festival continues to expand into a more mainstream affair with Perry’s tent — no longer a tent but rather a stage that has helped usher in EDM and hip-hop acts — and broad appeal headliners, which have included major pop acts and classic rockers, there’s still room to shock or shake things up. This year was no different as Eminem brought out Rihanna, President Obama’s daughter was spotted in the crowd, and Nas and Outkast relived the ‘90s.
Rihanna Joins Eminem on Stage
As the opening night’s headliner, Eminem had the pressure of kicking off three days of music. While everyone was openly hoping for a reunion with him and mentor Dr. Dre, Eminem called upon his upcoming tour co-headliner, Rihanna, to join him on stage. The singer performed a medley of duets and caused a Twitter storm from excited fans.
Malia Obama Rocks Out to Lorde
Making the rounds at concerts this summer — she attended Beyonce and Jay Z’s On the Run tour — Malia Obama was spotted in the crowd during Lorde’s performance on Friday. While not officially confirmed by the White House, several fans saw Malia as she enjoyed her last summer before heading off to college rocking out to Lorde’s stellar Lollapalooza debut.
J chillin with Malia Obama?? pic.twitter.com/IuM0A88g9B
— Sarah (@cleaaaaver) August 4, 2014
R. Kelly Makes a Cameo Appearance
Not to be outdone by Rihanna and Eminem, Chance the Rapper — a local favorite of Chicago — brought out surprise guest R. Kelly for a trio of hits (“Bump n Grind,” “Ignition,” and “The World’s Great”). Thanks to the rapper and Kells, fans were reminded that Lollapalooza is a Chicago event.
Photo: Max Herman/Lollapalooza
Outkast Did Not Suck
Leading up to Lollapalooza, the year’s last major summer music festival, Outkast was not overwhelming fans with their return to the stage. The duo blasted off with “B.O.B.” and kept the energy high with “Hey Ya” and other hits. Backed by a full band, including horns and backup singers, the duo took note of Kanye West’s headlining performance from 2006 and brought back the ‘90s if only for one night.
Joe Jonas Spins
While not an official Lollapalooza event, Joe Jonas spun records at the Hard Rock Hotel during the property’s The Sound of Your Stay after-party serving as Lykke Li’s opening act. Fans of the Jonas Brothers would have been surprised to see this solo Joe rock a mix of classic hip-hop. The Jonas Brothers are definitely a thing of the past.
Photo: Matt Reeves
Blood Orange Gets Assaulted
In an unexpected twist of drama backstage, Dev Hynes, lead singer of Blood Orange, and his girlfriend Samantha were assaulted by security. While not official Lollapalooza staff, the guards were part of the several private companies hired by the festival to help with safety. Hynes took to Twitter to report the incident and claimed he was going to press charges.
Floral Headbands Are Still “a Thing”
Even though Lana Del Rey was not part of the festival lineup, diehard drunk college girls channeled her flowery aura with floral headbands, high-waisted cut-offs and plenty of bad life choices. The style, a thing of 2013 festival circuit, managed to survive another year as packs of would-be sorority girls stormed Chicago with flowery menace prompting one cousin to text, “It’s like Woodstock in the 1980s around here.”
Photo: Greg Noire/Lollapalooza
Ed Westwick Shows Off His Arm-Candy
The former Gossip Girl star returned to Lollapalooza sans ex-girlfriend Jessica Schzor and sans any familiar GG look. The actor showed off a gruffer side, sporting tattoos, scruff, and a buff Mark Salling as his festival partner-in-crime. Of course he was not the only celebrity in attendance. Spotted on the grounds and around Chicago were that guy from That ’70s Show, Sophia Bush, Kellan Lutz, Michael Pena, Jennie Garth, and Josh Henderson.
Nas Does Illmatic
In what turned out to be a nostalgic weekend, Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Illmatic album by performing a number of cuts from the landmark album. For anyone doubting the rapper’s still got it was squarely put in their place.
Beyonce Drops a Flawless Remix
While most fans and media were focused on Outkast’s headliner performance on Saturday night, Beyonce herself pulled another surprise by dropping a new remix of “***Flawless” featuring Nicki Minaj. The remix not only included a sample of the rap duo’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” but a direct mention of the elevator fight involving her husband Jay Z and sister Solange.
Toothless Ryan Gosling Terrifies Fans
One of the best parts of Lollapalooza is observing all the signs that groups employee to stay together — last year’s highlights included a Jewish penguin and Honey Boo Boo. This year, things were taken to a new level with Gary Busey, a coordinated selection of Bill Murray heads that spanned the actor’s entire filmography, and a terrifying toothless Ryan Gosling. Seriously, it ruined Ryan Gosling.
EDM Takes Over
It’s official. Perry’s tent is no longer an obscure stage tucked into the middle of Lollapalooza. It’s a full-blown stage with an open invitation to EDM and hip-hop acts to expand the dance genre’s takeover of the festival. With Calvin Harris and Skrillex sharing headlining duty over the weekend and the expansion of Perry’s,
Lollapalooza is a shadow of its former “alternative rock self” — not that it’s a bad thing. If festivals want to truck in masses of college-aged fans then they better keep the club music going. Acts like Iggy Azalea, Duke Dumont, and Zedd commanded a huge presence with bass-heavy playlists and offered no apologies for subjecting unsuspecting parents to a fraternity-like party on the quad in what felt like something that should have ended in streaking.
Photo: Reagan Hackleman/Lollapalooza