Set List Bonus: Lollapalooza 2013 At Grant Park
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By Ramon Alvarez-Smikle
On Aug. 2 C3 Presents kicked off Chicago's biggest weekend in music: Lollapalooza 2013. The massive three-day event took over Grant Park in the heart of the Windy City and drew 250,000 music fans for performances by some of the biggest names in music, including the Cure, Mumford & Sons and Nine Inch Nails.
There was a huge amount of excitement in the crowd as some attendees arrived as early as 8 a.m. in an attempt to secure a front-row spot for their favorite band's set. At 11 a.m. the Star Wars theme began to play (a Lollapalooza tradition) and the gates finally opened as thousands of fans sprinted to find a spot in front of one of the eight stages.
Festival attendees were treated to fantastic mid-70s summer weather for the majority of the weekend, with the one exception being Friday morning during which there was a brief storm threat. However, a little rain didn't deter excited music fans and during a performance by Swedish duo Icona Pop on the Lake Shore stage, fans danced to their hit song "I Love It" while the rain poured. The other highlight of day one was a set by rising MC Chance The Rapper. The Chicago native drew a massive crowd as he played songs from both his mix tapes 10 Day and Acid Rap, including my personal favorite "Chain Smoker."
Other day one performers Steve Aoki, Lana Del Rey, the Killers, and Nine Inch Nails competed for music fans' attention and drew massive crowds. I was fortunate to catch the majority of the Killers' set, along with the last few minutes of an electrifying set by Dim Mak Records founder Aoki. The Killers played hits such as "Human" and "Somebody Told Me" as the crowd of nearly 20,000 danced and sang along.
As I entered Grant Park on Saturday at approximately 5 p.m. for day two, I was most excited to see Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers. With both bands performing in the same section of the park, but on adjacent stages, I was able to position myself in a great spot to catch both sets … a rarity at Lollapalooza. I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd participation during the Lumineers' set as the audience seemed to know every word to every song, often making it hard to hear the band. The Lumineers closed their set with "Big Parade." The crowd went crazy as their set concluded and excitement began building for Mumford & Sons' performance.
Mumford & Sons took the stage shortly after 8 p.m. to more than 40,000 people in the crowd. They opened with "Babel," much to the approval of the massive crowd, who danced and sang along. The energy of the crowd continued to build as Mumford & Sons played hits such as "I Will Wait" and "Lover Of The Light." As the band finished, they thanked the crowd and revealed that this was indeed the largest audience they had ever played to.
The final day of Lollapalooza came much too quickly. It was highlighted by DJ sets from Dog Blood (Skrillex and Boys Noize) along with the always-energetic Major Lazer (Diplo, Jillionaire, Walshy Fire) on Perry's stage. Headliners included Phoenix and the Cure. The latter performed classics such as "Friday I'm In Love" and "Lovesong" much to the delight of the crowd.
Overall, the weekend couldn't have come to a better conclusion, and truly represented the finest weekend in music for Chicago.
(Ramon Alvarez-Smikle works as the GRAMMY U representative for The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter. He has interviewed artists such as M83, Toro Y Moi and Porter Robinson, among others. He has been published on many online blogs and websites over the past year, including GRAMMY.com.)