Lollapalooza 2015 Day 2 Review & Recap: Metallica Shreds, Sam Smith Serenades, More
The second day of Lollapalooza, one of the biggest music festivals in the United States and the gem of the Midwest scene, continued on Saturday night in Chicago with huge performances from Metallica, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and more. This is the second in a series of recaps from correspondent Ryan Book.
12:00: As predicted, crowds are slimmer come noon on Saturday. Jessica Hernandez and her band, The Deltas, thanks the crowd for showing up, despite the hangovers, for their sultry, blues set. Temperatures are lower today, but stay hydrated regardless.
12:55: Raury has the most extensive delay of the festival thus far, perhaps due to the stage crew potentially having problems tuning a keytar. The 19-year-old upstart quickly prevents the crowd from getting too worked up with his energetic set, full of positive energy. As you may have guessed from the aforementioned keytar, his band is one of the most entertaining of the festival, despite not having their names on the bill.
1:15: It's gonna be tough to top this outfit: Six dudes, wearing matching white suits, clearly a reference to Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" music video. The gang even mimics Bruno Mars and company's swagger, walking down the festival's main stretch six-across.
1:45: In a perplexing moment, Zella Day performs its own soundcheck. We can report that it does take away from an act's mystique when it's onstage before a performance. The crowd is entertaining to observe at the Pepsi Stage: There's an open, sunny area surrounded by a ring of trees...the hardcore fans are grouped densely near the stage, like the sun, while the more casual listeners gather at the back, like an asteroid field orbiting those at the front.
2:15: Three basketball teams are strongly represented by jerseys this year: The Chicago Bulls (duh), the Toronto Raptors (why? Canada? The color purple? Sponsorship from Drake?) and...The Toon Squad from Space Jam.
2:30: We're sorry we weren't there for this...reports suggest that Travi$ Scott's set was shut down after fans rushed the stage.
3:00: Charli XCX has drawn the biggest midday crowd of the festival thus far and she does right by them, leading a massive singalong of "I Love It" (made famous by Icona Pop, but written by XCX) and by playing a massive, inflatable bass guitar during "Breaking Up."
3:51: Charli DOES perform "Fancy," featuring recorded vocals from Iggy Azalea, while XCX sings her hook and bridge. That makes this the second year in a row that we've heard the song, as Azalea sang it during 2014.
4:26: Blown away by what Jesse Keeler manages to do with just a standard bass. We imagine the founding of the band went something like this: Sebastien Grainger: "Are you sure it wouldn't be easier to do with a regular guitar?" Keeler: "Nope. Four-string bass." Grainger, drummer and vocalist, enjoys today's Samsung Stage lineup, suggesting that Death From Above 1979 plus Tame Impala equals Metallica.
4:42: A blimp advertising Hendrick's Gin has been circling Grant Park for hours. The text is difficult to read because of the sun, however the giant, glaring eye pasted on the aircraft is much easier to pick out.
5:00: Good to see Walk The Moon guitarist Eli Maiman wearing a "Cincinnati, Ohio" shirt. Your correspondent is horribly biased toward how hometown and how few people realize the number of bands that descend from there, including The National, half of The Raconteurs, Foxy Shazam and more.
5:33: Frontman Nicholas Petricca gives a short sermon on not judging others for, among other things, what they wear. We're not as good of people as he is: Don't wear T-shirts for the band you're here to see.
6:00: Samsung Stage security has decided the best bet for safety is to have photographers stand along the crowd barrier while V.I.P. guests travel across the photo pit to wherever their special place is. Tame Impala's set isn't too wild, as the crowd relaxes on the wave of psychedelic rock the band plays for its hour, but it's gonna be tough for journalists to be catching bodies during Metallica's set, where crowd-surfing is guaranteed.
6:22: Our sister-in-law (age 14) informs us that Louis Tomlinson of One Direction is confirmed in attendance and we should try to hunt him down. We cross our fingers and promise we'll keep an eye out.
8:10: While waiting to get into the photo pit for Metallica, we notice a huge mob of fans waiting to get into the backstage area. Although was assume the band has plenty of friends-and it does-the crowd is later seen standing at the back of the stage while the soundcheck is done, and they'll remain there for the rest of the evening. The band comes on a bit late but instantly kicks into high gear with "Fuel."
8:30: Ooh...#journalistproblems. Your correspondent needs to get to the other side of Grant Park for Sam Smith's set at 8:45 (and we've seen Metallica a handful of times), when the headliner begins "Disposable Heroes," a Master of Puppets classic that we've never heard them play live before. We buckle down for the eight-minute epic and then run toward the Bud Light Stage as soon as it ends.
8:45: There were questions whether Smith's act was of such a size that he could hold down the second headliner slot at Lollapalooza. It's obvious during the opener, "You're Not The Only One," that the crowd has his back, and his lyrics memorized.
9:20: One issue with such a fresh act performing in a headlining role is whether they can put together enough music to fill an hour-fifteen. Lorde, despite playing her entire discography last year, left stage about 10 minutes early. Smith's backing vocalists come to the rescue, performing a medley of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and Chic's "Le Freak." Smith himself would return and eventually cover Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love."
10:00: Metallica and Smith finish at the same time, and on totally different notes. The crooner, of course, wraps up with his smash "Stay With Me," while the metal icons opt for its own hit, "Enter Sandman." It will be a while before fans will be able to get home and consider going to sleep and/or staying with anybody.
10:10: As we exit the north side of the park, suddenly a chorus of Biz Markie's hook for "Just A Friend" starts up from the crowd as it shuffles out. The next round is louder, and by the fourth go-round, the entire crowd is spontaneously singing the late '80s hit.
10:45: Not to sound pessimistic, but weather reports are looking problematic for Sunday. Some are suggesting heavy rains, while others are warning that tornado-type conditions are possible. The last two Lollapaloozas that your correspondent has attended have both had massive storms on the final day (2011 and 2014)...let's hope that's the worst of it. Stay tuned for updates.