Lollapalooza Thursday Recap


Photo by Callie Craig | Travis Scott

If you took any public transportation today, you probably know that Lollapalooza has returned to take over Grant Park for the long weekend. All day, crowds of festival-goers boarded buses and trains headed downtown with their sights set on the performances ahead. While it may have inconvenienced a fair deal of commuters, the first day of the four-day affair was a fitting premiere to what looks like a promising event.

All Time Low is magnetic

With the sun beating down, All Time Low emerged onto the stage to applause from the packed crowd. The four-piece band immediately amplified the energy of the audience, all the while creating a friendly rapport with their fans. As they stood on the stage sponsored by the vodka brand Tito’s, the band joked that they “called dibs” on it as soon as they heard there was a “vodka stage.” This statement was followed a few songs later by the lead singer Alex Gaskarth requesting to change it to a “water stage” once the heat started to take its toll.

Their presence on stage drew in almost everyone within earshot. Festival-goers walking by would often pause with curiosity as they made their way to the nearby Bud Light stage. And they wouldn’t leave. All Time Low’s hour-long set was more than enough time for them to pull in as many fans as possible. Toward the end of their set, Gaskarth joked that it “feels pretty good to play in Fall Out Boy’s hometown” to which the crowd erupted into laughter.

They ended precisely on time, not a minute over 5 p.m. Almost immediately, Rebelution took to the stage nearby to ensure that the most northern part of the grounds was never devoid of music.

Rebelution wants to ‘reggae-fy’ Lolla

Opening with their hit song “Feeling Alright,” the California-based band instantly altered the mood of the crowd. As the guys performed some of their most famous songs, the large monitors on both sides of the stage provided a unique opportunity for attentive fans. Through the bright green lens’ on lead singer Eric Rachmany’s sunglasses, the reflection of the sprawling sea of reggae fans could be seen from the point of view of the stage.

Additionally, Rebelution showcased one of the best outfits of the day. The trumpeter, Zach Meyerowitz, donned a white t-shirt with an illustration of former president Barack Obama dunking a basketball in a position similar to the iconic “Air Jordan” logo. It was a welcome and comical addition to Meyerowitz’s impressive performance.

The crowd was typical of a reggae concert: some were laying in the grass, others dancing in circles with their arms outstretched like the wings of an airplane. All the while Rebelution played music emblematic of their overall message of happiness and peace including their songs “De-Stress” and “Celebrate.” It was then that Rachmany announced their goal for

the day: to “reggae-fy” Lollapalooza, as this year’s lineup leans heavily toward hip-hop. If you ask anyone that watched their set, they’ll likely surmise that they accomplished their mission.

Khalid’s energized debut

Only a few short hours later, 20-year-old Khalid made his Lollapalooza debut with a set filled with all the youth and energy that you would expect from someone so new. Dressed in a simple white t-shirt tucked into grey pants, Khalid jumped around the stage with his backup dancers, a wide smile always present on his face.

The crowd that showed up for him was one of the largest of the day with many of the fans older than the star himself. But that only further highlighted Khalid’s youth. He seemed filled with happiness in the moments he was on stage, joking and laughing with his backup dancers between songs.

After an energy filled performance of “Another Sad Love Song,” Khalid played the first song he ever wrote, making further evident just how far his career has come in such a short time.

A little over halfway through the set, a large group of fans had a decision to make: to stay or to walk to the nearby stage where rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie was set to start. A decent amount of Lolla goers chose the latter; I did the same.

A Boogie mixes things up

Under the cover of trees, fans filed in as the final soundchecks took place on stage. As the crowd settled in, A Boogie wit da Hoodie burst out onto the stage in a red Adidas tracksuit. Instead of playing a set comprised entirely of his most popular hits, he chose to highlight some of today’s most popular hits and throwbacks, regardless of who the artist was.

This included DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win,” Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams,” and Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.” In addition to highlighting hip-hop from other artists, he also paid special attention to the fans that have followed him from the beginning. Devoted fans were rewarded for their years of support when he focused another large part of his set to songs off of his first mixtape.

For many, A Boogie was a delicious appetizer to what was expected to be a legendary main course from Travis Scott. They were right.

Travis Scott: The People’s Rapper

Travis Scott was able to once again remind us why he is an artist for the people. While his musical ability and presence on stage is virtually unmatched, it’s the other time he spends, not performing, that highlight why he is such a unique artist.

Scott stopped his show four times over the course of an hour. First, he cut the music to urge the crowd to spread out down the middle. Motioning with his hands like Moses parting the Red Sea, he encouraged his audience to create a gap. Only then did the crowd realize why. “Safety, medical, get in there,” he said into the mic. “There’s two people. Help them out, help them out, help them out.” It wasn’t until those fans were taken care of to his liking that he started the show up again.

Two songs later, another pause. As security attempted to handle a man trying to hop the fence to get on stage, Scott instead encouraged them to let him share the stage with him. When he jumped up, excited about his 15 minutes of fame, the first thing he did was try to take a selfie much to the chagrin of the rapper. Scott then emphasized that he “hates phones” and the fan jumped back into the crowd.

A short while later, another fence jumper was brought on stage. This time with an outcome much better than the first. Scott hands him the microphone, the man drops to his knee, brings out a ring, and shouts the name of his girlfriend waiting for him in the crowd. The next 10 minutes consisted of a crowd-wide effort to get his fiance-to-be to the stage. Following the successful proposal, Scott regained control of the microphone and said “Oh my God. That was some crazy shit. It’s beautiful tonight, I just got the chills.”

After that, Scott continued on with his set playing some of his most well-known hits including “Butterfly Effect” and “goosebumps” only to stop again to remind the VIP section that they’re expected to be just like the rest of his fans: “ragers.”

Accompanied by psychedelic visuals on the two massive screens on the sides of the stage, Travis Scott was able to reinforce his status as a hip-hop powerhouse while still reminding us that at the core of it all, music is better experienced together.