Lollapalooza 2012, day two red hot with a touch of rain
Day two of Lollapalooza was cut in two by a huge mid-afternoon thunderstorm that ripped through the city. The storm was so ominous, the festival grounds had to be evacuated until the rain passed. That’s no easy task given that some 100,000 people of various ages and in various states of lucidity are involved. While there was a fair amount of confusion as to which exits could be utilized, for the most part patrons peacefully made their way to the exits and hung out at the various restaurants, bars, and hotel lobbies until the rain stopped. The drenching, however, meant that when festival gates reopened, the fields were muddy pools. The flip-flop- and sandal-sporting-concertgoers (who returned smelling not-so-sweetly, but in droves) had to be careful to not lose their shoes while traipsing through the muck. (Check out our photos of the Lolla muck and mainstages here.)
The rain delay didn’t deter most fans, and headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers played to a packed field on the Red Bull Soundstage, opening with “Monarchy of Roses” and then playing a set that included a handful of tunes from this year’s I’m With You and a slew of past hits such as “Can’t Stop” and “Suck My Kiss.” The band clearly fed off the energy of the rowdy crowd, though bassist Flea encouraged everyone to “be nice.” The band’s funk-punk sounded sharp, especially as the shirtless bassist launched into a ferocious, head-bobbing solo to open up “Around the World.”
We stayed for about half the Peppers’ set before heading over to catch some of R&B singer Frank Ocean’s performance. The singer’s voice sounded great – he has an old school soul approach – but his material felt a little too low-key for the festival setting and the R-rated lyrics to a song like “Novacane” simply came off as gratuitous and insipid. From there, we went to see some of Avicii’s set. The Swedish DJ performed atop a giant structure built to resemble a human head, and he had a tremendous light show. But his house and trance beats didn’t hold our attention despite the compelling visuals.
Other highlights from the day included a performance by LP, the female singer-songwriter who had a young Bob Dylanish look about her. Backed by a capable roots rock band, she closed her set with “Into the Wild,” the title track from her forthcoming album (and one you’ll recognize from a current Citibank commercial). We really enjoyed Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand who played with some real vigor. “It pisses down rain in Glasgow all the time, but we’ve never seen anything like this,” singer-guitarist Alex Kapranos said in reference to the storm. “Chicago you’ve surpassed yourself!” And tUnE-yArDs’ offbeat delivery (the singer and ukulele player sampled her own vocals during her performance) made for a good time, too.