The best, the mess and the rest: Lollapalooza 2022
It’s been 17 years since the current version of Lollapalooza called Chicago’s Grant Park home. Although there are lovers and haters of the festival for various reasons, the 2022 version went mostly smoothly and certainly without the cloud that hung over it last year. On a positive note, it didn’t feel as crowded as in years past – there was plenty of room to navigate through the crowds to the various stages – although nothing changed at this year’s Lollapalooza.
Here’s everything we saw this weekend, which, unlike other festivals this year, was actually pretty awesome with few issues.
Weather: In a very unscientific poll conducted on the ground, all 11 people agreed that the weather at this year’s festival was the best in its history. Hot but not hot, humid but not sticky, clouds but no rain, the situation was as idyllic as Chicago is in the summer. This unusually pleasant weather made things fair as much better.
Metallica: Metallica brought the thunder. Judging by the crowd and too many Metallica shirts to count, this was the most anticipated set (except maybe for J-Hope), even as the Thursday night headliner. And that didn’t include any new stranger things fans, although there were some younger participants getting in on the action (and a special guest). Scrolling through their catalog in a 16-song set, there were plenty of highlights, but James Hetfield asked the crowd to give the much-maligned Holy Wrath a second chance was up there.
Green Day’s Metro after-show: What separates Lollapalooza from other major festivals are the aftershows: intimate performances by Lolla in small venues. But Green Day at the metro? It’s not better. The band went through a set of 25 songs, including a number of songs that hadn’t been played in 21 years. The sweaty, packed crowd was as energetic as the band, with the GA section moving and waves with pits erupting many, many times throughout the night.
Side scenes: This year’s smaller stages did the near-impossible: they made a festival show in the middle of a pleasant park. Watch Hinds perform on the Bud Light Seltzer Sessions (yes, that was the stage’s real name), Jesse Jo Stark and Meet Me @ the Altar on the BMI stage, Pom Pom Squad on the Discord stage, Sampa the Great on Coinbase and Denzel Curry’s loud headliner on the Perry stage showed people they shouldn’t miss.
Turnstile: What remains to be said about them that has not already been said? They were our 2021 Artist of the Year and have already dazzled us by winning over the notoriously fickle Coachella audience nearly four months ago. At Lolla, they had the top spot on the Discord scene, which was jam-packed. As usual, they brought it (even in four pieces now), showing that last year’s hype was not only deserved but justified. Believe it, and we are not alone in thinking it.
I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s not. I met Dua Lipa in the crowd at Turnstile
— Alex Mercuri (@alexmercuri) July 31, 2022
Dua Lipa: As if anyone needed any additional advice, but he’s a superstar. Dua Lipa had one of the biggest crowds for her first US performance since March. A lot has changed on this floor since then, and the pop star hasn’t been afraid to talk about topics like Roe v. Wade, racial injustice and the LGBTQ community. Scrolling through her greatest hits, she proved that while she was headlining one of the biggest festivals in the country, bigger things are yet to come.
Lil Durk being hit by a pyro in the face: Somehow, Lil Durk managed to power up his set after being hit in the face by a pyrotechnic on stage. It was a bit of a pain, and after the set, the Chicago rapper wrote that he was going to “take a break and focus on my health.”
The crowd for IDLES: The British post-punk band had pride of place at 6.45pm on one of the main stages, which should have meant…something? Instead, the area was barren (and it wasn’t like they were running into a row of murderers), with plenty of empty space. Although they are divisive (you love them or hate them, not in between), curious onlookers never passed. Unfortunately, it seems the band would have been better served by playing on a different stage at a more ideal time in order to convert the unconverted.
Goldman Sacks CEO performed a DJ set: Not much to add here except that it’s good to have friends in influential places.
The food: As usual, the food was between 15 and 30% overpriced. For a festival that isn’t short on branding (every stage has a corporate sponsor), it shouldn’t rush the vendors, who in turn rush the paying customer. We still haven’t learned anything from Woodstock 99, have we?
The festival is going nowhere: As Perry Farrell told us, Lollapalooza is staying in Chicago for another 10 years. One wonders if the pomp and circumstance to get Mayor Lori Lightfoot to make the announcement was necessary. So is the ongoing dispute between locals and the city over the festival’s favored nation status. But, revelers don’t care: the festival isn’t going anywhere and they can start making their summer plans for the next decade now.
Meetings: by Farrell other the group reunited earlier this year and it was only their fifth appearance in the past two decades. Here’s a nickel of free advice: why not accept the group meeting? Coachella was widely known for this as recently as 2016 when Guns N’ Roses shocked fans when Duff McKagan and Slash joined Axl Rose. It could be an interesting element to add to the festival, and it could be the guideline of the festival’s past. It may not be the festival landscape in 2022, but outside of Riot Fest, no one else does. Just a thought!