(Editor’s note: RogersEdgeReporter journalist and music fan Naima Woods attended all four days of Lollapalooza this year. We asked her for her highlights.)
Childish Gambino: I ran as fast as I could to T Moble’s Stage because I wanted to make sure I get front row viewing for Childish Gambino. Janelle Monae’s set was about to end, so people were either staying to get a good view for Gambino or leaving to watch Tame Impala, all the way on the other side of the park. As Monae’s set ended, I pushed my way to the front railing and I got a spot in the front left side. It finally was the time, the moment I have been waiting for all my life. This was the moment when I finally got to see my long-time favorite artist. The lights shut off. It was pitch black dark until all these glowing strobe lights came in flashing, and then there was a loud hard bass sound. Gambino appeared as two unreleased songs, “Atavista” + “Algorythm” played as he stood in the spotlight flashing along with the music. I screamed at the top of my lungs as the song finished. Gambino played songs ranging from albums like 2011’s Camp, 2013’s Because The Internet, and 2016’s Awaken My Love. During his song “3005,” Gambino walked over to me and I continued to rap along with him. He began to point at me with a surprised expression on his face as if he was shocked someone still remembers this song. I kept rapping along with the music and he continued to jump with me as I kept going. This show was different from any other show i’ve seen. This was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. The love and the connection Gambino builds with his supporters is beautiful.
Xurros’ Churro S’mores: After jumping around in a crowd listening to electronic dance music, (EDM) I was exhausted and started to crave something sweet. I walked along the food sections looking at my options and “Xurros” caught my attention. My eyes went straight to the words “Churro S’mores” and I instantly ran to the line. The cashier had told me it was one of her favorite items they serve. The food at Lolla was expensive and this item was $8 yet totally worth it. I was handed the Churro S’mores and it looks exactly how it sounds. They used a freshly made churro wrapped around itself as the crackers, a big pillowy marshmallow with a warm melted milk chocolate. It was huge and just the kind of sweetness I was looking for – so sweet that I’ve craved one every day of Lollapalooza since then. On the final day, I even went back to Xurros before they closed and took one home with me.
Death Cab for Cutie: Death Cab for Cutie’s music is knowingly alternative rock, indie rock/pop. I consider myself a new fan only because I found out about them last year. But what a fan! Death Cab’s music hits me in a different way, it puts me in such a feel-good mood. “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” played first, I screamed at the top of my lungs as I pushed my way to the front. Everyone was dancing and just having such a fun time, this is something I will never forget. My favorite song by Death Cab has to be the iconic “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.” As they performed this song, my ears were in love with the sound. All of a sudden, Chicago’s very own, Chance The Rapper appeared on stage and screamed “Chicago!” They began to play, “Do You Remember,” which was a song collaboration with Death Cab on his new album, “The Big Day.” This was their first time performing the song and I am so glad I got to witness it. I am definitely sticking around for the long time, I can’t wait to hear more I guess you can say, I will follow them into the dark.
Joji: I was super excited to see his set. Joji has to be one of my new favorite upcoming artists. I tried going to his concert in February but the tickets sold out within an hour so this was like a redemption for me. I find his voice so soothing live. Truly it was like listening to an angel. He’s hilarious on stage as well. He would sing Toy Story’s “You Got a Friend in Me” and Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.” His goofy persona mixed with the lo-fi sounds always has me in an amazing mood. The best part has to be his ending. He had finished a song and just walked off stage. I was left confused as to why his show ended so early. A chant started. “One more song!” filled the air over and over again. He finally came onto the mic and said, “You guys thought I was done?” to which everyone screamed as he ran back onto stage. He sung a piano version of “Slow Dancing in the Dark,” which was so sentimental and sweet. Finally, he replayed the true single of “Slow Dancing in the Dark.” It’s emotional anguish had everyone heartbroken even if you’ve never experienced love before.
Denzel Curry: A lot of people know Denzel Curry for his song “Ultimate” to which everyone did the famous bottle flip videos. But I know Curry for his mixtapes and the original sound he continues to produce until this day. I was super shocked they put Curry at a small stage. But small stage or not, I still had the time of my life. He opened up with “ZUU,” off his new album with the same name. The crowd went crazy. Moshpits were everywhere, especially on my side, which was the left side. He even acknowledged us for being the best side. Curry told his DJ to stop the music. He told the crowd to say “Switch it up” after he finished rapping a line. This is how I know he was transitioning to the song, “SWITCH IT UP | ZWITCH 1T UP.” We did as he said, but when he said the final line, real fans knew the line changes to “Run It Up.” As he finished his line and the whole crowd said: “Run it up!” Curry yelled and said no way. He explained we were the first crowd ever to catch this trick. He asked the crowd if he could play something slow, then my favorite song played. “BLACK BALLOONS | 13LACK 13ALLPPONZ” blasted from the speakers and I was in awe. I was in such an uplifted mood, this song always makes you feel loved. It’s the kind of song you just want to dance to, whether you’re walking down the street or home alone. Curry then played an unreleased song with artist, Slowthai. He ended the show with the bottle flipping song favorite, “Ultimate.” For an encore, “Bulls on Parade” Curry’s Version of Rage Against The Machine Classic played. Curry brought out other artists, like Smino. They all ran around the stage interacting with the crowd. The way Curry interacts with the crowd is so fun and just leaves you wanting more time, as if he was like your best friend and you wanted to spend more time with him.
M Burger: After Denzel Curry’s performance, I was left drenched in water and starving. I could barely walk on the account of me jumping around everywhere to the music. I tried as hard as I could to catch my balance so I could finally go get something to eat. I eventually regained my strength and found the food divisions. I was craving something savory for sure – my sweet tooth had been satisfied with those Churro S’mores. I saw “M Burger” sitting in between two other booths and I felt like a Burger and Fries would be great. I got into line and ordered an Old Fashion Double Cheese Burger with Cheese fries. The cheese came in a little sauce container and i think it was the best part. Even though it got really messy, it was a fun-and-full-of-flavor mess. It’s incomparable to any other fast food burger. What keeps you hooked is this special sauce. I am not sure what it was but it was delicious and had me craving another one every day since.
Twenty One Pilots: I have been such a fan of Twenty One Pilots since I was a child, so you can imagine how crazy I got. I made sure to get front row to this performance. the “Heavy Dirty Soul” intro blasted through the speakers as Josh Dun walked along the stage with fire. A car on stage burst into flames and then another member, Tyler Joseph, appeared. Both were wearing colors from their recent album, “Trench.” This was one of the best setlist at Lollapalooza I’ve ever witnessed. I especially loved the details they put into it. Any time they changed albums, the lights on stage would change to the colors of the album, along with their clothing. Twenty One Pilots always makes sure their crowd is engaged with them. This show was crazy intense. A drum set was brought into the crowd. You had to hold up the drums so Dun could come over and play them on top of you. That’s a crazy amount of arm strength to hold up a both drum set and a human being, but we did it and it was wild. He played “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes in the crowd. As the song transitioned, the screen in all caps said, “Not Done” about three times as “Morph” played, then finally it was “Josh Dun.” I don’t even know how to describe the feeling but it was pure excitement. Adrenaline was rushing through me. I felt super hyped, and in that moment I felt I could do anything. As the night slowly came to an end, it felt like an end of an era. I believe thats how the band wants you to feel, to prepare ourselves for a new one. I am ready for it.