There may have been a little rain on this year’s parade, but the afternoon drizzle did nothing to dampen the spirits of the thousands of young revelers who flooded Chicago’s Grant Park for the first day of Lollapalooza 2014. Celebrating its 10th year in the Windy City, the annual summer bash as usual provided a little something for music fans of all stripes. Eminem and Iggy Azalea brought their radio-ready hip-hop hits to the big stages, Arctic Monkeys and the Kooks delivered Britpop brilliance, Lorde and Lykke Li haunted audiences with their ethereal alternative pop, while acts like Zedd and Cash Cash brought bass heavy beats that kept the part bouncing all day long. In fact, there was so much music being blasted on Lollapalooza’s 8 stages, you couldn’t have heard it all if you tried. But that didn’t stop us from giving it our best shot. Here’s 20 on-stage and in-the-crowd highlights from Friday’s festivities.
2:26 PM: "Is anyone here from Australia?" Aussie singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett asks her audience midway through her afternoon performance. Neither Sia nor 5 Seconds of Summer were in attendance, but a guy in the front of the audience feverishly waved his hands. He and the alt-rock artist spent the next minutes figuring out how close their hometowns were to each other.
3:01 PM: Rain is threatening during the early portion of Bombay Bicycle Club’s set at the Samsung Galaxy Stage, and by the time the British band grooves along to “Evening/Morning,” the crowd is getting a nice dousing from the afternoon shower. The forecast calls for clear skies soon enough, so the crowd keeps its spirits up and has no problem dancing through the drizzle.
3:51 PM: Don't tell the soccer hooligans in the Warpaint crowd that the World Cup ended weeks ago. Dressed in Germany's black, red and yellow, a half-dozen men crowded together in the drizzling rain to shout "YAAAAAAAAAAAA FOOTBALL!" at the top of their lungs.
3:55 PM: Hozier, the project of singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne, brings its bluesy rawk, featuring selections from its hyped upcoming debut album, to the Palladia Stage. One standout is the ultra-catchy “Jackie and Wilson,” which booms with an irresistible sing-along chorus.
5:10 PM: Iggy Azalea neglects to play her "Problem" verse, but when the creeping "Fancy" intro drops, the audience goes into a frenzy, then positions itself to spit in unison, "First thing's first, I'm the realest."
5:30 PM: Spotted in the crowd for Chrvches is The Bachelorette runner-up Nick V. Girls flock to ask for photos of the reality TV star, while the Scottish electronic band opens their set. (Nick only stays for about half the performance.) Later n the set, Singer Lauren Mayberry dedicates "Tether" to her parents, who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.
5:39 PM: Of course the hits from Turn On the Bright Lights and Antics get the crowd revved, but the Lolla audience isn’t sleeping on Interpol’s new material, either. “All the Rage Back Home” gets plenty of hands in the air and some astute fans are even singing along to the brand-new single from the group’s forthcoming album.
5:40 PM: New Jersey dance dons Cash Cash draw a huge crowd to the comparatively small BMI stage. The trio’s barrage of beats keeps the afternoon energy at insanely high levels.
5:54 PM: While the hands that appear on the cover of their upcoming album El Pintor adorn the background, Interpol busts out an old favorite — the super-slick post-punk jam “Slow Hands” — to close out their set.
6:11 PM: "I'm excited to see Lorde over there right after us," AFI frontman Davey Havok tells his audience. It's the first of two shout-outs Havok makes to the "Royals" singer, who is primed to play in half an hour at the adjacent Bud Light stage.
6:30 PM: Broken Bells begin with "Perfect World" and segues into "The Ghost Inside." Lead singer James Mercer reminds the crowd of who they are "in case anyone just stumbled over." He later thanks everyone "for being great." While pleased with the duo's songs, the crowd is very mellow -- not even giant pink balls floating over the audience stirrs up much action.
7:10 PM: Gazing out into the sprawling crowd (which spills over to the nearby Palladia Stage), Lorde sits on the edge of the stage and peers out into the endless sea of bodies: “I’m so lost for words… and that doesn’t happen very often.” Soon, she invites the audience to dance along with her to the set’s most booty-shaking gem, “Ribs.”
7:40 PM: “Royals” may be the New Zealand wunderkind’s biggest hit, but the track that really rocks Lorde’s legion of fans is the set-closing “Team.” “I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air," she sings. Not so, gesture the thousands who raise the roof at every chorus.
7:53 PM: Amidst an ethereal cloud of dry ice, Lykke Li asks everyone to dance with her. "Okay, you have go to help me out with this one, because I'm really shy. Because I feel like dancing." She then erupts into a performance of -- unsurprisingly -- "Dance Dance Dance."
8:00 PM: “You give it away so easy baby!” Luke Pritchard yelps as the Kooks groove through one of their catchiest songs, “Forgive and Forget," towards the end of their set at the Grove Stage.
8:40 PM: Three and a half hours after Iggy Azalea performs "Fancy" on Perry's stage, Zedd drops a blistering remix of its Song of the Summer competition -- MAGIC!'s "Rude" -- on the same stage. Reggae finally, blissfully, meets EDM.
9:26 PM: “This song is dedicated to the booty call you made last night,” says Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. The crowd, many of whom cheer like they can relate, erupts into an intoxicated roar as the British headliners break into the woozy “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”
9:34 PM: Lollapalooza’s biggest surprise of the day has finally arrived. Rihannadrives the crowd wild when she joins Emimem on stage for "Love the Way You Lie." The two then perform their second collaborative hit "The Monster" together, and Rihanna even takes over for Dido's vocals in "Stan." With all due respect to Em's other guest Royce da 5'9", Rihanna should have dropped the mic when she left the stage.