On the fourth day of a music festival, there’s going to be some exhaustion. So naturally, when fest-goers pulled into Grant Park on Sunday (July 31), there was a lot more lawn lounging than standing, and more head bobbing than dancing. At least, that was the case earlier in the day. A few especially energetic performers injected new life into the crowd throughout the day, and by the close, LCD Soundsystem had its audience moving more fervently than nearly any other crowd of the weekend.
Here are our favorite moments from the final day of Lollapalooza 2016.
One of the most refreshing things about Haim from the get-go was how unabashedly thrilled they always seemed to be on stage. Even three years down the road from their debut, still playing most of those same songs — plus three additions to their repertoire, including two from their soon-to-be-finished sophomore album — Haim seem as ecstatic as ever to be harmonizing, rocking out and pounding away on the percussion for their signature show-closing drum breakdown. At Lollapalooza, their excitement was on full display as each sister talked about how much playing Lolla meant to them — and unlike some performers’ standard “I love this audience!” banter, they backed it up with evidence, talking about how seeing Amy Winehouse at Lollapalooza 2007 was a pivotal moment for them, inspiring them to make music in the first place. And yes, they did their knockout cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” and it sounded sublime.
Much to the chagrin of the thirtysomethings at Lolla, Flume — a young, experimental-leaning electronic artist playing a set from a DJ both — packed in a significantly larger crowd than LCD Soundsystem (a not-so-young, experimental-leaning dance band who play physical instruments onstage) at Lollapalooza 2016, despite being scheduled before them on the same stage. No matter — they’re both worth your time, and both were great at Lolla. What the Aussie DJ lacks in a deep catalog of recognizable songs he made up for via crossover moments with three other Lolla performers: A guest appearance from fellow Sunday performer Vince Staples, another from Saturday performer Vic Mensa, plus his remix of Disclosure’s “You and Me.”
LCD are fully aware they are no longer the target demographic of Lollapalooza. “I was just informed Lollapalooza is 25,” James Murphy, his hair looking slightly mad scientist-y, told the Sunday night crowd. “Happy birthday. That might be the average age of people here. What are you, 22-28, with outliers?” he asked the crowd, adding with a smile, “We’re outliers.” That cheeky comment was a perfect lead-in to the band’s always-relevant song about losing relevance, “Losing My Edge,” which is probably the funniest dance song ever written. As Murphy faux-bragged about his history with iconic underground music, the crowd — which was already dancing with fervor — absolutely lost it, jumping and dancing around with abandon. As previously mentioned, the Sunday night Samsung Stage headliners didn’t actually pull in the biggest crowd for that stage that day, but they were easily the best performer of the final day, producing muscular dance rock that was occasionally lovely, occasionally thunderous, and 100 percent satisfying. The percentage of people dancing with complete strangers, pointing their fingers at each other and shouting along the words, spoke to that.
For a few years now, Ellie Goulding — who straddles the worlds of radio pop and electronica — has become quite a reliable festival performer. Her headlining Sunday slot on the Bud Light Stage was no exception. Her vocals were flawless, her look was elegant, and she radiated love for her fans throughout the set. “This song is for all the lovers,” she said before introducing “Love Me Like You Do.” “So basically, all of you.” As her 50 Shades of Grey hit boomed out over the audience, the final song of the night and the fest, her fans happily sang every word as Lolla 2016 came to a close.
Fast becoming a festival favorite, Halsey drew a massive Lolla crowd, performing tracks from her debut Badlands and her 2016 version of “Castle,” which you can watch below.
Additionally, Halsey nodded to the turmoil going on in the world with this during her set: “There’s a lot of shit going on right now. Shit that makes it hard for me to get on stage in a pair of pink shorts and sing these silly songs. Whatever your race, sexuality, class, faith, I hope you’re proud. Diversity is what makes music possible.”
By Day 4, much of the audience was understandably dragging a bit as Sunday afternoon turned into Sunday night. So Vince Staples’ commanding stage energy was a much-needed boost of power to help anyone get through the final day. The songs from his acclaimed debut Summertime ’06 sounded passionate and even funky in concert, “Birds and Bees” in particular. A few guys watching his set had the right idea in climbing some of the trees near the Pepsi Stage to soak in his set from the raised vantage point.
While a number of their post-punk revival peers have petered out, Bloc Party sounds strong as ever in 2016. Maybe it was the hiatus they took a few years back, during which frontman Kele Okereke released his second solo album, or the fact that Bloc Party in 2016 has a different lineup than the band that produced 2005’s excellent Silent Alarm, but whatever their secret is, it was a treat to have them in a prime Sunday evening slot. Even with drummer Matt Tong out of the band, the band’s percussion still snaps with whiplash intensity, and their rock riffs are as snarly and angular as ever. Silent Alarm‘s “Helicopter,” in particular, stood out as a crowd-moving moment.
The genre-blurring South African hip-hop group might have suffered some sound bleeding issues during their Sunday night set (LCD’s beats could be clearly heard whenever their music stopped for them to deliver a few words), but even if that hadn’t been the case, it’s a safe bet frontman Ninja would have acted exactly the same when addressing one fan who shouted his love at Die Antwoord during their set. “I love you too,” Ninja screamed, “And shut the fuck up, I wanna sing my little song.”
Deep Dish Pizza
Lou Malnati’s is some of the best deep dish Chicago has to offer, and their presence at the Lollapalooza fest grounds was greatly appreciated.
After four days of thousands of people shuffling around Grant Park, you couldn’t walk without kicking a bottle or food wrapper by Sunday afternoon. So props and strength to the cleaning crew, who began the seemingly insurmountable task of turning a festival wasteland back into a gorgeous downtown park as Lolla wrapped.