One day down, three to go. Despite storm warnings threatening to push back the schedule for the first day, the drizzly day ran fairly on schedule, planned surprises and all.
Chance the Rapper was Thursday’s “surprise” guest. Actually, that comes as no surprise, being that he’s done the same for festival-goers at Bonnaroo multiple years and even popped up every single day of this year’s edition. What was surprising, though, was that he came out at Flosstradamus’ set, along with other celebrities including Chicago Bulls’ Dwyane Wade and Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams.
Despite missing the chance to see Chance, attendees of J. Cole’s headlining set left far from empty handed, as his performance was a major highlight of the first day. The rapper, touted as one of the greatest in the game, lived up to his reputation, garnering possibly the largest crowd of the night and performing a keen selection of crowd-pleasing favorites like “No Role Modelz” as well as a plethora of lesser-known gems across his discography.
Hip-hop dominated a lot of day one beyond Flosstradamus and J. Cole. Canadian rapper Jazz Cartier got the ball rolling early on and ended up being a favorite for the day, and Danny Brown, a unique and fairly new rapper, kept the momentum going with a high-energy set that had the crowd moshing so much, a couple people ended up suffering minor injuries. Even Norwegian DJ Cashmere Cat’s set was hip-hop centric, offering up multiple beautifully remixed versions of songs off Kanye West’s new album.
The Last Shadow Puppets floored audiences and felt like the best kept secret of the night.
But day one wasn’t a complete hip-hop takeover. Lana Del Rey battled J. Cole for largest audience as she closed out the north side of the festival California-style in her signature flowy, bohemian attire and floral headdress, projecting black and white images of herself on the silver screen retro-Hollywood style, and leading the crowd in sing-a-longs of tear-jerking favorites like “Summertime Sadness” and “Video Games.”
Closing out a side stage off in a corner that drew measly crowds in comparison to Del Ray, J. Cole, and Flosstradamus, The Last Shadow Puppets floored audiences and felt like the best kept secret of the night. An English super group that still isn’t well known in the United States, their humble crowd of loyal followers made the show a tight-knit gem. The highlight of their end-of-the-night set came when they honored the late David Bowie with a cover of “Moonage Daydream.”
Overall, despite poor weather and the fact that this is the first time Lollapalooza has ever occurred on a Thursday (an extra day was added in honor of the 25th anniversary), the festival got off to a smooth and energetic start. Sure to gain momentum as it goes into the weekend, and with icons of our time Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem still left to headline, this Lollapalooza is slated to be one of the best.