RECAP: Lollapalooza 2019, Day Four
As Lollapalooza 2019 drew to a close on Sunday, there were several memorable moments from the festival’s 18th year of on and off operation. However, things weren’t completely done yet, as fresh faces, an unusual guest act, and one of the current princesses of pop were yet to take the stage.
One of the brightest spots of the early afternoon came on the T-Mobile Stage, as Oklahoma-based indie act Wilderado made some dreams come true with their first Lollapalooza performance. The band ran through material from each of their three EPs and various singles, and had a low-tempo indie sound that felt like easy like Sunday morning, or early afternoon.
With a midday set, Dreamville-affiliated rapper J.I.D. made a big impression on Chicago with his set on the T-Mobile Stage as well. It was an early highlight for the last day, as a sizeable crowd made him a contender for a time slot later at night in future bookings. After a moment of silence in response to recent mass shootings around the country, the energy was ramped up, and we got treated to the hits that created the Atlanta rapper’s initial buzz. He also told the crowd that if he ever played Lollapalooza, he would say the festival’s name at least 50 times on stage, which without an official count, we can still confirm, as he packed it into just about every sentence that he could.
One of the most unusual bookings of the festival did, however provide a uniquely fun portion of the day, as Diesel, aka Shaquille O’Neal, brought an EDM set to the Perry’s Stage, played on by the notes of Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and escorted by a man dressed as Jesus, because… of course? While much of the crowd likely knew the NBA legend more from the NBA on TNT than his time with the Orlando Magic or the Lakers, the genuine weirdness of the whole situation made the set something to be seen. The beats did in fact bang as hard as the center used to in the paint, and he brought literal fire, as well as steam cannons, and would occasionally take the mic to demand that a mosh pit break out, which he would later join to recreate some recent viral video magic. While most DJs aren’t physically intimidating when demanding the crowd move, The Big Aristotle definitely was, and the crowd reacted accordingly.
Shortly thereafter, a good portion of the Shaquille O’Neal crowd, as well as fans of the various other genres at the festival, made way towards Kacey Musgraves’ set. While country isn’t a very prominent part of the Lollapalooza DNA, her crowd was surprisingly one of the largest of the day, as essentially a lead in to headliner Ariana Grande later that night. While you might assume there was a healthy contingent camping out for Grande’s set, that wasn’t the case, as cowboy hats were prevalent amongst the usual festival garb (or lack there of). There was also a healthy moment of hopeful activism, as Musgraves thanked the crowd for being brave enough to attend a music festival after the recent shootings, and the crowd collectively yelled “somebody fucking do something”, in a sentiment that will hopefully live on further than the initial moment.
The night turned significantly more pink, however, as festival headliner Ariana Grande closed out Lollapalooza 2019. For the thousands in attendance, a crowd likely rivaling Childish Gambino’s Friday night set, it was a cathartic moment to scream for one of the biggest pop starts in the world on Sunday. In many ways, Grande’s set was the epitome of what may of Lollapalooza’s Instagram-obsessed fans were looking for; something manicured and polished until it was essentially flawless. While technically not very blemished, performances as choreographed as Grande’s don’t leave much room for genuine emotion or spontaneous creativity. However, nobody in the crowd seemed to mind that, as dance circles and wild screams augmented hits like “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”, and “7 Rings”. An encore featuring smash “Thank U, Next” and an array of fireworks (pink, naturally), sent off Lollapalooza 2019 into the Chicago night, along with plenty of memories to go with it.