TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 8/1

9:56 AM My phone dings with an announcement from Lollapalooza that Da Baby will no longer be headlining or performing at all because the fest “was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect and love.” Given his recent homophobic rant, I’m all for this move.

1:12 PM Another perfect day here in Chicago. We’ve really lucked out! The weather has been ideal all weekend.

2:07 PM I am at least a football field away from Perry’s but the bass is vibrating throughout my body. A sound healing.

2:59 PM Princess Nokia has brought nothing but great vibes. She’s crowd-surfed, offered motivation (“Be who you wanna be!”) and danced her ass off. “I got my start in the New York City gay club night scene and it’s amazing that I’m on the main stage here at Lollapalooza.” She deserves the opportunity.

3:29 PM Toosii just made two fans’ day. Seeing that they were screaming and crying at the sight of him, he decides to bring them on stage for the remainder of his set. They are ecstatic, but instead of being in the moment, hold their phones in front of their faces and hit record.

4:03 PM There have been at least a handful of TikTok stars performing here this weekend. Maybe I’m just old now but the music is, for the most part, pretty fucking bad.

4:06 PM Speaking of TikTok stars, JXDN brings out special guest (and girlfriend) Nessa Barrett for a “la di die” duet.

4:39 PM Brittany Howard is crushing Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” but I’m honestly not surprised because she’s a real talent. The voice, the guitar, the moves—she’s got it all. And the musicians supporting her are pretty incredible themselves. I recognize Alabama Shakes’ bassist Zac Cockrell as one of them.

4:57 PM A group of guys are fighting because one of them dragged the group to Steve Aoki. They’re apparently still bitter about missing Miley.

5:26 PM If JPEGMAFIA is in the lineup, there’s no way I’m missing his set. It’s guaranteed to be high intensity and this one is no exception.

6:10 PM Rock at Lolla?! How refreshing! Modest Mouse is taking me back and giving me a much needed fill of indie rock.

6:37 PM The last time Rico Nasty performed in front of a live audience was here in Chicago. She’s thrilled to be back and seems to have boundless energy, as she boogies across the stage.

7:20 PM Band of Horses have gone and gotten me emotional. I catch a few other photographers misty-eyed, taking by the moment as well. It’s sunset on the last day of the first festival in too long. I’m so grateful it happened and so scared at the potential Covid repercussions. And I remember now that I cannot live fully and happily without live music.

(Update: To everyone’s relief, Chicago health officials concluded that Lolla was not a Covid superspreader event.)

7:56 PM Lots of excellent “Free Britney” shirts throughout the weekend but my favorite shirt of the weekend has revealed itself: “Stop making stupid people famous.”

8:08 PM “It’s times like these we learn to live again,” Dave Grohl sings extra slow and pronounced so as to ensure that everyone listening comprehends the significance. Foo Fighters close out Lolla ’21 on the south end.

8:45 PM Meanwhile on the north end, DJ Nez samples “Percolator,” so he’s good in my book.

9:18 PM Young Thug is late and just as us photographers are cleared to enter the pit, a teen pulled from the crowd by the medics barfs directly where we enter. Ha! Perfect. “We want Thug” chants. The crowd is getting impatient.

9:29 PM Pink on pink on pink…is Young Thug’s look tonight. After messing with his earpiece for the first song, he finds his stride.

9:54 PM Heading out the gates of Lolla ’21 for the last time, I can’t help but feel thankful and invigorated to have gotten back to doing what I love to do 532 days later. On to the next.










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