Catching up with Milk Underground photographer Andrew Boyle as he marches on through the tranches of Lollapalooza… rain or shine.
Lollapalooza: Day 2
Hot as hell was how the day started, as expected, but something was brewing. As the photo throng mostly arrived to begin their day around 2:30pm with the sonically colorful Neon Indian, I wandered to the other side of the field to begin my day with Chairlift. But something was up - you could feel it. At about 3pm, announcements suddenly boomed across the park and on each stage’s jumbo screens
“This is a mandatory evacuation of Lollapalooza. Everyone must leave now”.
A little perplexed, reactions ranged from the typical “whatever”, to the next immediate thought (given the recent news of mass shootings) - someone has a gun or a bomb. Although everyone was expecting a storm in the evening, the following announcement generated more than a little excitement
“A potentially lethal storm is heading to Chicago - everyone must leave NOW”.
You have to hand it to the organizers; they weren’t screwing around. 8 story high stages were quickly stripped of their weather proofed sidings to allow the coming winds through, and over 60,000 ticket holders and 3,000 on ground staff who didn’t retreat to a nearby bar or hotel quickly assembled beneath Michigan Avenue in underpasses running parallel to the venue. And what unleashed next was a storm of biblical proportions, with the sky turning to midnight black, lightning that was out of a disaster movie, and thick horizontal rain and wind for about an hour that sent heavy wooden traffic barriers barreling down streets. After deaths occurring at recent festivals that saw extreme weather level outdoor staging structures, Lollapalooza wasn’t looking for any causalities.
At 6pm, and after what was no doubt a massive contingency plan, fans returned to the gates wet and battered but in high spirits. The venue began to resemble the mud soaked state of UK’s Glastonbury, but most accepted it was the nature of a music festival. Performance slots were shuffled (or moved to the following day) and the party began again with Fun delivering a raucous set on the back of their massive hit “Young”, Washed Out delivered a soulful and energetic mix of electronic dream pop, before the smooth vocals of The Weeknd that drew many a squeal from the ladies in the crowd by the main stage.
With the kids enjoying the giant mud bath, most gave up the safety of clean sneakers and dived in for an almighty crush to see Saturday night headliners The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Flea seemed giddy, continually showering gratitude on the crowd for coming to the see them, while Anthony Kiedes went from trucker hat, dinner jacket combo (topped off with a slightly porno mustache) to the shirtless frontman of earlier Blood Sugar Sex Magik days. But there was much talk of what many deemed performance of the night; Frank Ocean took to a dimly lit small stage, surrounded by dated tube televisions, an old piano and antique trinkets, perched on a stool and crooned in a way that could have earned him a place in a new incarnation of The Rat Pack. Thirty seconds into his set and you knew this guy is a mighty formidable talent amongst a very stale, although polished, pop music scene.
By the end of the second day, the storm was a mere afterthought regulated to the very muddy sneakers you were squelching home in, and there was already a buzz in the air about tomorrows line up.
Photos By: Andrew Boyle
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