Lollapalooza dawned hot on Friday, Aug. 3 at Chicago's Grant Park — and we mean the kind of hot that causes eggs to fry on the sidewalk and makes festival guru Perry Farrell change into something nonspandex. Thank the Lolla gods there was plenty of great music to distract you from your impending heatstroke.
The day started with sets from Ghostland Observatory, Son Volt and M.I.A., who clambered up the speakers in spite of her ailing throat. Silversun Pickups, The Fratellis, The Rapture, Farrell's own Satellite Party, LCD Soundsystem and the wackily jumpsuited Polyphonic Spree rocked through the heat, with the Spree turning in a groovy, multilayered version of Nirvana's “Lithium.” But by nightfall, it was all about Daft Punk, who was deemed one of the best acts of the weekend, opening with “Robot Rock” and closing with the ridiculously popular “One More Time” — the robots triumphed, indeed.
Saturday — cloudy, hoorah! — revved up with crisp performances from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and I'm From Barcelona, while a revitalized Silverchair took over the AT&T stage, with singer Daniel Johns talking about vomiting dolphins (huh?) and introducing new songs like the supercatchy “Reflections of a Sound.” Regina Spektor impressed her listeners with nothing more than a piano, a mic, a drumstick and a chair, while Snow Patrol won over the Brit-rock fans and Tapes 'n Tapes represented for the electro crowd. (Speaking of crowds, was Lolla oversold this year? Attempting to traverse from one end of the fest to the other through the sweaty masses was pretty exasperating. Perhaps a lower cap on attendance would be a good idea for 2008?)
Evening arrived with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Spoon following each other on adjacent stages and everyone else jockeying for position in anticipation of the upcoming Interpol/Muse closing sets. Muse's spectacular light show and the lofty vocals of Matthew Bellamy put Muse on top, as Bellamy took his fans into the palm of his hand during “Time Is Running Out” and kept them there until the final oversize balloons were tossed into the fray under a persistent light rain.
Skies cleared on Sunday as a tired crowd straggled back into Grant Park, with Modest Mouse, Apostle of Hustle, Peter Bjorn and John, Iggy Pop, !!! and buzz-band White Rabbits among the day's highlights. Pearl Jam officially closed the event with a massive “Alive” sing-along and a “Rockin' in the Free World” encore that saw a mass of fans (and, um, Lance Armstrong?) climb onstage alongside the Ben Harper-accompanied band while EdVed hopped up on Dennis Rodman's shoulders. And no, we're not making that last part up. Hey, it's Lolla, after all.