The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey and Red Hot Chili Peppers Storm Inaugural Lollapalooza Paris
As the festival giant that is Lollapalooza spreads its musical wings across the world, organizers set their sights on Paris for the first time. The biggest names in music took the stage in the city of lights July 22 and 23. From The Weeknd to Lana Del Rey and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, all genres were represented in the city’s Longchamp Racecourse.
While some may consider two days to be insufficient for a festival, Lolla Paris managed to cram a ton of worthwhile acts into this small timeframe. Saturday kicked off with the always energetic South African folk singer Jeremy Loops. He managed to warm up the main stage for Nordic electro duo Lemaitre, who encountered some sound issues ahead of performing their dance hit “Closer.” Unlike Lolla’s flagship Chicago festival, the international lineup was heavy with daytime sets, giving lesser known acts from Europe and beyond a chance to showcase their sound to a new audience. English indie band Glass Animals drew a big, and rowdy, crowd for their late afternoon set, treating fans to the melting sounds of “Gooey.” The Hives brought with them their signature flavor of cheeky garage rock. Lead singer Pelle Almqvist bounced about on-stage, cracking jokes and asking fans if they were ready for the band to “play for ever, and ever, and ever, and ever?”
Hip-Hop is normally under-represented at the rock/pop-centric Lolla events around the world, but Philly’s own The Roots managed to sneak into Paris. Questlove and the boys took to Lolla just ahead of their Aug. 1-4 sets alongside Dave Chappelle at his upcoming Radio City Music Hall residency. Imagine Dragons, the Vegas-based alt-rock band who brought “Radioactive” to radio stations everywhere, took to the Parisian stage. Lead singer Dan Reynolds took a few sincere moments to acknowledge the recent victims of war and terrorism, as well as the recent suicide of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who passed away earlier in the week. British alt-pop trio London Grammar have been riding the wave of their most recent sophomore album “Truth is a Beautiful Thing.” Their melodic, delicate sound matched perfectly with the surrounding Parisian sunset. The man who capped off Saturday night is, by now, a festival veteran. The Weeknd has been performing at every festival that will have him this summer – which is every festival that can afford him – since the release of his chart-topping 2016 album “Starboy.” Hit after hit led to a fireworks finale and the close of day one.
As dark clouds brewed above the makeshift mini-Eiffel Tower placed in the center of the common areas, fans from all over the world gathered for day two festivities with rain coats and umbrellas in hand. Two young stars in Charli XCX and Tom Odell made waves with their own versions of dance and singer-songwriter pop respectively. Brit-rock band Editors snagged the 5:30 p.m. spot, and while they brought a handful of fans to the main stage, the crowd filled with fans ready for the long-off Red Hot Chili Peppers’ set at 9:45 p.m. There was plenty of music ahead of their close-out set, however.
British musical legend Liam Gallagher followed Editors on the second main stage, where he brought in ears from all around to hear his last song, the ever-popular “Wonderwall.” The Pixies’ set brought the vibes that the original Lollapalooza came to prominence for promoting. When the festival first started as a touring event in the early 90s, it was an ode to the post-punk revolution. Now, of course, its evolution is clear, but with the Pixies’ performance over the weekend, many felt nostalgic as the crowd surfing days of old were back, if only for a moment. It was around this time, ahead of Lana Del Rey’s set, that the rain came. The starry-eyed crooner didn’t miss a beat, however, as she sang renditions from her recently released album “Lust for Life.” Alt-J also took the brunt of the initial rainfall, treating fans to tracks from “Relaxer,” their early June album release.
All of this led to the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ set at 9:45 p.m. With the heaviest bit of rain coming down during this time, many began to open umbrellas but were quickly discouraged by security for blocking the views of fellow fans. A catch-22 indeed as the massive crowd of RHCP fans were forced to brave the downpour to come. They feared not, however, as Anthony Kiedis, Flea and the rest gave them exactly what they came for: a set filled with radio hits, sprinkled with deep cuts and capped off with “Give it Away.” Parisians left the grounds wet and muddy with smiles abound.
Lollapalooza Paris took place July 22-23 at the Longchamp Racecourse in Paris, France.