12 Reasons Lollapalooza 2014 was Unforgettable

by Sommer Thornton

Photo by Nick Simonite

I’m just coming down from Lollapalooza 2014. As one of the most popular music festivals in the country, Perry Ferrell’s progeny bears big expectations. Forget what critics say about the crowds being too big, or there being too many rap acts-blah blah. There’re haters who’ve forgotten the novelty of Lolla. Lollapalooza is a festival in the heart of downtown with 8 stages, over 100 acts, and incredible acoustics. Fans get an awesome show from their favorite artists and perhaps enjoy artists they may not hear otherwise.

This is my 5th year covering Lollapalooza’s VIP experience. Thanks to Toyota, I was hooked up with Lolla Lounge perks. Call me biased, but the amazing performances and the VIP perks made this year epic. 

12 Reasons Lollapalooza 2014 was Unforgettable

#12. Friday I was able to watch Lorde, AFI, Blood Orange, and Arctic Monkey and not miss Rihanna at the Eminem Show! 

Photo by Jack Edinger

#11. Awesome after parties all over Chicago. 

Lollapalooza brings out celebrities and artists that aren’t even on the bill. Some just come for the shows, some pop up on stage, others rock after-parties in some of Chi-town’s hottest lolla venues. The Hard Rock Hotel hosted The Sound of Your Stay, a lolla getaway with special lounge and game  areas, an open bar, and a DJ sets from DJ White Shadow, Joe Jonas, GroupLove, and Mia Moretti. 

Band members from Fitz & the Tantrums, Cage the Elephant, Blood Orange, Phantogram and Young the Giant stopped by the Sound of Your Stay, and mingled with press, fans, and sponsors over drinks and banging beats.

The Sound of Your Stay also brought night parties with performances from Lykke Li, Smallpools, Betty Who, and Delta Rae. Other after-parties around the city had performances and appearances from the Glitch Mob, Nelly, Sam Ronson, Nas, Iggy Azelea, Skrillex, and Gramatik. 

Photo by Jack Edinger

#10. Eminem

Eminem brought the heat on night one of Lollapalooza giving fans an electrifying set and a glimpse of his upcoming Monster tour with Rihanna. Rihanna made a surprise appearance and the crowd went crazy. She sang three songs with Eminem who gave fans old and new hits from his new album “The Marshall Mathers LP2. 

#9. The Perry Tent was a non-stop EDM-trip-hop rave! 

Z-Trip, Flosstradamus, Glitch Mob, Zedd, and Joachim Garraud rocked the stage with thrilling light shows. It attracted hundreds just wanting to juke it out.  

#8. Skrillex , Z-Trip, Calvin Harris really need no description, but since their mainstream success, let’s just say their live shows are bananas!

Check out the complete set from Skrillex from Lollapallooza 2014 courtesy of Redbull!

#7. Easy Living in the Lolla Lounges  

Citi partnered with local restaurants to give concert goers a one-of-a-kind VIP experience. 

A special area adjacent to the stage was cornered off and multiple food and drink vendors were set up in a lounge area complete with cabanas, a huge yard, and unlimited food and liquor.  Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Dobel Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Ruffino Procescco all had open bars. The Lolla Lounge even offered mini spa treatments from Kiehl’s Salon. 

While it was hard to take photos of the stage from the cabanas, it was great watching the show from shaded seating raised above the crowd. Did I mention the Lolla Lounge also had air conditioned bathrooms?

Photo by Jack Edinger
#6. Nas, Chance the Rapper w/ R. Kelly, Childish Gambino – Screw what people say about rap acts at Lollapalooza. Nas gave the crowd hits from Illimatic to Nastradamus. Childish Gambino hit the stage hard and gave a rap-star worthy showcase of his emo hip-hop hits. 
Chance the Rapper closed out the Perry Tent on Sunday with an R&B infused rap show. Chance even surprised fans with the Piper himself, R. Kelly who sang Bump & Grind & Ignition- what!!! Chi-town was proud. 

Check out the electrifying full set from Childish Gambino at Lollapalooza 2014 courtesy of Redbull TV! 

Check out the full set from Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza 2014!

#5. Shuttles!! Big thanks to Toyota and Citi! The Lolla Lounge had VIP shuttles that took concert goers to the other side of the festival in two minutes. The golf cart shuttles were always available and took a secluded route outside the grounds, on the sidewalk along Lake Shore Drive. 

That made it really easy to get across Grant Park to see a concert going on at the same time. I was able to catch Trombone Shorty on the Bud Light stage, and then catch Cage the Elephant on the Samsung Galaxy Stage. 

#4. Toyota Presents, Soundwave with SpinMedia. A tent was set up for SpinMedia bloggers to interview lolla performers and up-and-coming artists.  Fans got up close and personal with musicians and also got to peep the new Toyota Corolla and Yaris. Vic Mensa, Killer Mike, and Royal Blood are just a few acts that stopped by and performed. 

#3. I became a new fan of Phantogram, Rebelution, Chromeo, Fitz & the Tantrums, Royal Blood, and Blood Orange because of their eccentric live shows. These bands are bubbling commercially, some are more underground, but Lolla fans showed them crazy love, packing their shows. 

Check out the full set from Phantogram!  

Check out some of the set from Fitz & the Tantrums! 

#2. Kings of Leon, Avett Brothers, Young the Giant, Cage the Elephant, Foster the People and AFI killed their shows, and had a blast on stage. Fans showed mad love for these headliners, and the artists reciprocated the love by playing amazing sets. 

Check out the full set from Cage the Elephant!  

Check out the live set from the Avett Brothers  at Lollapalooza 2014! 

Check out the full set from Kings of Leon at Lollapalooza 2014 courtesy of @KOLfanpage! 

#1. Outkast

Photo by Will Rice
I’m a huge Outkast fan, so my expectations were high. There was a moment during their concert Saturday, where I had to soak in what I was experiencing: the backup singers donned in black leather and big curly afros belting out hooks and doing the hustle; Andre 3000, who has been sorta absent from the music scene for a few years, singing dressed in a black jumpsuit and blond wig (that’s old Andre like we like him) ; and Big Boi two-stepping with Sleepy Brown;  and I thought, “this isn’t real”, “they can’t be performing all this live,” “This sounds too damn good!”

Photo by Will Rice
This was one of the best Outkast performances I’ve seen, heard of, experienced, anything. The acoustics were on point, the rapping was precise, and the two front men were kicking it on stage as if they’d never left. Outkast did all the best songs from their 6 albums from “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” to “She Lives in My Lap”, even hits from their side projects like “Cryptonite” and “Players Anthem” with UGK. The best part was that the group took fans on a journey from boogying, to hip hop consciousness, to the land of aquemini, then to funky stankonia, down to the love below, with a speakerboxxx party in between.     

Check out the best performance from Outkast you’ll ever see! 
Part 1

Part 2

Honorable Mention 

Malia Obama – She didn’t perform, but the fact that the President’s 16-year-old daughter hung out at Lolla and most people didn’t care lets you know this was one of the coolest festivals in the world.

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About Sommer Thornton

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