Lollapalooza 2021 - Day One Highlights - Miley Cyrus, Orville Peck, Aly & AJ, Post Animal, Black Pumas, and Christian French
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Lollapalooza, it feels so good to be back.
"You are attending the largest music festival in the world, in Chicago, the greatest music capital in the world," said Lori Lightfoot to a delighted audience, right before presenting Black Pumas.
Day one of Lollapalooza 2021, in the heart of the Windy City, kicked off with clear blue skies, a beautiful lakefront breeze and music in the air.
JBTV Alumni, Post Animal, began their soundcheck 11:30am at the Tito's stage to a crowd with rock n roll getup and colorful hair. There were sleepy eyes when 12:30 rolled around. Suddenly "Gelatin Mode" started, and the crowd started pushing to the front. This band stays true to their roots and utilizes the power of their instruments in creating that raging vibe this crowd needed.
Who said rock n roll was dead?
Christian French was a real crowd pleaser and a genuine pop-star. At 12:15pm at the Lakeshore Drive stage. Adoring fans ran from Tito's to the other side. He grooved through the stage and worked the front row as he performed a notable new hit "Avalanche" and "Good Things Take Time" among many.
Former Disney stars were coincidentally a focal point of day one of Lolla. The T-Mobile stage laid vacant until Aly & AJ hit the stage. They played through songs off their new album that sets the record for longest title, "a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun." The beachy, indie vibes of this album swayed through the crowd. It was clear that the audience was new to the music, but they responded with genuine admiration. A highlight of their new album was "Personal Cathedrals," which felt holy and peaceful in the midst of all the festival chaos. The bliss was broken as the crowd screamed into a frenzy as they ended their set with the explicit version of "Potential Breakup Song.
The audience proved to be incredibly diverse. Talking to audience members, there were fans that came from Texas, New Orleans, Baltimore, Southern Illinois, Florida, Seattle, etc, and T-Mobile was their hot spot for the night.
Following Aly & AJ there was Orville Peck, who switched all the pop vibes from the early day to a real country croon. I wasn't sure how well Chicago would respond to country music, but his stage presence, powerful voice and showmanship proved earned him the title as one of the major favorites of the festival season. I watched an audience member cry as he performed "Roses are Falling."
That was when Lori Lightfoot came out and did a speech, before declaring Black Pumas the greatest artist of Lollapalooza who "has a mix of Rock, R&B, Jazz, and everything." She was not wrong in the slightest. Black Pumas carried through his set with the single most powerful voice that reverberated from a mile away. From "Next to You" to "Mrs. Postman" and "Black Moon Rising," it was impossible to pick a favorite.
Throughout the festival day, it was impossible to know who the best artist was, not that there should be. Until Miley Cyrus went on, that fact was indisputable. She shined on stage, literally, in her custom made Gucci romper, covered in red rhinestones, with knee high boots that looked covered in diamonds on stage. Miley was reminiscent to Joan Jett with her rocker attitude, but she also shined like a true queen superstar.
It is impossible to describe which part of her set was the best because it was riveting through and through. She opened her set with "Can't Stop" to an audience genuinely shocked to see her. Other notable originals were "Malibu" and "See You Again, " but you can't be Miley without equally chart topping covers. She covered "Where is my Mind" by the Pixies, "Heart of Glass" by Blondie and "Bang Bang" by Nancy Sinatra.
To a stunned audience, in came Billy Idol to help Miley perform "White Wedding." The star-power alone was phenomenal. But she could not perform in front of Chicago without performing "23," alongside special guest Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa, with a tweking Benny the Bull dancing in front of a screaming audience. Through the flash of her songs there were also a promise that she kept for her Instagram fans that she fulfilled: showing undying support for Britney Spears and the #freebritney movement. The words flashed across the screen right as she performed "SMS (Bangerz)".
It all sounds crazy, but that didn't even cover all the details of her set, not to mention that this was only day one. The diversity of fans and music genres is what made Thursday truly special, and the chart topping performances set an incredibly high standard for the remainder of the weekend.
Until tomorrow, Chicago!