Lollapalooza 2009, Fleet Foxes, of Montreal, Depeche Mode, Crystal Castles
Lollapalooza 2009 Day One Report, August 7th, 2009
Aug 08, 2009 Web Exclusive Photography by Andrew Reed Weller
No amount of rain or cloud could've obscured the beauty of Chicago's Grant Park on the first day of Lollapalooza, which despite less than welcoming conditions drew tens of thousands of mostly happy, mostly well-behaved music fans. The rain was already tapering off once Fleet Foxes played in the early evening, drawing connoisseurs of majestic mountain pop while Crystal Castles attracted electro heads at the opposite end of the site. Given the hype for both bands in indie circles, there was likely an equal number of hipsters at each stage, but the Fleet Foxes crowd was probably better behaved. The ethereal elegance of their harmonies, combined with warm and cosy folk-pop arrangements and moods ranging from serene to bubbly, imparted an almost zen-like ambiance on the crowd, who remained respectfully silent throughout the show. Satisfying fans and tourists alike with a tight set, the band left the soggy crowd smiling.
Crystal Castles seem to have left a sweaty, dazed mess in their wake, judging from those who lingered at the stage in anticipation of Of Montreal. Conspicuous weed-smoking and even acid-dropping preceded the Athens, GA surrealists' set—a giddy glam-pop tour de force featuring a fleet of costumed performers leaping and gesticulating around the band, as well as neo-psychedelic eye candy on a big screen to the right of the stage. As opposed to last fall's theatrical Skeletal Lamping tour, this was something of a greatest hits set, with material spanning this decade, plus a bonus cover of David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream." Was acid really necessary? Hell no. The band doused us all in ambrosia.
After having to support the weight of way too many crowd surfers near the stage during Of Montreal, it was a pleasure to hang back for the night's headliner, Depeche Mode. Second only to New Order in British synth pop supremacy, the band delivered an appropriately massive performance. Two giant screens flanked the stage and another hung just above, allowing everyone in the vicinity a fabulous view of the band with impressively filmed live footage, and added imagery and SFX bumping the show up to mammoth rock extravaganza. The band played a handful of songs from their latest record (this year's Sounds of the Universe), a couple of which earned a response nearly as enthusiastic as that for the hits, mostly post-'87 material. Thousands of voices joined in for "Enjoy the Silence" and the closer, "Personal Jesus," ending the evening on a spectacularly high note. Singer Dave Gahan's recent health problems were not in evidence during their two-hour set, a triumph all around.
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