Alternative rockers, hip hop, and emo performers bowed down to Sir Paul McCartney on night one of Lollapalooza.
A sea of tens of thousands of fans spread across Grant Park in front of the stage as McCartney played a more than two-hour-long set, pounding out more than 30 songs on both guitar and piano. The songs spanned the 73-year-old’s entire career from the Beatles, to Wings, to a performance of his latest hit, the Rihanna/Kanye West collaboration “Four Five Seconds”.
He briefly paused between songs to tell stories of Jimi Hendrix and playing in Soviet Russia, and dedicated his performance of “Here Today” to former band mate John Lennon. He brought out Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard to help him perform “Get Back”.
Alabama Shakes had performed earlier in the day. Fireworks and flames lit the stage during McCartney’s performance of “Live and Let Die,” and fireworks also burst from the stage and into the full-mooned sky as he closed out the show promptly at 10 p.m.
The Friday headliner brought out not just the young music fans this year, but old as well. Lollapalooza founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell said it was all McCartney’s idea to perform. “You don’t get Paul McCartney to do anything he doesn’t want to do. This was his wish.”
Farrell said McCartney’s performance during the three day concert series along the lakefront just diversifies the crowd even more. It’s a trend he’s been noticing over the last few years even before McCartney was announced.
“We were able to accomplish something that is extremely rare, and that is we were able to span the generations, and bring everyone else together collectively. Where else do you do that?” he noted. “You can be standing by an 18-year-old. You can be standing by a nine-year-old. You can be standing near a 40-year-old. It’s really special.”
Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected for the sold out weekend showcase in Chicago’s Grant Park along the lakefront. Other headliners this weekend include Metallica and Florence and the Machine.
Here is McCartney’s setlist:
“Magical Mystery Tour”
“Got to Get You Into My Life”
“Let Me Roll It”
“Maybe I’m Amazed”
“I’ve Just Seen a Face”
“Four Five Seconds”/”We Can Work It Out”
“And I Love Her”
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”
“Ob La Di Ob La Da”
“Band on the Run”
“Back in the U.S.S.R.”
“Let it Be”
“Live and Let Die”
“Hi Hi Hi”
“Can’t Buy Me Love”
“Carry That Weight”