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Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey Close Out Lollapalooza 2023

Lollapalooza 2023 is a wrap. During the festival’s fourth and final day, rain continued to soak Chicago’s Grant Park. Thankfully, by headlining time, the bad weather had subsided, but not before leaving plenty of puddles for festival attendees to navigate and slippery mud all around. 

It wouldn’t have been a proper Lollapalooza without hometown rapper Chance the Rapper popping up at some point during the weekend. He did just that during Joey Bada$$’s set earlier on Sunday evening, performing “No Problem” and “The Highs & the Lows.”

A few hours later, headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lana Del Rey closed out the festival. Other highlights from the day included Rina Sawayama, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and more. Here’s a roundup of the best sets from Lollapalooza 2023’s final day.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Show Why They’re Perpetual Fest Favorites

If you’re looking to book the quintessential festival band, it’s hard to top Red Hot Chili Peppers. With four decades under their belt, the Lollapalooza alums bring a set stacked with crowd-pleasing hits. They also fit Lolla’s recent closing-night run of legacy rock draws, following Green Day in 2022 and Foo Fighters in 2021. And draw they did: The muddy south end of Grant Park was packed, though as the show progressed, people began streaming out, creating a little bit of breathing room around the main headliner field. 

RHCP are proficient and seamless when it comes to revving-up a crowd, from their well-curated set list to their congenial banter and party tricks. Flea did an impressive handstand in a T-shirt and underwear to kick things off and later appeared to defy gravity; meanwhile, Anthony Kiedis’ scat-to-sung vocals were as choice as always. While they played a couple songs from their 12th and 13th studio album, 2022’s Unlimited Love (“Aquatic Mouth Dance,” “Black Summer”) and Return of the Dream Canteen (“Carry Me Home”) they gave fans what they craved with a set focused on festival-favorite hits like “Scar Tissue,” “By the Way,” and “Dani California.” Saving two hallmark songs from their 32-year-old hallmark Blood Sugar Sex Magik for the finale, they closed out their set and Lolla 2023 with the one-two punch of “I Could’ve Lied” and “Give It Away.” —A.L.

Lana Del Rey Teaches a Masterclass in Quiet Melodrama

Lana Del Rey started fashionably late. Her six-minute delay was nothing like her recent Glastonbury debacle, though, as a stylist continued working on her updo as she began to sing. While she opened with an excerpt of new single “A&W” into “Young and Beautiful,” the crowd was glowing — literally, from everyone filming at once. Del Rey is a romantic, melodramatic presence onstage, a forlorn vocalist whose voice dredges up memories deep and personal within you. Her headlining set did so by pulling heavily from both her 2012 major-label debut, Born to Die, and Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, her newest album and 10th overall. 

As backup dancers in blue dresses twirled through choreo and an expansive band with backup vocalists poised on a massive illuminated staircase, Del Rey moved like a porcelain doll, hesitant and rigid. That quality — a part of her much-debated SNL debut that hasn’t changed all that much over the years — feels now like a convincing demand for the audience’s attention: Move too fast, sing too loudly, and you might miss her subtleties. She provided a true headliner spectacle in a subversive way, giving a show that paid off for the fans who’d camped up front all day in squished conditions and the latecomers spilling out of Grant Park’s north end into the middle concourse. —N.C.

Pinch Hitters Alvvays Deliver

About a week before Lollapalooza kicked off their 2023 edition, the festival announced that Alvvays would play in lieu of the band Gabriels — good news for any Chicago-area fans, since Alvvays had just performed at Pitchfork Music Festival a couple of weekends beforehand. On Sunday at Lolla, the Canadian pinch-hitters proved a worthy addition to the lineup, with songs such as the wistful opener “Pharmacist,” “Very Online Guy,” and “Velveteen” — all off of 2022’s Blue Rev, their first album since 2017 — injecting some delightful indie-pop shimmer into an otherwise rain-drenched, gloomy day. –A.L.

Lil Yachty Brings His Psych-Rock Makeover to the Big Stage

Lil Yachty turned away from the playful trap that made his name for this year’s much-discussed psych-rock pivot Let’s Start Here, and he seemed happy to use Lollapalooza as an opportunity to reintroduce himself onstage. Although older cuts appeared, like “One Night” or  “From the D to the A,” the rest of his set list matched the acid-trip effects filtering his camera close-ups: live-band renditions of “We Saw the Sun,” “Drive Me Crazy!,” and his remix of Tame Impala’s “Breathe Deeper.” Even the warbly, unnerving vocals of “Poland” fit the neo-psychedelic mood. “Everybody shut the fuck up and start dancing,” Lil Yachty yelled, seemingly not used to fans vibing out instead of raging along. So he caved, breaking into “Split/Whole Time” for a crowd that delivered the jumping, shouting, and water bottle-throwing mood he missed. —N.C.

Joey Bada$$ Gets Nostalgic and So Does His Crowd

After opening with All-Amerikkan Bada$$ cuts “Temptation” and “For My People,” Joey Bada$$ rolled out a handful of tracks from his recent album 2000, the spiritual sequel to his debut mixtape 1999. “We reminiscing like it’s all we know,” he rapped on “Where I Belong.” Considering the response to the range of songs he picked for his set, a little bit of nostalgia at a music festival was the right way to go. His modern spin on Nineties hip-hop — exacerbated by his outfit, an oversized white shirt over extra-baggy pants — was a refreshing alternative to much of the lineup. His set at one point even prompted two separate mosh pits for ecstatic pogoers. For his 2017 single “Love Is Only a Feeling,” which he dedicated to “all the lovers,” thousands of hands curled into hearts bouncing in the air. —N.C.

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Shares the Shine

“Dreams do come fucking true!” A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie told his mainstage crowd. Like several of the artists on this year’s lineup, he’d performed at Lollapalooza before; five years after his debut, he was finally moving up to the big stage. It was a well-deserved spot for the Bronx rapper, whose melodic style on songs such as “Swervin” got people dancing and brought a good vibe to the muddy south end of Grant Park. He also gave another artist space to shine: He invited surprise guest Lola Brooke, a fellow New Yorker, onstage to perform her song “Don’t Play With It.” —A.L.


Pop Goes Bigger, Darker, and Queerer in the Hands of Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama wants to reimagine how far pop can go. She’s not just about hitting high notes or outfit changes — although the Japanese-British musician did both things at Lollapalooza, the latter an impressive five times. For her, it’s about weaving nu-metal, house, and alt-rock into the sound to show that nearly everything has the potential to be catchy in her hands. She invigorated songs from Sawayama and Hold the Girl with powerhouse vocals and creative choreography to match: boxing-match tumbles, intrusive newspapers, break-up make-out sessions. Right before concluding with an extra-campy version of “This Hell,” Sawayama, who is pansexual, cracked open a cold one and turned the beer’s label to face the camera. “I stand by what Bud Light says about queer people,” she said, flashing a bonafide pop-star grin. “Cheers, babe. Trans rights are not just for Pride Month.” —N.C.

DPR Ian and DPR Live Prove the Collective’s Allure Is Still Alive

Dream Perfect Regime was a South Korean hip-hop collective with a melodic pop emphasis that, much like Odd Future or A$AP Mob, spawned solo careers after disbanding in 2015. Two of those members joined forces on Sunday night: DPR Ian and DPR Live. All big-stage charm with small-stage intimacy, both artists performed solo songs on their own — “Nerves” and “Calico” for DPR Ian, “Jasmine” and “Hula Hoops” for DPR Live — before teaming up for tracks such as “Boom.” Based on the harmonious voices of fans singing along in the audience and the phones that appeared to never stop filming, getting to see either member live — never mind both of them — was a surreal moment of starstruck joy. “Me and Ian? We’re only getting started,” swore DPR Live. “Next time we’re at Lolla, we’re headlining, all right?” —N.C.

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