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Lady Gaga wearing her "disco ball" bra. It's the same handmade costume piece she wore during her sparsely attended side-stage appearance at the festival in 2007. Her performance had a strong motivational-speaker theme that hit its most personal note when she told her teeming fans about making the bra by hand and using it at her first Lollapalooza set, framing the story as a portrait in perseverance. (She definitely doesn't lack an ego.) Then she brought out her old tour DJ and they did a choreographed head-banging dance while her band covered an old Metallica song.
The look on the faces of a pack of cops as B-Real announced that Cypress Hill were hitting a bong onstage. The CPD could fund itself by giving rappers lessons in looking like you don't give a fuck.
The sweaty throngs at Perry's stage. Even the people who write Lollapalooza's ad copy barely try to push the idea of the festival as a meaningful, if temporary, utopian community of music lovers anymore. If I'm going to be part of a tribe, I don't think it'll be the same one as the middle-aged guy I encountered near one of the beer tents, who was carrying a box of Cohibas and calling his bro a pussy for not smoking. This year the exception to that absence of community feeling was yet again the dance-music stage, Perry's, where people oblivious to the heat wild the fuck out together in a way that's hard not to compare to the more PLUR-y vibes of the old rave scene. My companion noted that it was the only place in the whole massive festival where people seemed to be having fun, as opposed to looking like they were on a death march.
Erykah Badu's mohawk. And her combat boots. And the fact that they may have been intended as a tribute to Lolla's 90s alt roots.
The sign language interpreter for Soundgarden. A lot of fans find the people signing lyrics from the side of the stage during festival sets strange and confusing, and sometimes having someone in front of you broadly gesturing along to the music can be distracting. In the case of the woman doing signing duties for Soundgarden's set, this was a blessing. The band's performance, like their music, was joyless and plodding, but her balls-out interpretive style, heavy on rock power moves, injected some actual fun into the set. At least someone on the stage looked like they were happy to be there.