Following Thursday's opening day of Lollapalooza, the Chicago fest came through on day 2 with an epic Friday, led by Dua Lipa and Machine Gun Kelly, both young stars headlining opposite ends of Grant Park.
There was definitely a younger crowd at the festival on Friday, which probably wouldn't come as much of a surprise, considering the both Dua and MGK, are now pop mainstays, and also both relatively young at 26 and 32, respectively.
The day began with a dazzling pop performance from rising queer singer Jordy, who absolutely lit up the T-Mobile stage where Dua Lipa would later close out, beaming in a green ensemble with his name glowing in rainbow lights. It was a massive debut on the Lolla schedule from the Chicago native, who also noted he had long wanted to perform at the festival.
Later, on the Coinbase stage, pop continued to thrive as Del Water Gap led the way, clearly surrounded by a sea of adoring fans eagerly anticipating every song.
The excitement only continued further, as Wet Leg dominated the Discord stage, offering up their first proper U.S. festival performance, after a short North American tour and SXSW appearance earlier in the spring. Fans were absolu tely roaring as the duo shined in the mid-day sunshine, giving live renditions of their ultra-catchy pop-rock gems, capped by the hit single "Chaise Lounge."
The afternoon intensified as Tinashe took the Coinbase stage and soared. Further standout performances included those from Royal Blood and Muna, both of whom gave incredible live sets.
Then came a massive performance from Glass Animals, priming the T-Mobile stage for headliner Dua Lipa with a dazzling set of their own and an equally giant crowd, a blend of hardcore fans and newcomers, waiting for one particular song. But if there was anyone unsure about the band beforehand, Dave Bayley and Co. certainly won them over.
At one point, Bayley noted Chicago was their No. 1 city of music streams according to their tracking data. "You're my favorite city," he said with a laugh. "Don't tell the other cities!"
He also paused in between songs, telling the audience he was taking in the moment, thanking the swarm of fans for their support.
Of course, the second day came to a close with Machine Gun Kelly on the Bud Light Seltzer stage, giving a wonderful dose of punk-rock-pop, including a guest appearance by none other than the punk-pop queen herself, Avril Lavigne, who has been on tour with MGK.
LOLLAPALOOZA CHICAGO— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) July 30, 2022
HEADLINING THE MAINSTAGE IN FRONT OF 120,000 PEOPLE!!!! 29.07.2022
Last night was a milestone moment for me in my career and i’ve been trying to find the words all morning. I’m so grateful for every stepping stone in this journey that brought me here to… pic.twitter.com/VJsSR8JKP6
But it was arguably Dua Lipa who shined the brightest on day 2, coming full-circle six years after her first appearance in 2016, during the 25th anniversary of Lolla, which was headlined by the likes of Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey and J. Cole, the latter of whom is also headlining this year on Saturday.
"I've been dreaming about this moment ever since I got on that stage at 2 p.m. in 2016," Dua told the crowd during her set on Friday. "And I can't believe I'm here. And I'm looking at all of you. I have so much to thank you for. I'm so grateful that music unites us and gives us this opportunity. Thank you so much for standing by me."
She continued: "I feel like we need to stand by each other more than ever now. Especially at a time like this. And I feel like there's a lot of confusion, and people are constantly wondering why [are] all these crazy things happening in the world, and I think it's incredibly important that we stand in our power, that we stand for what we believe in, that we talk about the things that are important to us."
After a slight pause, she added, perhaps most notably: "I haven't played a show in America since March. I feel like a lot of things have changed since coming back. And I guess what I want to say is, stand up for women's rights."
It was a gem of a moment for an artist who truly stood in her own power as she performed, embodying the very definition of a pop star and proving to be an absolutely worthy headliner. Not just someone selected to fill the time slot or someone who was due the top-line after performing a certain number of times at the fest, but someone who is indeed a star in her own right, someone who can certainly drawn in tens of thousands, someone who is at the very pinnacle of their career with nothing but bright, shining lights ahead.