Paul McCartney is headlining Lollapalooza 2015. That is perhaps the most monumental music news of the past twenty years. Rather, it might be if Paul McCartney was being billed as former-Beatle Paul McCartney, instead of that English guy with the really nice voice who is on that record with Rihanna and Kanye West. Still, McCartney will perform an amazing set. If the audience can suppress its anticipation for "FourFiveSeconds" long enough to enjoy the artist in their presence, they will bear witness to living history. Lollapalooza is quite good at presenting such things. Headliners in 'paloozas past, and a number of surprise "supporting bands" have given performances for the ages. All noteworthy, here are a few of the significant standouts:
The inaugural Lollapalooza occurred in 1991. Prolific punk, funk, ska band Fishbone was at that historic kick-off concert, and did Jane's Addiction promoter Perry Farrell, and their own reputation, proud. As intriguing and entertaining as a Fishbone album maybe, they are an entirely different and raucous animal on stage. Despite unseasonable summer heat in San Francisco (seems contradictory, huh?), Angelo Moore and the Fisher brothers were classically and categorically relentless. Thrilling loyal followers in intimate to semi-private venues for years, Fishbone proved they could handle, and dominate the grand stage.
A number of bands, like Fishbone, are a delight to listen to, but are otherworldly in person. George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars are another such band. Clinton's contribution to the 1994 effort can be said to have kept the concert tour alive, as a number of headliners, i.e., Green Day, Nirvana and Cypress Hill, missed several dates to appear at the contemporary Woodstock, and for personal reasons (see Nirvana).
A widespread, massively attended spectacle like Lollapalooza can be a daunting endeavor for even the most established of artists, though Feist's 2006 foray must have felt like a job interview in a foreign language. With an Apple iPod commercial as her most noteworthy success to date, Feist had to compete for a share of the audience with the likes of Kanye West, Cold War Kids, The Flaming Lips and Gnarls Barkley (he was kind of a big deal in '06).
More than130 bands took to the eight stages of the 2014 edition of Lollapalooza. Whether or not this spectacle put the mega concert back on the map, it certainly reignited interest in a program that many previously accused of going stale. Kings of Leon, Eminem, Spoon, New Order, Cage the Elephant, Lorde, Calvin Harris and a slew of other tremendous performers closed the book on the 2013 shows, which had notably few. Lollapalooza has indeed bounced back, and whether Paul McCartney will be appropriately received at this year's extravaganza, showgoers are again in store for some legendary performances.