The 10 Best Lollapalooza Sets Of All Time

Let the debate begin!

July 24, 2019
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The 24th iteration of Lollapalooza gets set to take place from July 30-August 2nd as the festival once again descends on Grant Park. 

Related: Lollapalooza 2019 Preview: Lineup Analysis, Surprises, And More

Throughout the history of Lollapalooza, artists have delivered performances of a lifetime endearing fans with musical memories they'll take with forever. 

While we wait to see if Lolla 2020 will yield historic performances, let's take a look at the 10 best Lollapalooza sets of all time.

10.) Beck - Lollapalooza 1995

Beck was fresh off the release of his seminal album Mellow Gold when he played Lollapalooza 1995 with the festival serving as the vehicle to deliver his eccentric genre-bending music to a large audience. While the '95 festival had plenty of great bands (Sonic Youth, Hole, Pavement, etc.), it lacked the star power of previous iterations allowing Beck to step up and steal the show.

9.) Florence & The Machine - Lollapalooza 2012

Few artists are able to capture the complete attention of tens of thousands festival goers without distraction. Florence + The Machine were able to do just that during their 2012 Lollapalooza set. Even more impressive, the band had only two studio albums to date at the time with a 26-year-old Florence Welch leading the charge.

8.) Lady Gaga - Lollapalooza 2007

Perhaps the best fit for the saying "any artist could one day end up as a headliner." In 2007, Lady Gaga played the BMI Stage, a small stage reserved for up-and-coming artists usually in the very beginning of their career. From the moment she took the stage, you could tell she belonged in front of a much larger audience on a much larger stage. In 2010, Lady Gaga headlined Lollapalooza.

7. Chance The Rapper - Lollapalooza 2013

Like Lady Gaga, Chance The Rapper's Lollapalooza career began on the BMI Stage and progressed to the big stage as a Lollapalooza headliner. This is one of those shows that thousands will say they were at with only hundreds actually in attendance. Chance's talent was apparent the moment he hit the stage and it was easy to envision bigger things ahead during this point in his career.

6.) Pearl Jam - Lollapalooza 1992

Pearl Jam's headlining set in 2007 was one for the ages and serves as a nice capstone for what has been an excellent career, but their 1992 set saw a band whose popularity was just launching off to the stratosphere.  The energy and emotion of the band is apparent during this set. 

5.) Jane's Addiction - Lollapalooza 1991

The set that started it all. With Lollapalooza serving as the "farewell tour" for Jane's Addiction, it's an important moment in the festival's history. 

4.) LCD Soundsystem - Lollapalooza 2016

The 2016 headlining slot saw LCD Soundsystem reunite after a five year hiatus and prove there was no rust to shake off. An all-out dance party consumed Grant Park with those in attendance belting out the lyrics to songs they never thought they'd hear live again.

3.) Paul McCartney - Lollapalooza 2015

Perhaps the longest singalong set in Lollapalooza history. Paul McCartney wasn't the first "classic rocker" to appear at the festival, but certainly showed he was as relavent as anyone else playing that year. From Beatles, to Wings, to solo hits, McCartney's 30+ song set will go down as one of the best in Lollapalooza history.

 

2.) Daft Punk - Lollapalooza 2007

Lollapalooza had dabbled in electronica before, but this set kicked off the trend of booking more and more electronic artists and arguably caused the meteoric rise in EDM music. An incredible multimedia display of music, lights, and stage design wowed all those in attendance leaving a lasting impact on the festival in a way few other sets have.

1.) Radiohead - Lollapalooza 2008

Radiohead had just released their pay what you want album In Rainbows less than a year before their headlining Lollapalooza set. The timing couldn't have been more perfect as Radiohead was at the height of the storied career performing classics in new and innovative ways alongside songs from their transformative new album. It was all capped off with fireworks going off while the band played "Fake Plastic Trees." Tears may have been shed.

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