As the first sun drenched day of the 20th anniversary of Lollapalooza dwindled down into the late afternoon, two stellar live bands of very diverse genres took stage. Though both groups could be classified as rock, one is of the Pop vein while the other is from the Hard metal branch of music.
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A Perfect Circle began performing in 1999 and released their first album Mer de Noms in 2000. In 2003 the band released the smash album Thirteenth Step and followed up a year later with eMOTIVe, which consisted primary of covers. The band is off and on, dependent on various members commitments to other bands.
A Perfect Circle
Taking the stage with a glorious gold sparkling symbol of A Perfect Circle were the group of that very name. While bands that play miniature pianos are a dime a dozen on the Indie scene these days, “Annhilation” sounded fuller and more dreary with the that tiny chime intertwined throughout the song. The second song the band laid down was a warped heroin-chic version of John Lennon‘s ‘Imagine’ that seemed more like a bad trip down the rabbit hole than a romp through a happy fantasy land. Fire red braided long locks swayed back and forth over Maynard James Keenan‘s police uniform as the lead vocalist of Tool and APC howled his signature powerhouse vocals.
‘Weak and powerless‘ sounded like a trippy pop feast compared to the longer versions of Depeche Mode‘s ‘People are people’ which was so much their own it was difficult to decipher as a cover except for the lyrics. ‘The Outsider‘ sounded like an AC/DC grinding sex machine. Trip-rock version of ‘California‘ heated things up. After an intense version of ‘The Package‘ fans screamed ‘APC’, to which Keenan replied ‘I don’t mean to correct you, but I think it’s ABC, just saying…’. Slowing it back down again at the end with “Passive“, this was an roller coaster ride marking a beautifully intricate and intense set.
UK’s Pop rock band Coldplay was formed in 1996 by lead singer Chris Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland while attending University. Once known as Starfish then becoming Coldplay officially in 1998, these Brits have won 7 Grammy awards, countless MTV & Brit awards, and have numerous number one hits.
Having never played Lollapalooza, Coldplay kicked the set off with a jolt. Playing ‘Yellow’ early on in the set with lighting of the same color washing over them seemed to successfully suck everyone right in. Martin chimes ‘it’s taken us 20 years to get to Lolla’ as the band slammed on.
“Big fish” sounded good for a very basic pop song but just as you may feel some ‘camp’ coming through their vanilla music, the mood shifts. The air hung heavy as “The Scientist” was a heartbreaking song poetically performed. Say what you will about Coldplay’s commercial pop treadmill of lighter fare, but their heavy hits are solid and timeless.
‘Life is for Living‘ ended with the audience serenading the group with melodic harmonies, which Martin cut short as the group went into a encore, which was a slightly sluggish, bass heavy, ‘Clocks‘. Martin sang a tacky mellow intro version of Amy Whinehouse‘s ‘Rehab‘ song, with his organ being the only accompaniment, which sounded like a morbid eulogy. His message was direct as he spun it into ‘Fix u’. Mini-fireworks dotted the sky as Coldplay wrapped up their first Lolla with a solid performance of mostly pop light tunes.