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5 Unforgettable Lollapalooza Moments

Jeff Gentner, Getty Images

Music fans often gripe that large-scale summer festivals are nothing more than exhausting, expensive, cruddy-sounding ways to see a handful of favorite bands. While this isn’t entirely untrue, some fests foster once-in-a-lifetime musical moments, and Lollapalooza certainly falls into this category. We’re taking a look back at 5 Unforgettable Lollapalooza Moments — performances that still have us saying, “Remember that time…”


Jim James Goes Muppet



When they rolled into Lolla 2007, My Morning Jacket were still establishing their legend and had not yet gained recognition as one of the world’s best contemporary live rock bands. Although they closed their set with Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Move On Up,’ the best MMJ-related cover came earlier in the day, when singer Jim James appeared unannounced on the Kidzapalooza stage armed only with a banjo and his incomparable croon. James treated the lucky youngsters to a rendition of the Kermit the Frog classic ‘Rainbow Connection.’ Next time you see “???’s” on a festival schedule, make sure you hit up that stage. These are the kinds of things that happen.



Foos Get Wet & Wild



The biggest enemy to any music festival — outside of dehydration, ironically enough — is the rain. Fifteen minutes into Foo Fighters‘ headlining set in 2011, the band was forced to take cover. Fans squirmed in their mud-coated shoes, hoping for the best, and 15 minutes later, Dave Grohl and co. returned, wet as their fans and ready to make the most of it. The result? A transcendent set that’s part of both Lolla and Foos lore. Just listen to that crowd when the band returns with ‘My Hero.’



Gaga Goes Surfing



If you’re compiling a list of outrageous Lollapalooza moments, you’ve got to include this, one of the more punk rock moves in the fest’s history, courtesy of Lady Gaga. In 2010, right after her meteoric rise to stardom, the ever-evolving musical provocateur took some time out to catch friends Semi Precious Weapons’ midday set. What came next might be described as a bodyguard’s worst nightmare, as Gaga launched herself from the stage and into the groping masses. It was the pop queen’s Iggy Pop moment.



Iggy Gets Swarmed



Speaking of Iggy, it’s hard to imagine Mr. Raw Power uttering the phrase, “OK, now we have to calm down.” But that’s exactly what happened at Lollapalooza 2007, after a swarm of over-amped fans rushed the stage during the Stooges’ set. The band works through ‘No Fun’ as everyone on stage seems to be having the time of their lives, but then even Iggy becomes overwhelmed by the crush. Apparently, even rock legends face the classic problem of having too many guests crash the party.



Band of Horses Rise Above



Sometimes things just don’t work out the way they should at music festivals. When the legendary Lou Reed started his set late at Lolla ’09, Band of Horses got pushed back and later found themselves drowned out by Jane’s Addiction. But when life hands BoH singer Ben Bridwell lemons, he makes alt-rock lemonade, and in the video below, he rallies his band mates and the crowd for a powerful closing passage.


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