As Metallica frontman James Hetfield graced the stage at Lollapalooza to close out day two — with fans eager to mosh — he wasted no time getting to the hits that have made the band a heavy metal staple since the 1980s.
“We’re here to make you feel better,” Hetfield told thousands in the crowd. “This music makes me feel good.”
That music made a bunch of people happy, especially at least 100 fans whowon places on stage behind the band. Most were wearing their best Metallica apparel — many from all stages of the band’s career.
It was another nostalgic win for Lollapalooza, as fans chose between a heavy metal band who have been around since 1981, Swedish DJ Alesso at the EDM-friendly Perry’s Stage, and the award-winning pop newcomer Sam Smith on the North side of Grant Park.
From “Master of Puppets” — the crowd screaming “Master” — to a soul crushing version of “The Unforgiven,” the band enjoyed every second on stage. Guitarist Kirk Hammett wowed the crowd with his guitar prowess, which hasn’t changed a bit. Lars Ulrich drummed up a storm with adoring fans standing just feet behind him. Bassist Robert Trujillo also showed off his talented range — earlier making a rare appearance at the Kidzapalooza stage.
As “Enter Sandman” filled the air, there’s no doubt fanshad flashbacks to the 1990s, in an era filled with plenty of good guitar rock.
About an hour before headliners took their places, fans took in Kid Cudi — a rapper and singer who gained the attention of Kanye West early on his career. Cudi’s stage was packed brim to brim — perhaps in part with fans trying to stake out a good spot for Smith.
Cudi opened his set with “Revofev,” as fans sang along. He danced across the stage wearing a Pixies T-shirt. As he sang “Marijuana” he took a seat on the stage, perhaps taking it all in.His show seemedintimate for such a big audience, with just two musicians backing him.
Earlier, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit screamed, jumped and rocked out during a rousing evening set. An homage to Paul McCartney’s epic headlining set a night earlier, the band rewarded the crowd with a cover of “Don’t Let Down” with Georgia rocker T. Hardy Morris, whose unique voice caught the crowd’s attention. It was a fair warning to fans who weren’t checking out the side stages. Show up and you’ll hear some good music.