As Red Hot Chili Peppers took the big stage at Lollapalooza 2016 on Saturday night, the field was packed shoulder-to-shoulder for as far as you could see as three generations of their fans pressed forward to get a good spot.
While Anthony Kiedis and co. came bearing plenty of goodies from the 21st century (including Stadium Arcadium crowd pleasers and cuts from their brand new album, The Getaway), there was a strange moment halfway through as Flea crept into the 1991 title track to Blood Sugar Sex Magik where a wormhole seemed to open up between the two eras of Lollapalooza.
Twenty-four years ago almost exactly to the day, RHCP was in a Chicagoland outdoor venue, headlining Lollapalooza, romping and stomping through this same music, and a mind-meld of similar fans — some older, some younger — were in rapt attention, shoulder-to-shoulder.
If there was a whiff of nostalgia coming off the Samsung stage on Saturday night, there’s almost no chance it was an accident. Festival founder Perry Farrell stacked the 25th anniversary Lolla’s Saturday night with acts — including his own Jane’s Addiction, headliners of the first Lolla in 1991 — that tickled that the time-space continuum of Lollapalooza history. There may have been a Time Warp gallery tucked between stages, but watching the Chili Peppers lead the thousands through some of the same classics they played back in the day was the real mind fuck.
The 18-song set went on past the normal 10pm curfew, and had all jamming just as happily to 1999’s “Californication” and 2006’s “Dani California,” but everyone knew the night wouldn’t be over until Keidis led the singalong back to “Under The Bridge” and what somehow still stands as their most universal hit, 1991’s “Give It Away.”
Flea’s last funky bass notes floated away as it ended, and the spell was broken.
Want more Lolla? Check out Perry talking about the festival's 25 year history in Fuse's backstage interview in the video player below.