CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hip-hop superstar Kanye West and industrial rock legends Nine Inch Nails on Sunday put exclamation points on a successful Lollapalooza music festival on Chicago’s lakefront.
The acts headlined the final night of the three-day celebration, billed as the nation’s largest alternative music festival.
Sell-out crowds of 75,000 packed Chicago’s sunny Grant Park each day, with fans at times sprinting between eight stages stretching over a mile to catch up with their favorites.
British art-rock superstars Radiohead had prime time all to themselves on Friday, but festival-goers faced some hard choices on the other two nights.
On Sunday, multiple Grammy winner West, the charismatic native son of Chicago, went up against NIN and the intense Trent Reznor, for 20 years the band’s creative force.
Clad in white jacket and oversized eyewear, West played an energetic 90-minute set that featured crowdstoppers “Homecoming,” “Touch the Sky” and “Jesus Walks.”
Across the park, Reznor, in black from head to toe and drenched in sweat, electrified the crowed with the weekend’s best light show and music ranging from contemplative to dissonant and angry.
On Saturday, Los Angeles rap-metal masters Rage Against the Machine delivered a muscular, anarchistic performance that raised the festival’s energy — and danger — level.
Hundreds of ticketless fans broke down fenced barriers and rushed the grounds as mounted police massed outside. A number of fans were ejected for moshing in front of the stage.
Singer Zack de la Rocha urged calm. “Five or six steps, brothers and sisters. Please! Please step back!”
Medics reported treating broken bones and several concussions incurred by fans trampled in the melee.
Although overshadowed by Rage, long-time fans of Wilco described the Chicago band’s competing performance on Saturday as among its best ever.
Frontman Jeff Tweedy and company performed a rocking set in rhinestone-covered country and western suits.
Throwback funk-soul ensemble Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings brought a touch of class to proceedings on Saturday.
Jones, 52, reveled in her mid-life shot at fame and evoked icons Tina Turner and James Brown.
“When I’m on this stage, you know this is my home,” said Jones, who spent years working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island, a large New York jail, before breaking into the business in the mid-1990s.
Overall more than 120 bands and artists performed at the festival. Genres ranged from punk-influenced Irish-American band Flogging Molly to Amadou and Mariam, blind Afro-pop blues singers from Mali.
A traveling summer party in the 1990s, Lollapalooza was revived in Chicago in 2005 and is contracted to stay in the Windy City until 2011.