Robert Smith of The Cure (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Robert Smith of The Cure (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

For Lollapalooza’s closing night, The Cure wasn’t interested in chitchat. Robert Smith knows that you want him to just shut up and sing. And that’s exactly what he did.

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The band filled their two-hour set with the hits, 26 of them to be exact, including “Pictures Of You,” “Lovesong,” “Fascination Street” and the set-closing “Boys Don’t Cry.”

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Yes, the band has a lightshow, but it’s minimal and anything but showy. They just rely on the strength of their songs, which even after more than 20 years still strike a chord with their audience.

Robert Smith of The Cure (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

Robert Smith of The Cure (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

Smith has always had a way with words. A way of making you feel like he just gets it, whether he’s professing his adoration on “Friday I’m In Love” or singing about the one who got away on “Just Like Heaven.” Smith has always been able to meld his sad lyrics with a happy-go-lucky beat that often confuses people into thinking The Cure are a lot more optimistic than they really are. He does it so well, in fact, that “Pictures Of You” is more than a few couple’s wedding song.

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The English goth-rockers are more than happy to play their hits, not looking to add much else to their stellar discography. They’re the rare band that would rather not overstay their welcome or capitalize too much on the nostalgia factor. The Cure is just good at what they do. That doesn’t make them especially interesting, but as a fan, you can’t help but appreciate them for being one of the few acts who aren’t trying to compete with their past. – Shannon Carlin


Thomas Mars of Phoenix (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

Thomas Mars of Phoenix (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

From the looks of migration patterns, many had the same idea as this reporter: Watch Robert Smith feeeeel before shimmying across Grant Park to catch Phoenix’s dance party. In the past, Sunday’s headliner has been thought to be the top dog amongst the Lollapalooza headliners; that honor was, in theory, meant for to The Cure. Phoenix, though a relative newcomer in the American festival headlining game, put up the fight of their lives, and they didn’t even need R. Kelly or Daft Punk to do it. Certainly Kellz would have gotten the hometown crowd going, but he just played Pitchfork two weeks ago and it’s a Sunday, he was probably watching True Blood or something. (Or, as the Phoenix guys told earlier in the day, they don’t like to repeat their stunts.)

“Usually on Sunday nights people are really tired,” frontman Thomas Mars said, seemingly dumbfounded at the crowd rowdiness. “But not you… Chicago, you are different.”

Even old songs — ie, pre-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix songs — elicited spirited reactions; knowing the songs was secondary — it was time to dance. Basking in blue and pink strobes, fans were as entranced by “Rome” as they were “1901,” “Lisztomania” and “Entertainment.” The Postal Service could stand to learn a few things about what it means to headline a festival as an electropop act and still rock out quite hard. (Oh, well, nevermind now.)

Thomas Mars of Phoenix crowdsurfing (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

Thomas Mars of Phoenix crowdsurfing (Courtesy of Lollapalooza)

The set kept building and building until it actually exploded. Mars ran through the audience all the way past the sound tent, but his method for getting back was to crowdsurf. Standard enough, until it became clear that to Mars, crowdsurfing meant to tumble across fans instead of being carried by them. In a mesmerizing feat, Mars rolled and rolled until he reached the front, his face and unmentionables likely being smushed repeatedly. The 30-something frontman emerged from the pit victorious, having connected with the crowd in more ways than one. – Jillian Mapes

If you made smart undergarment decisions, you might feel old and out of place at a Major Lazer show. It’s twerk this and twerk that, all butt cheeks and neon bras. At a certain point, giving in is necessary; casual listeners may find this to be during “Pon De Floor” (thanks, Beyonce). But either way, it’s a set that’s driven by pure hedonism. Looking deceptively proper in a brown suit, Diplo lead his #expressyourself twerk-off/butt contest, and most of the participants were skinny white teenagers in mom jean cut-offs. Not sure who won, but the men seemed to like her, by the sounds of their cheers. – Jillian Mapes


Jeremy D. Larson/

Angel Haze backstage (Jeremy D. Larson/

Angel Haze told in an interview after her show that she has never seen a rap show. Like, ever. It sort of makes sense when you look at Haze’s precocious entry into the rap world, spiting out double-time tongue backpack workouts diametrically opposed so much of what sells in rap today. Haze puts a sharp focus on lyricism and personal struggle. She is singular, but never insular — and certainly when she’s on stage she looks like a seasoned performer who’s studied the moves of the best frontpeople. She played to and into the crowd, as she took her wireless mic through the CamelBack’d fans and performed the entirety of her early hit single, “New York,” all with an unknown uber-fan hanging on her shoulder the entire time. The Brooklyn rapstress premiered three songs from her forthcoming debut LP Dirty Gold on Perry’s Stage, including her next single “Echelon.” With a live drummer — de rigueur at 75 percent of Lollapalooza’s rap shows — it was hard to tell what kind of production the song was going for other than “furious” or “fire,”  but Haze was there to keep the crowd hype. Girl did she. – Jeremy D. Larson


Tegan and Sara (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Tegan and Sara (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Tegan Quin and sister Sara were very interested in making the crowd dance during their afternoon set. Before their song “Alligator,” Tegan even asked the crowd if they would show off their moves, this way not to make her sis cry. The crowd obliged and no tears were shed. The twin duo stormed through songs like “Hop A Plane,” “Where Does The Good Go,” “Back In Your Head” and hit “Closer,” off their most recent album, Heartthrob. They also helped their fans learn a little bit of sign language, having a translator up front who showed her passion for Tegan & Sara’s words. – Shannon Carlin


Jeremy D. Larson/

Skaters (Jeremy D. Larson/

Skaters brought their bratty brand of punk to Lollapalooza and helped a whole generation of men feel better about their two left feet. The New York City band, who can’t seem to shake The Strokes comparisons, played their viral hit, “I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How),” along with other songs that have that same sweet rough around the edges style that yes, makes you wanna dance. – Shannon Carlin


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