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Lollapalooza Friday review: Black Sabbath, M83 impress on fest's opening day

M83 thrilled the Lollapalooza Friday crowd with "Midnight City"
M83 thrilled the Lollapalooza Friday crowd with "Midnight City"
Scott Shetler

The scorching hard rock of legendary band Black Sabbath proved to be the highlight of Day 1 of Lollapalooza in Chicago, while Metric, M83 and Passion Pit also won over the crowds.

Formed in 1969 and led by Ozzy Osbourne, Sabbath are considered perhaps the greatest metal band of all-time. But the group hasn't toured much in recent years with its original lineup, which made Friday's show a treat.

Founding drummer Bill Ward did not participate in the show, but his replacement was on fire, delivering one of the most impressive drum solos we've seen in a long time and setting the pace for songs like "War Pigs" and "Electric Funeral."

Osbourne, who made a mockery of the concert the last time we saw Sabbath perform in 2001 by constantly running around the stage and spraying the audience with a Super Soaker, was much more professional this time around and his voice actually sounded strong. The only time things got a little weird - aside from the fact that he wore a black shirt with a bedazzled cross - was when Osbourne started his own chant for an encore. Aren't fans supposed to do that for you, Ozzy?

Ozzy's performance, combined with the fierce guitar of Tony Iommi, gave fans a terrific nearly two-hour show from the band that culminated with an encore of "Paranoid."

The electropop of M83 was another highlight at Lollapalooza Friday, as the band brought down the house with "Midnight City" and its lengthy sax solo. M83 even impressed with their instrumental songs, a rare achievement in the world of music festivals.

Passion Pit's hand-clapping pop-rock sound was vibrant and engaging. So were the pop sounds of Metric, who showed off the best tracks from their new album "Synthetica."

Elsewhere, South African hip-hop troupe Die Antword were over-the-top and kind of ridiculous, but they were unquestionable crowd-pleasers; American Idol finalist Haley Reinhart delivered a nice set of jazzy retro pop with her mom and sister on backing vocals; both Michael Kiwanuka and Sharon Van Etten were technically sound, though their music was a little too sleepy for the hot day; and dance-pop singer Dev disappointed when she did little more than sing along to a backing track.

Saturday's lineup is headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while Frank Ocean, Calvin Harris, Fun and B.o.B are among the other big names taking the stage.

Check out more of my Chicago live music articles.


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