CHICAGO — The speakers boomed the theme from “Star Wars” over the empty expanses of Grant Park, the gates opened, and the kids came on through. They were just a trickle at first, then a heavy flow, and finally a steady surge, sprinting and screaming, kicking clouds of dust up into the air.
Lollapalooza 2010 was officially under way.
And backstage at the Adidas Mega stage — which, conveniently enough, was adjacent to the river of kids — the first performer of the fest was getting ready. But this wasn’t your ordinary curtain jerker; this was [artist id=”3238990″]B.o.B[/artist], possessor of two massive hit singles, a #1 album and five Video Music Awards nominations . So obviously, the kids made a beeline for the stage, set up shop on the guard rail and got ready to get wild.
About this time, B.o.B was exiting his tour bus and making the long walk to the stage. Flanked by his posse, and followed by a crew of cameras, he strutted and laughed — until he got to the gangplank that ramped directly up to the sea of kids. Then the cameras shut off, his posse clammed up, and B.o.B got serious.
As luck would have it, he allowed our crew to follow him up. As his name was announced, he ducked behind the stage, crouched, bobbed his head and prepared himself, like a prize fighter getting ready to go 12 rounds.
Then, he hit the stage. The kids cheered, his cracking live band laid into the groove, and his double-jointed go-go dancers did their stuff. It was red-hot. He played the hits — leading the audience in sing-alongs of “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes” — worked snippets of Vampire Weekend into his tunes and closed with a fabulously funky cover of MGMT’s “Kids.”
And then, as the kids screamed their approval, he threw down his mic and disappeared backstage once again. It was a pretty excellent way to kick off a festival. And a weekend.
Lollapalooza 2010 gets under way Friday — make sure to check out MTV News’ Lollapalooza Live, streaming Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., right here on MTV.com. And follow all of Lollapalooza on the MTV Newsroom blog.