Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 day one: Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples & Jeff Tweedy perform (Photo: Windy City Rock)
Even with two days of Lollapalooza 2010 left to go, I think it's safe to say that Friday afternoon's performance by Windy City gospel legend Mavis Staples will be lauded by many as the greatest of this year. In fact, in my opinion her performance was one of the best I've seen at any installment of Lollapalooza to date.

The 71-year-old singer's set was nothing short of exquisite. The sheer power of her husky, emotive vocals combined with her heartfelt delivery elevated the material from simply songs to spiritual experiences. Much of the setlist pulled from her forthcoming album You Are Not Alone (produced by another one of Chicago's finest musical talents, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco) and from the sound of it we are in for a special treat September 14 when the record is released. From the heart-wrenching title track to the universally relatable "Only the Lord Knows" to the joyful, upbeat "I Belong to the Band," Staples truly sold the material and had the audience in the palm of her hand.

Much to the crowd's excitement, Tweedy came on stage as a special surprise to play guitar on two tracks. It was beyond cool to see two such respected, talented Chicago artists performing together. It was apparent they genuinely care for one another and the art they have created together. Plus, Staples came across as humble, good-humored and genuinely appreciative of the love she received from the crowd, making the experience even more special.

I'd expect that anyone who decided to stop by the Budweiser stage for this performance won't forget it any time soon.

Mavis Staples setlist:
1. Wonderful Savior
2. Only the Lord Knows
3. Too Close to Heaven/I'm on My Way to Heaven Anyhow
4. You Are Not Alone
5. I Belong to the Band
6. The Weight
7. Wrote a Song for Everyone
8. Creep Along, Moses
9. Freedom Highway
10. I'll Take You There

More photos after the jump

Photo: Windy City Rock
Photo: Windy City Rock
Photo: Windy City Rock
Photo: Windy City Rock

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