“Everybody! It’s great to see y’all,” Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell said after walking onstage. “Y’all, it’s great to be back at Lollapalooza.”
What followed was an hour of what the band does best: Southern rock full of loss and catharsis. You know, there’s something triumphant about coming through the other side, not unscathed but better for it.
Bridwell and the band started off with what I believe was a new song and it was one of the best of the hour-long set. With lines such as “looks like the ride is going slow” and a melody carried by Ryan Monroe on keys, it fit right in with the band’s ouvre (and sounded like a good Allman Brothers song to boot).
They followed with “Knock Knock,” one of my favorites from their last record, and a couple songs that were destroyed by a triple guitar attack. A few were so muddy and obscured that I don’t even know what they were playing.
The sound issues got better with “Is There a Ghost” and “The Great Salt Lake,” two songs full of that sadness/winning combo.
Bridwell loved the love sent his way by the audience, which was 10,000-strong (at least).
“Thanks everybody,” he said. “I think my kids might be watching this at home on the webcast. Hi girls. I love you.”
He then played “No One’s Gonna Love You.” It was a pretty cute moment.
Bridwell, in a black hat and tight J.J. Cale T-shirt, later spoke about Cale (who passed away last week) and dedicated a cover to his memory. “We miss him dearly,” Bridwell said before the band played a ripping version of Cale’s “Thirteen Days.”
Of course, the end of the set came to “The Funeral,” which brought the audience from standing lazily in the field to clapping to the finale and nodding to the chorus riff like an ocean made of thousands of heads.
The response was so overwhelming that Bridwell stopped after the first verse to smile, laugh and say thanks.
“Thank you so much, everyone,” he said at the end. “It’s been great playing for you again. Y’all have fun tonight.”
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