I’ve always wondered how celebrity blogger Perez Hilton throws a pre-Lolla party, so we headed to the Hard Rock Hotel to join other fans for a late-night adventure of live rock, pop, dance and hip hop in downtown Chicago.
Since 2008, Hilton has hosted his personally curated multi-city concert series “One Night In..” that’s featured such acts as Lady Gaga, N.E.R.D., and Kanye West. And this year’s inaugural stop in Chicago gave us the chance to get primed for Lollapalooza 2010 by taking in sets by B.o.B, Kid Sister, Cool Kid, Nheka, and J Brazil.
Adding more mystery and allure to the night, there was a rumor that a “special guest” might make a surprise appearance at the concert. But more on that later. Here’s a quick trip through some of our favorite moments in words and pics.
Backed by a three-piece band, Chicago-area native and singer-songwriter Lissie rolled through a emotive set gorgeously blending rock, folk, pop, and blues. Her show gave us many reasons to keep our ears open for more of Lissie, especially her stunning cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” It was also a family affair as Lissie’s mom was in attendance. She was standing behind me with her camera rolling as her daughter performed on stage. And like the rest of us, her mom had a smile on her face that was a mile wide and filled with pleasure, wonder and pride.
Next up was Melissa Young (aka Kid Sister). The southside Chicago bolted on stage and flew through tracks from her debut album Ultraviolet. Among other electrified dance moves inspired by her love for dance club culture, Young dropped low to the ground and put on a dazzling boogie clinic during the irresistible and turbulent “Switch Board.” Like a speed-juking queen her hips and thighs moved like lightning to percussive electro-bongos blasting from the speakers.
The last performer of the night, Atlanta-native R&B/rapper crooner B.o.B., grabbed the mic and wooed all the ladies in the house with the soulful love ballad and pop hit “Beautiful Girls.” And then he strapped his guitar and took the crowd high above the Hard Rock Hotel into the dream-filled stratosphere with “Airplanes.”
And what about that rumored “special guest” that was supposed to show up? Well, whoever it was supposed to be never showed up. And, sadly, one die-hard fan — who had waited to pee for two hours just to hold her spot at the front of the stage because she thought Lady Gaga might be the “special guest” — left with her head hanging in disappointment as she headed to the bathroom (finally.)
So with the Red Bull-high wearing off and the DJ spinning his final song, we walked out of the Hard Rock and headed home thinking how lame the finale was. I’m pretty sure Hilton is a big live music fan, so it was surprising that he would choose to end a show like that, especially the first night of the 2010 “One Night In…” showcase.
But no bad feelings here. Aside from not delivering the rumored “special guest” and not saying goodbye on stage to fans once the show was over, for the most part, Hilton put on a fun night of live music and the show served its most basic purpose, which was to get us ready to rock Day One of Lollapalooza.