Miley Cyrus brings incredible vocals, setlist, energy to Lollapalooza night one

Miley Cyrus brings incredible vocals, setlist, energy to Lollapalooza night one

By Carolina Garibay

“It’s gonna be ‘Wrecking Ball.'”

“No, it’s ‘Midnight Sky’ for sure.”

Fans clumped closely together in the pit of the T-Mobile Stage at Lollapalooza trying to predict the opening song of Miley Cyrus’ set Thursday night. Strangers bonded over their love for Cyrus before her show began, sharing anecdotes and lessons the former Disney star now rock star taught them.

“I respect her, and she turned into something different and I accept it,” said Janie McDowell, 17. She was one of the hundreds of Cyrus fans in the crowd who first became a fan during Cyrus’ Hannah Montana days.

“She’s the first person that I saw and accepted for being different and seeing her in a different light and it really opened my eyes. She was like pixie cut, ‘Wrecking Ball,’ and I was like, ‘I still respect you,'” McDowell said. 

Amber Cass, 19, agrees. She said she loved seeing Cyrus transition into the person she is today.

“I’ve always loved watching Miley grow up because she’s gone through so many different phases, and it’s nice to see her feel comfortable,” she said.

My conversations with fans were cut short as more screams started to erupt, simply due to the excitement and anticipation.

Not long after, a deep, booming voice started saying, “It’s our party we can do what we want,” vamped several times, signaling the start of one of Cyrus’ most popular songs from her 2013 album “Bangerz,” “We Can’t Stop.”

Fans’ bellowing screams and surprised faces suggested that they didn’t expect this as Cyrus’ opening song, which made the start to her set even more exciting. When Cyrus appeared on stage in a custom-made bedazzled red Gucci jumpsuit that Cyrus said was flown in from Italy, the screams got even louder.

“We Can’t Stop” soon meshed into a cover of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” creating a unique, fun medley that, though not much of the audience seemed to know, was still great to watch. Next, she brought on Billy Idol to sing his song “White Wedding” and “Night Crawling,” their collaborative song from Cyrus’ newest album “Plastic Hearts.” Fans seemed shocked yet excited, but the real applause came from Cyrus’ cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” which Cyrus released in September after performing it at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. This cover is incredible, but hearing it live is something else. Cyrus’ voice was practically made for this song, and she sounded even better live than on the studio version.

Cyrus followed with her song “SMS” from “Bangerz,” featuring Britney Spears. She took this moment to show her support for Spears and the #FreeBritney movement, which is a movement focused on bringing awareness to some of the injustices fans say Spears is experiencing in her conservatorship. The bright, large, colorful text, “Free Britney,” flashed on the screens on stage, followed by screams of support from the audience. After the song, the crowd chanted loudly and passionately, “Free Britney!”

Cyrus made her way down the stage to a separate, smaller stage in the crowd and brought on a series of guests, including Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and G Herbo. Later, she would also bring on The Kid LAROI for his song “WITHOUT YOU” that he released featuring Cyrus this year.

“I think it was a very humbling experience for us to be humanized together,” Cyrus said about the pandemic. “I think the mask reminded us how much a stranger’s smile can really mean to us.”

Next, Cyrus performed “7 Things,” which was a huge surprise, as it was her first live performance of the song in 10 years. She released a video of her singing the song on Instagram two weeks ago, but hearing it in person with a crowd full of people who probably had their own stories about first listening to the angsty song when it came out in it in 2008 when they were kids and pre-teens was really special.

Another equally exhilarating moment was when Cyrus sang “See You Again,” another oldie, that she released in 2007. Like “7 Things,” the crowd knew all the words and screamed them loudly back at Cyrus, proving that as much as fans love seeing Cyrus’ new stuff, they’ll always have a soft spot for her old songs that, for many fans, were defining moments of their childhood.

Soon, Cyrus was down to the last 30 minutes of her set, and worries started to set in because Cyrus hadn’t performed much from “Plastic Hearts.” Luckily, Cyrus eased those concerns when she performed “Midnight Sky” and “Angels Like You.” Though by this point, many fans were probably losing their voices, Cyrus’ sounded just as strong as when she started.

She transitioned to the uplifting pop ballad “The Climb,” a highly anticipated performance among the crowd. It was a beautiful, emotional moment that inevitably resulted in tears from the audience and really proved how big of an impact that song has had and still does have on fans.

Cyrus ended with “Can’t Be Tamed,” “Wrecking Ball,” which was a surprise to many in the audience, and finally, she closed out the night “Party in the U.S.A.,” a song almost everybody knows the words to, regardless of their opinions on Cyrus and a non-debatable perfect way to end night one of Lollapalooza.