In its more-than 30-year history, no Latin female artist had ever headlined Lollapalooza. That changed on Thursday, Aug. 3 when Colombian superstar Karol G closed out the festival performing a nearly two-hour set at the Bud Light stage. (J Balvin was the first Latino artist to headline in 2019.)
“Hey Chicago!” she said to a sea of fans exactly at 8:40 p.m. “Ay ay ay! How are we doing pues? We’re here to have a good time, yes or no? Trying with my English to say this is so amazing. Thank you for supporting Karol G. Let’s go!” Looking like the Bichota that she is wearing leopard-print bell-bottom pants and a Rolling Stones halter top, the woman of the hour — with her dramatically long pink hair and all — stepped foot onto her Mañana Será Bonito-inspired stage where flowers blossomed.
Karol G also blossomed into the superstar that she delivering anthem after anthem — powered by her all-women live band — in a setlist that spanned her albums KG0516 and Mañana Será Bonito. She kicked off with the empowering “TQG” and then went straight to the banger “Besties.” “Where are all my besties at?” she asked. Apparently, all her besties were in attendance and there to support their ruling Bichota.
Headlining the four-day Lollapalooza festival in Chicago — which this year is expected to have a daily capacity of 115,000 (compared to 100,000 in previous years) — is another milestone for the artist. Over the past years, Karol G hustled to cement herself as a leading force in Latin music. Last year, she made her Coachella debut on the main stage and also wrapped up 2022 with a record-breaking arena tour. After grossing $69.9 million and selling 410,000 tickets across 33 shows in North America, her $trip Love Tour became the highest-grossing U.S. tour by a female Latin act in history.
Furthermore, earlier this year, with Mañana Será Bonito, she became the first female artist to score an all-Spanish-language No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 – a landmark moment for women in Latin music. Her set at Lollapalooza served as a preview of what fans can expect at her first-ever stadium tour, which kicks off Aug. 11 at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. That same day, she’s set to release her new album Mañana Será Bonito: Bichota Season.
Here are the best moments from Karol G’s history-making headlining set.
The Bond Between Karol & Her Fans
It was a special night for Karol G and her besties who were there to witness her make history. The momentous performance was not lost on the thousands of fans who, throughout the night, continued to chant “Bichota! Bichota! Bichota!” in between songs. Karol, obviously emotional, took every second in made every minute of that performance count, while also making sure she checked in on her besties. A charismatic performer, a few times she stepped off the stage to get closer to her fans. “I love you too,” she told one of them. “Ay no que chimba (how cool). Ok let’s sing this one together,” Karol continued as if she were speaking to you directly.
At this point in her career, Karol G has a robust catalog of hits, so it was a given that the setlist for her one hour and 40 minutes performance was going to be stacked with hit after hit. And while she mostly sang songs from her latest album, Mañana Será Bonito, she couldn’t forget her Bichota days. After all, Bichota Season was upon us. “I have to sing some iconic songs,” she told the crowd. And so she went on to sing “Bichota,” “El Makinon” and “Tusa.” And then stuck to singing songs off Mañana, including “X Si Volvemos,” “Amargura,” which she sang twice (at the beginning and towards the end), “Pero Tú,” “Tus Gafitas,” “Ojos Ferrari,” “Gatúbela,” “Provenza” and “Cairo.”
Karol’s Chicago Moment
Perhaps one of the best moments was when Karol G brought out the local United Voices Chicago choir to sing “Mientras Me Curo del Cora.” Prefacing the epic and joyous performance, Karol G shared, “I’ve prepared something really special. I was recently on a television program where I performed with United Voices, and they are actually from Chicago. I’m singing a song that is special for me and I know it’s special for all of you. If you know someone who needs to hear this song, record this moment and send it to them. Let them know that it doesn’t matter if healing takes a day, a week or a year, tomorrow will be better.” The already wistful song turned into a beautiful event as Karol sang the uplifting lyrics backed by the soulful choir.
An Ode to Mexican Music
When an accordion — played by Irany Divad — and a tube appeared onstage, it could only mean one thing: Karol was set to sing “Gucci Los Paños” off Mañana Será Bonito. Given Mexican music’s global spotlight, that moment dedicated to the genre was fitting. “Please give these women a round of applause,” Karol told her fans. The norteña track was followed by Karol G’s first venture into Mexican music, the sierreño anthem “200 Copas” from KG0516.
Divad later posted on her social media: “I have no words to describe how excited and grateful I am with life, God and Karol G for this opportunity. One of the best things that’s happened to me,” she wrote announcing that she will be hitting the road with the hitmaker for her stadium tour.
“Hello My Friend, You’re Doing Great”
During Karol G’s performance, there was a sign language interpreter on one side of the stage. His energy was contagious and, of course, Karol G noticed and couldn’t help give him a shout out. “Marica, lo está dando todo (he’s giving it his all),” she said after performing the reggaeton-powered “Ojos Ferrari.” Then, after singing an EDM-fused version of “Provenza,” she again went over to him again and said: “Hello my friend, I love you, you’re doing great — my God.”