The temperature predictably touched close to the 100-degree mark in Indio, Calif. over the weekend, but the air alone wasn’t the only source of heat. It’s been estimated that more than 80,000 people each day emerged at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, there to take in headliners, DJs and breaking artists.
Below, we touch on just a few highlights and stories that came from Coachella…
Kanye West’s set may not have boasted rumored big-wigged special guests like Jay-Z or Nicki Minaj, but the rapper and producer brought a cadre of dancers with him. Instead of entering from the wings or stage center, West actually emerged from the crowd, late Sunday night.
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver joined for his tracks on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but West actually delved into some material little-visited since that album came out. He tackled hits like “Stronger” and “Gold Digger,” for instance, but also opened up for “Say You Will” from 2008’s “808s and Heartbreak.”
“I always said when I was working on the last album that I couldn’t wait to perform ‘Power’ at Coachella, the most important show to me since my Mom passed. To be able to close the festival and see all of you that still love me after everything I saw on TV said the opposite…for us to still go platinum, to see that you ain’t believe sh*t that they said… I really appreciate you all tonight ’cause, y’know, I’m only trying’ to say and do what’s right.”
Watch the full show here.
“If you had told me in 2002 that we’d one day be headlining Coachella … I’d have said you were full of sh*t,” said Win Butler of Arcade Fire, during their marquee Saturday show. The group had previously played the fest back in 2005, in support of “Funeral,” but certainly they weren’t there to fill the polo field like they did this year.
The setlist soloed all the major touch-points, with the added emphasis on recent Grammy Award-winning “The Suburbs.” But most outlets seem taken by the souvenirs the group unleashed into the crowd. Giant, beach-ball-looking orbs dropped during “Wake Up,” and the objects glowed different colors at different times, sometimes in tandem with each other. They were art pieces, crafted for the Creator’s Project, a multi-media effort from Intel and Vice that paired up musical artists and, well, art.
Kings of Leon hit all the right notes for their biggest hits like “Sex on Fire,” despite the recent surgery of drummer Nathan Followill. But one handicap brother Caleb was feeling during the molten heat of the California desert?
“Last time we played, I didn’t wear a shirt. I apologize. I’ve gained a few pounds since then,” he said, “so I’m keeping the shirt on.”
What seems to make headlines more, though, is the frontman’s comments to Rolling Stone backstage, in regards to the next chapter of the “Glee” vs. KOL kerfuffle. The band has accepted show creator Ryan Murphy’s apologies for essentially calling the band “assh*les” for not allowing the song-and-dance show use of the rockers’ songs. The band is just happy that the thing is settled, and apology accepted.
Prince and his camp sent out a plane to advertise his 21-night stand in Los Angeles. The message was transmitted by way of LED lights on a bottom of the aircraft.
Paul McCartney spun a surprise DJ set during Dutch spinner Afrojack‘s turn at the deck. He and Usher could also be seen dancing next to each other during the dance-heavy hour.
Those weren’t the only unsalted celebrities running amock in the desert. Names from Paris Hilton to Danny DeVito to Rihanna to Vanessa Hudgens graced the VIP areas and festival grounds.
Cee Lo showed up 30 minutes late to his set and then, piss-off, stormed off the stage when he went almost 10 minutes late, as he attempted a full cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Afterward, Lauryn Hill‘s band played for 15 minutes before she even showed up onstage, but she went almost 10 minutes over, too, on her set. The singer is notoriously late to many of her shows, but the extra effort was apparently appreciated. “We love you. We gotta do this more often,” she said on her exit. She played no new songs.
Ariel Pink threw some sort of fit when the classic battle between band and sound-guy caused the Haunted Graffiti frontman to shut-down through the majority of the show. Ariel Pink refused to sing with the exception of a few bars toward the end, the band chugging on without him. “I’m sorry. I know you hate me now.” Yup.
Brandon Flowers played solo at the festival this year, but his band The Killers regardless announced a comeback this summer for a totally different festival. The band will take the stage at the Hard Rock Calling, in England this summer. They have been on a short hiatus for a year.
Mumford & Sons performed two new songs “Lover’s Eyes” and “Lover of the Light,” the former which we previewed this week.
Pharell made a guest appearance during Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s set, with some footage here. The set was shared among the various members, as opposed to a major focus on stand-out Tyler the Creator, who has a solo set on the way in May.
Chilean alt-rockers Los Bunkers were a no-show on Sunday.
Chemical Brothers took the stage very, very late on Friday due to scheduling issues.
Interpol‘s Creator’s Project piece included a collaboration with David Lynch. Check it out here.
Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig helped out on saxophone during Chromeo‘s set, while The National also got a little bit of Justin Vernon action on theirs.