By the time Kanye West performed on Sunday night, everyone was stationed at the main stage. And by everyone, we mean it looked like all 70,000 concertgoers had decided Mr. West would be the cherry on their ice-cream sundae of a weekend--the best way to cap a three-day fest that most everyone acknowledges is the best. After all, Coachella has the most beautiful audiences, is set in amazingly comfortable grounds, and is where the weather is perfect all the time.
So when West got dropped off onto the stage by a giant crane, we figured everyone had made the right decision. After all, where else can you find one of the biggest rappers of all time bringing out ballerinas and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon onstage with him? Where else can you find all the aforementioned 70,000 dancing to Kanye West songs and singing along TO ALL THE WORDS in unison? Who needs anyone else but Kanye when you can fill a gigantic stage with pure charisma and stage presence? For all of West's posturing and douchebaggery, he is a hugely popular for one reason: His songs are awesome, and they will get you on your feet and moving in .00001 of a second.
And even if there were no Rihanna, Daft Punk, Cudi or Katy Perry sharing the stage with him, he still was pretty swag, as Odd Future would say.
The crowd had swelled to massive proportions even as The Strokes were playing earlier; again, no surprises at that show other than the number of hits they had to perform; otherwise, girls could be heard swooning all across Indio throughout their set, which included the old ("New York City Girls," "Is This It," "Juicebox
") and the new. Singer Julian Casablancas was in top form as well ("Have you guys been hot as shit all weekend? I wouldn't know; I just flew in on my diamond-encrusted jet. I JEST, I JEST"), which made their songs seem just as important as what they were wearing (Did you see the suspenders Albert Hammond was wearing?).
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Before that, Duran Duran actually started the dance party--they transformed the polo field, wrought with kids in DayGlo outfits and high tops, into a real '80s party, with their back-to-back-to-back hits. They kicked off their set with "Planet Earth" and ended strong with "Girls On Film" (somehow, a cameo from Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" made it in there as well). Simon Le Bon still looks amazing, and the band sounded awesome as well. No playing state fairs in their immediate future, thanks to Coachella!
This year's fest was marked by a bunch of changes from the way they previously did things, from the nature of the lineup (no gigantor acts or bona-fide arena draws) to new wristband technology (which reportedly kept at least 10,000 gatecrashers out) to various entrances to the fest. All I can say is, all three days, we were in and out of the festival relatively painlessly, Arcade Fire's balloon-rain was amazingly memorable, and even though I always curse baking in the desert by Day Three, I'd do it again in a heartbeat next year.