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?).
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!
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.