Elsewhere at the fest, ZHU and Tchami both brought some impressive, deep, dark sets to the Sahara tent, while The Chainsmokers raised the energy to almost unbelievable levels for their absolutely wild Sunday night set, which included an appearance from special guests like Tiësto and Third Eye Blind, among others.
The Do Lab tent was also popping all weekend long, with surprise sets from artists like Bob Moses and The Glitch Mob paving the way for a more surreal Coachella experience (complete with super soakers to cool you down!) for those who ventured out to the stage.
Meanwhile, the Outdoor Theatre played host to some of music’s biggest names over the weekend, with Jack Ü, Halsey, Zedd and Flume, among others, all showing up to play for massive crowds.
Aside from an awkward and completely unnecessary appearance by Mr. West, the Jack Ü set was pretty pleasing. A mix of the usual bonkers production and non-stop assault of sounds from two of dance music’s biggest producers, it brought up the crowd’s adrenaline levels and got people dancing the whole way through, with nary a second to catch our breaths.
Zedd, while he didn’t fit as comfortably onto the festival billing as some of the other artists, played out exactly what you’d expect if you’ve seen him before, with highlights including bringing out Kesha to perform “True Colors.”
Flume, meanwhile, straight up stole the show from almost everyone else who played the Outdoor Theatre, laying down a brilliant and flawless mix of music that left the entire crowd very hungry for his upcoming album.
If there was one set, however, that stood out for its sheer oddness and in many ways brilliance, it was Sia’s cinematic performance on the Coachella Stage (main stage), which did take away from some of the momentum that Major Lazer had just built up but was at times both fascinating and perplexing.
Very much a performance art piece, the Aussie singer stuck to the back of the stage with her face hidden from the crowd for the entire time. Instead, she let her dancers entertain us, as they recreated her music in stunning fashion with superb choreography and pre-recorded videos that featured Hollywood stars like Kristen Wiig and Paul Dano. It was a confusing, unique and captivating combination of different forms of performance art that all came together to create something unlike I’ve ever seen at a music festival, resulting in a thoroughly emotional and powerful hour of music.
Let’s go back to Major Lazer though for a moment, as I must say that I was quite impressed with the Diplo-led group. It was my first time seeing them live and while they’re clearly more interested in getting the party started than in actually DJ’ing, there’s no denying that Diplo, Walshy Fire and Jillionaire know how to hype a crowd. They put on more of a show than most of the other EDM acts and with strong production, numerous wardrobe changes and an arsenal of dancers at their disposal, there was no shortage of fun to be had at the main stage while they were playing.
Among the other highlights of the weekend were Purity Ring’s enchanting closing set under the Mojave tent on Friday and Disclosure’s guest-filled performance where Sam Smith, Lorde and many others showed up to help the British duo perform tracks like “Latch,” “Magnets,” and “Omen,” resulting in an hour of music that was full of good vibes and very easy to move to.
Ellie Goulding, meanwhile, put the audience under a spell with a strong stage presence for her performance on Friday night (which showed once again why she’s one of music’s most dominant forces), and current pop sensation 1975, who are more fun to watch live than their music is to listen to, gave the crowd a good time on Sunday afternoon under the scorching sun and unforgiving heat.
I could go on and on about all the acts I saw over the course of the three days, but I’d be here forever. There’s so much to see and do at Coachella that at times it’s almost overwhelming. Yet, somehow, it all works. And not only does it all work, but it all comes together for one hell of a good time.
The festival mixes artists both old and new, and a plethora of genres in one stunning, almost dream-like location, offering those in attendance an eclectic selection of performances that represent numerous spheres of the music industry. It truly is an event unlike any other and after finally getting the chance to attend, it’s not hard to see why it carries such prestige.
Goldenvoice might not have nailed every aspect of the festival, but I did thoroughly enjoy my time at Coachella this year, so much so that I was itching to run back for Weekend 2 (which is currently taking place).
There’s a special feeling one gets when they step onto the grounds at Empire Polo Fields – a feeling that I’ve tried to convey here in words, but one that’s also impossible to explain. It’s the feeling of being a part of something special, something unique, something important and something that most of the Western world has their eye on. I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what that feeling is, but it’s something that only Coachella can provide – that much I know for sure.