The first weekend of Coachella closed on Sunday with a handful of surprise guest appearances, numerous memorable performances and a few flaws.
Highlights include anniversary celebrations of Outkast and Nas, stand out sets from Top 40 artists Pharrell, Lorde and Arcade Fire, as well as strong showcases by electronic producers Disclosure, Calvin Harris and Zedd. Some of the best moments of the festival:
Pharrell Joined By Gwen Stefani, Nelly, and Snoop Dogg
Despite gusty winds on a dusty Saturday that left Pharrell with a hoarse voice, the fashion-conscious hit-maker valiantly blasted through throwback hits “Holla Back Girl” with Gwen Steafani, “Hot in Herre” with Nelly and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” with Snoop Dogg. His set was arguably the most impressive of the weekend given that he also sang super renditions of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and his Daft Punk single, “Get Lucky.”
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Jay Z and Diddy with Nas
During his midnight set, Nas shared the stage with fellow East Coast powerhouses Jay Z and Diddy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his album Illmatic. The two helped elevate the performance with Jay Z helping out on “Dead Presidents” and “Where I’m From” and Diddy joining on “Hate Me Now.”
Drake’s Appearance at Jhené Aiko
Another unexpected visit arrived with Drake surprising fans at the Mojave stage for singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko. He shared his excitement for his first Coachella appearance and received plenty of screams from the crowd.
Beyonce Dancing with Her Sister Solange
Beyonce showed up in support of her sister Solange on Saturday night for a loosely choreographed dance routine, but attendees were disappointed she didn’t pickup the microphone to sing.
Busta Rhymes Appears with Skrillex, Girl Talk and Pharrell
The fire-spitting rapper Buster Rhymes emerged from relative obscurity the past few years with with unannounced stops during Girl Talk’s mashup set, which also featured Bay Area veteran MCs E-40 and Too Short. He also joined dubstep king Skrillex and revisited the stage one more time during Pharrell’s set.
Diplo Pops Up During Pharrell and Dillon Francis
Even without performing, Diplo showed his strong influence on music. He appeared with Pharrell for their collaboration “Aerosol Can” and gave an honest shout out endorsement during Dillon Francis, calling him the future of music.
Outkast Disappoints Despite Janelle Monae
After a seven-year hiatus, Outkast’s headlining set disappointed some fans with one too many slow jams and a dragging guest appearance from Atlanta MC Future. Andre 3000 even had to ask the crowd, “Are y’all alive?” Thankfully they played all their hit tracks that people expected and a guest appearance by Janelle Monae energized the majority of viewers.
Divine Dance Domination by Disclosure
UK house and future garage duo Disclosure had one of the best surprises of the weekend with a cameo by Mary J Blige. Hopefully this means she is preparing for a return to music and future electronic vocal collaborations. AlunaGeorge enthusiastically jacked up the crowd during “White Noise” and Sam Smith wooed all when he sang “Latch.”
Arcade Fire’s Bitter Complaints
Lead singer Win Butler of Montreal indie rock band Arcade Fire decided to use their headline performance to insult Coachella’s “fake VIP room bullshit,” adding that the festival grounds “super sucks” and telling audience members not to worry about being a part of it. He later continued his snarky behavior when he said, “Shout-out to all the bands still playing actual instruments at this festival.”
Bizarre Justin Bieber Summoned By Chance The Rapper
Rocking a white bucket hat, black shirt, and jeans, Justin Bieber made a brief appearance at Coachella with Chicago hip hop talent Chance the Rapper. There were definitely more groans than cheers during this strange moment and the afternoon heat added no relief.
Lorde Shines Despite Interruption
An evening set time for Lorde proved favorable with a friendly mix of strobe lights and plenty of bass. Sharing stories and vocalizing genuine excitement in between tracks might have taken too much time because the chorus drop for “Royals” got violently slammed by the sound of alt-rockers Foster the People playing at the adjacent stage.
The Do Lab Never Dies
There was a new location for The Do Lab stage this year, which eliminated the convenience of the previously central location but also removed the distractions during performances on the Coachella and Outdoor stages. The last song of the festival was played by Kill Paris late Sunday night, who provided the perfect end to the weekend with a banging remix of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us.”
Share your Coachella highlights and low points in our comments section.