Dr Dre Beats One of the advantages of a double-weekend Coachella is that those attending the first installment can help advise the next 75,000 entering the gates Friday. We seen the good, have endured the bad, can explain why, for example, it imperative that you see Pulp, can convey the regret you may feel by missing Amon Tobin, suggest that if you want too see Gotye, get there early, because last weekend it was insane.
Despite the fact that all anyone wants to talk about is the Tupac hologram (which is, sadly, already becoming the most anticipated moment of Weekend 2), a lot of cameos, surprises, inspired moments and overall musical joy went down during the first weekend. And since the lineup is repeating exactly, Coachella 2 weekenders are advised to peruse the list of highlights below, make a few notations and stage-jump accordingly.
1. Looking for inspired between-song banter and crowd interaction? Stick around the main stage for both Pulp and the Hives. On Pulp fantastic Friday night slot on the main stage, frontman Jarvis Cocker walked around with a bunch of grapes in his suit coat, which he tossed out, along with candy, to fans throughout the night. And Hives lead singer Howlin Pelle Almqvist, before acknowledging himself to be annoying, conveyed the following of his mind frame: “I a little bit scared, but I also kinda horny right now.”
2. On Sunday afternoon at the Sahara tent, British dubstep producers Nero, after delivering a deep, dynamic set of glacial bass, dropped in the epic closing minute of Prince “Let Go Crazy” — you know, that extended guitar solo, the big, slow build-down that lasts longer than it probably should, but in a great way. The volume was of such height that every note echoed across the polo grounds. (Fifteen minutes later and four stages away, Justice sampled Prince “Kiss.”)
3. Before hitting Coachella, make sure to memorize all the words to Jay-Z and Kanye West “. in Paris,” because it was sampled, remixed and refracted on at least four different occasions in some way. The best, though, was when Flying Lotus dropped it in. It was as if the entire Gobi Tent had just won the lottery.
4. Be forewarned: Product placement is rampant this year. The strangest was when, prior to Snoop and Dr. Dre Sunday night main stage gig, the “Beats by Dre” logo appeared on the jumbo screen as though this were a production in need of credits. Too, a sponsorship agreement means the only beer available is Heineken. And in another keen bit of marketing, Paris Hilton had prominent placement in the crowd for Calvin Harris. Not coincidentally, she got a dance album coming out this year.
5. Beware of ghosts. Tupac Shakur was resurrected Sunday night; as a result, there a spectre on the loose, and he still got amazing abs.
6. If you don like cheesy high-pitched alto saxophone solos, avoid Destroyer like the plague on Saturday afternoon. His show, while beguiling, is rife wtih soft rock references that may or may not be embedded with a wink. The Rapture busts out the alto during its set too. Want to sing along with a song that should define this generation? Hit the Kaiser Chiefs on the Coachella stage for its great ditty “Never Miss a Beat.” As the hipster youth mingled with the bikinied and tan, Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson was barking out the chorus: “Take a look at the kids on the street! No they never miss a beat!”
8. When seeing Radiohead on Saturday night, be aware of the message that singer Thom Yorke conveyed to the crowd during Weekend 1: “We play new songs to make sure we still alive. We are, in fact, still alive.” So if the band wants to perform a bunch of new stuff, cut it some slack.
9. If you like the Black Keys, for heaven sake see Gary Clark, Jr. on Friday afternoon. His set was, for sheer force and confidence, more impressive.