Coachella 2011: 10 Things Seen & Heard Sunday
There's so much happening on Coachella's five stages (not to mention behind the scenes), that it's impossible to catch everything that goes on around the festival grounds. Here's 10 things we witnessed on Sunday that you may have missed -- even if you were there.
1. Kanye West never does anything halfway, and his Coachella closing set was no exception. The show gave new meaning to the term grand finale, as Kanye bought a spectacle that was hip-hop concert meshed with elements of high-art theater. Beginning with "Dark Fantasy" (during which Kanye rode a boom crane above an ecstatic crowd), the "three act" performance featured guest appearances by Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver/Gayngs) and Pusha T, a troupe of dancers, and enough pyrotechnics to light up the polo field on their own. Music, the set list veered from early hits like "Jesus Walks," "All Falls Down" and "Gold Digger," to the Auto-Tuned orchestrations of "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown," to more recent crowd-pleasers like "All of the Lights," "Power" and a spectacular rendition of "Runaway" that echoed his 2010 "Saturday Night Live" performance. The usually outspoken performer also had moving words for his audience, and thanked the crowd for sticking by him during his "dark period." "When I was working on my ('Dark Fantasy') album, I kept thinking that I couldn't wait to perform 'Power' at Coachella," he said. "This is the most important show to me since my mom passed."
2. In addition to his expected guest appearance with Kanye, Justin Vernon also found time to jump onstage with his friends the National during their performance of "Terrible Love." Not to be outdone, Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo (who followed the National on the side stage) got their own cameo from Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig, who helped the band out on sax..
3. The recently reunited dance-punk act Death From Above 1979 brought the rock to the main stage at Coachella's final sunset. Though the crowd near the barricade was appropriately rowdy, the scene was far more subdued than their chaotic SXSW performance in April, which featured an unannounced appearance by the Austin riot police. "How's this for our first real gig since … Well, I don't want to take anything from South By," said drummer/singer Sebastien Grainger. "A horse got punched at that show."
4. Duran Duran had moms and dads dancing like teenagers during the main stage sunset set. Current hits from the group's latest album, "All You Need Is Now," were coupled with a string of '80s classics like "Planet Earth," "Rio," "Notorious" and "Hungry Like the Wolf." Most memorable was the band's cinematic rendition of "A View to a Kill," which frontman Simon LeBon (who changed into a white tuxedo jacket for the occasion) dedicated to late "James Bond" composer John Barry.
5. Bethany Cosentino, of lo-fi surf-pop band Best Coast, had some sage words of wisdom for those who caught her band's side-stage sunset performance: "Stay hydrated … if you take drugs in the desert." Coincidentally, a number of band's fans were seen guzzling bottles of water shortly after getting the advice.
6. Jack's Mannequin took to the main stage and debuted several songs off their upcoming album. The forthcoming release will be Andrew McMahon's first Jack's Mannequin record since the reunion tour of his former band, Something Corporate, last fall.
7. Sunday's Coolest Visual Effects award went to New York post-rockers Ratatat, whose awesome electronic grooves were heightened by a trippy stage set that included two eerily realistic hologram screens that flanked the stage. We didn't realize those existed outside of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Video: Ratatat performs live at Coachella 2011
8. The third day of Coachella brought a little crowd adaptation: people seemed to finally get the hang of navigating the swarms by using markers like Mylar balloons and long poles to find one another. Didn't do much to help our view of the stages, though.
9. The folks planning the set locations for the festival this year must have underestimated the number of fans Foster the People would be expecting at their set this evening. The Los Angeles band attracted a massive crowd that stretched far beyond the confines of the Gobi tent.
10. Famous faces once again made the rounds on the Coachella grounds. Olympic snowboarder Shaun White made his annual appearance, but it was the ladies who really turned our heads Sunday. Spotted were burlesque goddess Dita Von Teese (who dazzled the VIP rose garden in a orange and white sun dress), actress Rosario Dawson (who was seen chatting up friends near the main stage), and electro-pop diva Robyn, who stuck around all weekend after her Friday set to take in the tunes.