Far from the mud-splattered ethos of last year's Governors Ball, the 2014 edition took over New York's Randall's Island Friday (June 6) in bright sunshine and ideal temps in 70s, perfect weather for the long-awaited NYC live return of Outkast, Britpop icon Damon Albarn (with surprise guests, hip-hop veterans De La Soul), and rocking sets from both TV on the Radio (armed with new music) and Julian Casablancas.
Here are 15 cool things we witnessed on Day 1 of Governor's Ball 2014:
3:19pm: With her monochromatic band behind her, Janelle Monae hits the Governors Ball stage with her fancy footwork, insane energy, proving she's still the funkiest female in showbiz.
4:15pm: "We released a mixtape and unfortunately all of that was taken down but this is one of those songs," Bastille lead singer Dan Smith shares before launching into a crowd pleasing cover of TLC's "No Scrubs" over a sample from The xx. The cover gets the crowd, especially the ladies, to sing along in unison, a high point of the set that showed they aren't taking themselves too seriously, Smith keeping the lyrics the same as TLC's version.
4:45pm:Jenny Lewis crashes our backstage lounge wearing a star-spangled, graffiti-painted suit she says is designed by her friend Adam Seagull. Easily the best outfit we've seen all day.
5:07pm: The best shirt of the day is spotted in the crowd for Julian Casablancas & The Voidz: "Don't Worry, Be Yonce."
5:19pm: Jenny Lewis is triumphantly playing new songs from her forthcoming album "The Voyager," although it's hard to top the response from the second song of the set, Rilo Kiley's "Silver Lining."
5:25pm: "I forgot my WWF routine," Julian Casablancas slurred after drinking from a red Solo cup. "We challenged Phoenix to soccer in South America. Phoenix were looking for you!!!!" He yelled into the crowd to loud cheers. "We took em on in the Southern Hephasphere. Hephasphere? I don't do words so good."
6:37pm: The crowd at the Gotham Tent erupts when the elastic synthesizers of La Roux's Top 10 smash "Bulletproof" bubble up to close out the set. An hour later, La Roux's Elly Jackson is backstage chatting about the performance, which she said was slightly marred by the distraction of a guy holding up his own disco ball in the front row.
8:11pm:Phoenix perfectly times playing "Love Like a Sunset" with sunset in real life.
8:17pm:Grimes takes the stage announcing, “This is a really special show for me because I’m gonna try out some new shit.” She also promises the arrival of dancers from her “Oblivion” music video “reincarnated as mimes.” She makes good on all these promises and the new beat-heavy songs sound like bona fide alt-pop bangers.
8:46pm:TV On The Radio wakes up a sleepy crowd with their most ferocious song to date, "Wolf Like Me." A few minutes later, Tunde Adebimpe is asking the audience to be gentle as the group plays a new track, "Test Pilot."
9:20pm: Headliners Outkast start their set to the frenetic sounds of "Bombs Over Baghdad." It's the most high-energy they've been since their return to the stage this year. Minutes later they play "Skew it on the Barb." For a second it seems like WU-Tang's Raekwon may come out and perform his incredible guest verse in his hometown, but no luck.
9:50pm: Proving that two headlining bands can play the hip-hop game, Britpop icon Damon Albarn invites two-thirds of NYC rap crew De La Soul onstage to tear through his Gorillaz hit "Feel Good Inc."
10:05pm:Andre 3000 ends his solo mini-set with Outkast's hit single "Hey Ya," but only after making the crowd promise they'd "lose their shit" and inviting several women up to the stage to "shake it like a Polaroid picture." Halfway through, Janelle Monae, fellow Atlantan and former protege of Big Boi, emerged from backstage and joined in, with a huge smile on her face.
10:18pm: After De La Soul joins Damon Albarn to perform the Gorillaz hit "Feel Good Inc.," Chicago upstart Vic Mensa fills in for Del Tha Funky Homosapien and plays "Clint Eastwood," with some improvised lyrics. Albarn giddily announces that it's Mensa's birthday, and bro-hugs the rapper at the end of the song.
10:55pm: Outkast ends their set with a crowd singalong of their single "Whole World." Killer Mike comes out and finally delivers his ferocious verse — unlike at Coachella, where he was cut off.