Outside Lands 2015 Day 3 Highlights: Elton John, Sam Smith, Hot Chip & More
The final day of the 2015 Outside Lands Music and Arts festival greeted fans with a bevy of emotions and styles with performances by rising new artists and legendary music icons.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones kicked off the main stage with vintage soulful rhythms flailing through trumpet and trombones from their seven-piece soul band. Frontman Paul Janeway provided a high-energy performance that was contagious in the crowd, as his loud roars and nonstop dancing re-energized fans on the fest's third day.
Fans might not know Nate Ruess’ name, but they were drawn to the main stage by his familiar voice. The lead singer of Fun. belted out his anthems “We Are Young” and “Some Nights,” alongside his newer solo material. The two-time Grammy winner set out to charm the sprawling audience with his latest solo album, including tracks like his latest single “Nothing Without Love.”
Talk of favoritism toward soft indie rock on this year’s lineup were abruptly halted by a single blast from Benjamin Booker’s guitar. This rising new face of punk blues came out with a thunderous, high-energy intro and did not lose pace throughout his set. Aggressive sounds like Booker’s weathered voice, gritty guitar distortions and various violin and mandolin accompaniments resonated as a highlight for many fans.
With 15 years and six albums behind them, Hot Chip took to the main stage with an army of synths prepared to get the audience moving with their fusion of disco, pop and hip-hop. Tracks like “I Feel Better,” “One Life Stand” and “Over and Over” had the audience dancing along to the band's makeshift choreographed moves.
Sky Ferreira is anything but the typical pop star, and her performance on the Sutro Stage represented that. Her uncaring glare backed by honest vocals nonchalantly rocked the audience. Fans both cried and cheered as she played tracks like “You’re Not the One” and “Everything Is Embarrassing.”
Fans made their way to the main stage with mental preparation for the emotional roller-coaster of Sam Smith and Elton John. “San Francisco is my favorite place to go in America, and being able to play before Elton John is a dream come true for me,” Smith shared with the audience. This vocal marksman hit a range of notes that pinpointed a scale of emotions with precision as he went through songs including “Leave It Alone” and “Nirvana.”
Then it finally happened. For those who were not already posted up during Smith’s performance, the rest of the fans and even other artists made their way to the main stage for Sir Elton John’s performance. The legend and icon himself emerged in an electric-blue tuxedo sparkling bright with "Fantastic" written across the back. And that’s exactly the kind of performance he gave. He wasted no time and jumped right into it his rolodex of hits including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “Rocket Man.” The timeless performer kept the sea of fans moving and dancing throughout the two-hour set.
Even after Elton John’s encore set, fans remained standing, unwilling to accept the end.