Meadows Fest Day 2 Highlights: Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Mac Miller & More
The Meadows Music & Arts Festival had a lot riding on it, to say the least. As with any inaugural event, attendees are forgiving -- to a certain extent -- of minor glitches here and there, but for Founders Entertainment, the promoter behind Governors Ball and now Meadows, there were a number of roadblocks to overcome. Despite re-scheduling The Weeknd and then dealing with the aftermath of his very last-minute cancelation -- J. Cole took his place -- and fending off the looming rain both days, Meadows was still on course to pull off a successful festival. Then, with only 20 minutes of the second and final day to go, Kanye West left the stage early and took the headlines with him.
Kanye’s literally show-stopping set remains all anyone can talk about, as he abruptly ended his show due to a family emergency; it was later reported that his wife, Kim Kardashian West, was held up at gunpoint in her Paris hotel. The scare aside, a slew of standout performances dominated the rest of day two, namely from Lewis Del Mar, Pusha T, Cage the Elephant and Chance the Rapper. Taken as a whole, the good that came from Meadows largely outweighed the bad. Here is a rundown of what you might have missed at day two of Meadows Festival.
12 p.m. -- “You all look really lovely in this bleak parking lot,” vocalist and guitarist Danny Miller, of rising alt rock group Lewis Del Mar, told the crowd as his band opened the fest. The Rockaway natives made sure to flesh out the thin audience with several of their friends, who they waved to and shouted out during the set. Regardless of the early time slot, the duo didn't let their moment go to waste and delivered a set brimming with energy and dynamism as Miller sang with aggressive grit. In one instance, he even threw his mic stand to the side of the stage, though later said, “I’m really not an angry person.” Nor does he have any reason to be: the duo’s self-titled debut full-length drops this week, and plenty of positivity lies ahead.
12:15 p.m. -- Just after the doors to festival opened, several teenagers sprinted through the lot, making a beeline for the main stage to claim their territory for Kanye’s headlining set later in the evening.
1:15 p.m. -- Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly -- the duo known as Chairlift -- stepped on stage in matching white trench coats. Polachek soon stripped hers off, though, as her constant strutting around stage had her working up a sweat despite the cold temperatures. She graced the crowd both with her dance moves and ethereal vocals, later mentioning how impressed she was to see everyone “turning up on a Sunday for smooth jazz.” While the duo naturally worked their hit “Bruises” into the set, their newer tracks illustrated their evolution beyond the 2008 breakout track.
2:00 p.m. -- The Temper Trap took the main stage and were greeted by an unusually large crowd for an early Sunday set. Considering a large portion of the crowd consisted of loyal Kanye fans, the indie rockers had their work cut out for them in terms of winning the first several rows over -- which is exactly what they did. While they had a rough go rousing the crowd with opening track “Love Lost” and the more lively “Science of Fear” (both of which were excellently executed, regardless), by the time they dove into “Sweet Disposition” the audience was all in.
2:20 p.m. -- As the crowd continued to grow in front of the main stage, attendees played I Spy from afar. Many pointed out how easy it was to spot Kanye’s fans, since the masses who bought ‘Ye’s highlighter-colored merch so clearly stood out. Even with five lines at the merch table dedicated solely to Kanye's clothing, fans were still waiting in an hour-long line for Pablo shirts and sweatshirts.
2:45 p.m. -- A veteran artist such as Pusha T surely deserved a later set time, though he didn’t fail to deliver an impressive career-spanning set. As booming bass bled from the speakers, the G.O.O.D. Music president ran through a greatest hits setlist that reminded the crowd of just how many timeless tracks he’s been featured on, from Kanye West’s “Runaway” and “Mercy” to Future’s “Move That Dope” and more. But his own material is just as impressive, even separate from his work with his brother Malice in The Clipse -- "Grindin'" was the only song from the duo that made it into Pusha's set -- and he opened with the intro to his latest album, Darkest Before Dawn, running through several cuts from that release ("Keep Dealing," "Crutches Crosses Caskets," "M.P.A.," "Untouchable") and his 2013 solo debut, My Name Is My Name ("Nosetalgia, "Numbers on the Board") before ending with his latest single, "Drug Dealers Anonymous," walking off stage early as Jay Z's second verse rode out.
3:45 p.m. -- Bryson Tiller brought his R&B stylings to the stage, showing off his skills as both a smooth vocalist and slick MC. He made a point to mention that the day was a “special day” since a year ago exactly he had released his debut studio album, T R A P S O U L. Even with the cause for celebration, the set fell into a bit of a slumber, in part due to Tiller's more laid-back stage presence -- especially when compared to that of other performers throughout the day.
4:40 p.m. -- Ariana Grande -- donning cat ears, of course -- was seen side-stage chanting “We want Mac” along with the crowd, anxiously waiting for her boyfriend Mac Miller’s set to begin. Five minutes later he arrived: Miller sprinted on stage roaring with energy, riding the high that comes along with dropping a new record. The Divine Feminine arrived in mid-September, though Miller kicked off the set with a 2012 favorite, “Loud.” He proceeded to deliver a well-balanced set that teetered between new and old yet timely tracks, like “Donald Trump,” the 2011 track that caught the Republican presidential nominee's ire on several occasions over the years.
5:30 p.m. -- Børns caused many to raise an eyebrow in intrigue, as Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion” started pouring out from the speakers only to be followed by a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The medley helped fill out the electro-pop artist's set, considering he only has one full-length album under his belt. But when it came time for the final song, the natural choice was “Electric Love,” a hit that had the whole crowd singing along.
5:45 p.m. -- Any act who has to share a set time with Chance the Rapper is at a slight disadvantage, and while Cage the Elephant drew a decently large crowd, they paid no mind to who showed up; the band was there for their own enjoyment. As is such at any Cage show, frontman Matt Schultz turned the set into a full-on cardio course while he flitted back and forth across the stage like the ball in a championship ping pong match, incorporating a series of split kicks and jumps throughout. The setlist swerved through the band’s various albums, not leaning on any particular one too heavily, resulting in one of the most exhilarating rock shows of the weekend.
6:00 p.m. -- “I’ve been on some new stuff,” Chance the Rapper said 15 minutes into his set, apologizing to all the fans that wanted to hear his older material. But even though the setlist featured a lot from Coloring Book, his latest release from this past May, the ever-present theme of church and faith ran strong as a choir of puppets assisted the rapper on “Blessings.” A puppet DJ also served as Chance’s voice of reason throughout the set, preaching to him the same basic notions he preaches to others, primarily that he doesn’t need anybody to succeed -- his current stature in the industry as proof. The set culminated in a guest appearance from Francis and the Lights -- the budding artist who is Chance’s current tour mate. The two performed the song (and dance) to Francis' “Friends” -- which originally features Bon Iver and Kanye, though Chance filled their roles here -- as an explosion of colorful confetti coated the crowd. Chance then said his goodbyes and exited the stage, signaling the end of an incredible set and the start of the lengthy wait period before ‘Ye took over.
7:17 p.m. -- A member of the stage crew gave his best effort at asking the crowd to take a few steps back in order to “relieve pressure” off those crushed up against the barricades towards the front of the stage. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew began setting up the stage for Kanye. By 7:50, a black curtain veiled the stage, concealing any final touches.
8:48 p.m. -- The drapes were drawn, exposing what many thought to be a descending stage, while a lengthy fireworks show simultaneously occurred. “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” was soon heard coming from the stage, setting the tone for the spectacle to come by easing fans into the set with one of Kanye's more beloved recent hits. Once Kanye dove into “Famous,” the real show began -- granted, at this point it was nearly 40 minutes past the scheduled start time. Though from that moment on, Kanye set out to deliver a blistering performance, as he ran through a setlist that read like a fan wish list, including “Jesus Walks,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Black Skinhead” and so many more from his decade-spanning catalog.
9:40 p.m. -- Regardless of the spot-on setlist and fervent performance, four words have since largely overshadowed it all: “I’m sorry, family emergency.” Moments after beginning “Heartless,” Kanye told the large audience in hurried breath that he had to stop the show. From there, what can best be described as utter confusion took over, as the crowd was first told, “Kanye West is not on site,” and that there would be a 10-minute intermission even though the festival was scheduled to end 10 minutes later. Needless to say, the festival unofficially came to a close the moment Kanye left, marking the end of what proved to be a valiant effort in making the inaugural Meadows Festival a successful New York staple for years to come.