Aretha Franklin Dies
Bjork, Interpol, Jesus & Mary Chain Usher In Coachella
New material from Bjork and Interpol, the first major concert of the Jesus & Mary Chain's first tour in nine years and high-profile sets from hot U.K. exports Amy Winehouse and the Arctic MonkeysNew material from Bjork and Interpol, the first major concert of the Jesus & Mary Chain's first tour in nine years and high-profile sets from hot U.K. exports Amy Winehouse and the Arctic Monkeys marked the start of the 2007 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. About 60,000 people braved nearly triple-digit temperatures on the first day of the three-day event at Empire Polo Field.
Bjork opened her headlining main stage set with "Earth Intruders," the first single from her upcoming album, "Volta," and closed with the new "Declare Independence." The set also featured old favorites such as "Army of Me," "Hyper-Ballad," "All Is Full of Love," "Pagan Poetry" and "Joga." Earlier, Interpol played three new songs from its July 10 release "Our Love To Admire," including first single "The Heinrich Maneuver," the moody opener "Pioneer to the Falls" and the propulsive "Mammoth."
The Jesus & Mary Chain arguably stole the show with a set full of thick guitar screeds such as "Head On," "Snakedriver," "Teenage Lust" and "Frequency." The set also featured a rumored guest appearance by actress Scarlett Johansson, who sang Hope Sandoval's part on "Just Like Honey." The group, which has not toured since 1998, debuted a peppy new song that found frontman Jim Reid singing, "I hope it don't crack."
Winehouse did not disappoint in an early evening set in the Gobi tent, backed by the Brooklyn band the Dap Kings. Highlights included the reggae rhythms of "Just Friends," "He Can Only Hold Her," "You Know I'm No Good" and the U.K. No. 1 hit "Rehab." The artist's beehive hairdo remained intact despite the broiling heat, and she proudly told the crowd she had just met actor Danny DeVito. "We're about the same size," she joked.
Arctic Monkeys held down an early evening set on the main stage with a blend of high-energy material from their two albums, the most recent of which, "Favourite Worst Nightmare," was released in North America earlier in the week. The best of the new songs was "Fluorescent Adoloscent," which recalled the meaty power pop of Weezer.
Other noteworthy performances were turned in by former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, Stephen and Damian Marley (who performed a host of their father Bob's classics, including "Could You Be Loved," "Exodus" and "Buffalo Soldier") and Rufus Wainwright (who stripped out of pajamas and into a spangly outfit).
In a first, a block of time was given over to comedy in the Gobi tent. Cult favorite Zach Galifianakis drew a standing ovation for a political commentary sequence that ended with him miming "Tomorrow" from the Broadway evergreen "Annie" (complete with an Annie-style dress) and holding up an easel-sized sign that read "Kill Dane Cook."
For more Coachella coverage, visit the Billboard blog at JadedInsider.com.