Outside Lands 2019 Day 3 Highlights: Kacey Musgraves, Mavis Staples & More Preach Positivity

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images.
Kacey Musgraves performs during the 2019 Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park on August 11, 2019 in San Francisco.

Sunday may be a day of rest for most, but those attending Outside Lands on the final day of the festival (Aug. 11) were sprinting from end of the park to another in order to squeeze in one last set with Anderson .Paak.

From Kacey Musgraves' kaleidoscopic desert visuals to Mavis Staples' empowering sermons and the whole park dancing together during "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes," here are the best things we saw on the third day of Outside Lands 2019.

Weyes Blood brought appropriately '60s energy to Golden Gate Park

“Is anyone starting a journey at this very moment?” “You guys ready to get kind of astral?”

Weyes Blood kept it conversational between songs during her set for the festival early bird crowd. In spite of the noon kick-off, plenty turned out to "get kind of astral" to “Andromeda,” “Everyday” and other songs off Titanic Rising, an album as hauntingly gorgeous as it is vulnerable and heartbreaking. 

After a few glamorous twirls and flourishes at the peak of “Movies,” Natalie Mering, rocking a stunning white suit, smiled and turned back to her listeners. “You guys wanna be in a movie, too? Well you’re in my movie now.” She closed her set with a cover “for the boomers,” Procol Harum’s 1967 hit “Whiter Shade of Pale,” a perfect throw to her surroundings and the Haight-Ashbury vibe. All present can agree her 12pm set was well worth skipping brunch for.

Mavis Staples for President

The vast majority of the Outside Lands lineup has avoided bringing anything going on outside of Golden Gate Park this weekend -- no mention of the mass shootings that have taken place (one of them in nearby Gilroy); no discussion of the crisis at the border; no Trump talk. That changed when Mavis Staples spoke her mind: the soul legend has lived through some of the scariest periods in modern American history, and her sunny disposition and hopeful optimism is enough to sustain all who see her — even when it’s time to talk about the tough stuff in between songs.

"I'm so tired," she began, her band vamping in the background. "I'm tired of seeing our babies being taken away from their mothers. Put in cages. Poor babies. We got mothers, children... We got to look at the babies, y'all. We gotta see about the little babies. I know what I'm gonna do: I'm going up to that White House. I'm going up there."

From there, she toyed with the idea of taking matters into her own hands: "You know, I might run for president myself... We gon' get it straight. We gon' fix it. I could be president." The crowd roared their approval. "If HE can be president, I can be president.”

Kacey Musgraves wasn't interested in your negative vibes

At the end of a long, heartbreaking couple of weeks that involved a ton of vitriol thrown her way on social media, Kacey Musgraves had one request her those who came to see her at Outside Lands: “Forget about anything remotely negative!” They obeyed, and what followed was country-disco soul salve thanks to her run through Golden Hour’s track list in full with plenty of playful banter.

She thoroughly enjoyed herself, too: though her "Yee haw!" call-back didn't go great at Coachella (but did go viral), she attempted the chant again at Outside Lands, where it went a bit more smoothly. She moved between banter and heartfelt ballads with ease. “Rainbow” was especially poignant and heartfelt considering the state of things outside of Outside Lands’ euphoric, foggy bubble, but an unexpected yet perfect addition of a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” might be the standout moment for Musgraves’ latest in a long line of excellent festivals showings. 

Bebe Rexha had a blast being her sassy, raunchy self

The second Bebe Rexha hit the Twin Peaks stage, she was ready to rock -- even if that meant offending a few parents in the crowd in the process. The pop star wasted no time in banging out a few of her hits from the jump, launching with "Me, Myself & I" and "I'm A Mess." Ever unfiltered, she was delighted to see a phallic-shaped balloon in the audience and playfully told the inflatable's owner to bring it back to her tour bus, and after some middle fingers and f-bombs flew during "FFF," she apologized to the younger members of the audience and their chaperones: "Mom and dad, I give you permission to unfollow me on Instagram!"

Rexha had a few twists to her set, too: she belted through her new song, the hard-rocking "Heaven Sent," and performed a re-working of Rihanna and Eminem's "The Monster" in which she sang Rihanna's part and added some lyrics of her own to the melody. Another surprise: her cover of Post Malone's "Better Now," which synced in his recording after she tried his chorus on for size.

Paul Simon brings out a San Francisco musical hero and stuns with "The Sound of Silence"

For his headlining and festival-closing set, Paul Simon went for nothing short of legendary. Between his exceptional band (and the yMusic chamber music ensemble included within it), plenty of storytelling and bad jokes, a lovely surprise of a duet with the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and a set list covering all the favorites from "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to "You Can Call Me Al" and his earliest Simon & Garfunkel cuts, Simon delivered a comprehensive and intimate performance that felt like rock history unfolding in real time. Added bonus: Simon donated his Outside Lands profits to the San Francisco Park Alliance and environmental nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, and he encouraged festival attendees to do the same.

Festivals 2019


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