The final day of this year’s Coachella festival ended with both a bang and a whimper. The former came from the fireworks that marked the end of the massive two-weekend event. And the whimper? Blame headliner Drake, who — despite rumors of sit-ins from just about every performer known to man and acknowledgement from his camp that his first-week set was nearly universally seen as disappointing, with-or-without the awkward Madonna appearance — underwhelmed in every way possible, making very apparent that the Toronto rapper and singer is not yet ready for a stage this big.
Just as last week, Drizzy was mostly-alone on stage, save for an extremely brief, awkward appearance from Nicki Minaj, who for a short second looked like she was going to break up the tedium, only to be introduced, give Drake a hug, have him say a few sentences about how he had a crush on her…and then send her on her way, without even a mic-check “hello.” A mid-set slowdown brought the already-slagging proceedings to a near-halt; by the time he reprised the opening song, “Legend,” to close the show, what originally felt charming was now just plain disappointing.
Thankfully, the day leading up to Drake’s set was full of highlights. Florence + the Machine were forced to play a stripped-down show thanks to the broken foot of singer Florence Welch, who last week used the entirety of the stage for a near-aerobic, high energy set. Instead of that wildness, this week felt intimate and raw, in particular a version of “Love Hurts” with fellow heartfelt troubadour Father John Misty. Early in the day, Mac Demarco delivered a joyous set of lighthearted rock while crowdsurfers surged like it was 1995. Danish pop singer MØ invited fellow chanteuse Elliphant onstage for a song, and also performed a cover of the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There,” perhaps the first time the British girl group has ever been associated with Coachella’s hipster vibes.
All that said, though, the day clearly belonged to Belgian performer Stromae, whose buzz from last week’s set built among industry insiders to a roar by his evening set on Sunday. Backed by a heavy-hitting band that recreated electronic booms and squeals, the young electro-rocker’s presentation was everything that Drake’s was not: honest and emotive, effective and funny, confident and ambitious. He’s a fully-fledged superstar in an up-and-comer’s body; don’t be surprised if by next year he’s a stadium act, singing to himself “Started from the bottom, now I’m here.”