The second day of Outside Lands was for celebrating — as loudly, proudly and unabashedly as possible.
Between Childish Gambino‘s headlining set, which reportedly drew the largest crowd the festival has seen, Tierra Whack passing out cupcakes to the front row of her own audience and on the day before her own birthday, and Ella Mai looking back on her game-changing year, Saturday (Aug. 10) saw many artists sharing major moments with their fans in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Here are the best things we saw on Day 2 of Outside Lands.
Ella Mai puts her cooking skills to the test before belting out “Booed Up”
The English R&B goddess is an excellent sport: hours before her set on the Twin Peaks stage, she joined Bon Appetit’s Molly Baz on the Gastro Magic stage for a collaborative performance inspired by their Back to Back Chef series. This was a challenge, as it involved Mai learning how to prepare a dish — fried calamari — with zero visual aids thanks to the barrier that blocked her from seeing Baz going through the instructions.
Even though the exercise involved skinning a squid and getting its ink and flesh everywhere, Mai laughed through the segment and wound up accidentally making a “calamari doughnut,” but hey — she doesn’t cook, and this wasn’t a bad effort from a novice in the kitchen. Later, she was back in her element: the screams for “24/7,” her collaboration with Meek Mill, “Naked” and “Boo’d Up,” her breakthrough hit, were deafening, and she took a minute to relish in her shine. “Can we hear the best R&B song of 2018?!” she crowed. “Last summer was a very special summer for me… one song last summer changed my life.” More screams and total agreement from Mai’s rapt audience at the Twin Peaks stage.
Tierra Whack gives a lesson in festival foreshadowing
In 2018, some of the best performances at Outside Lands hit in the middle of the afternoon, with Lizzo and Billie Eilish both leveling the Land’s End stage long before the headliner showed up. Tierra Whack follows in that tradition, as there’s no doubt the rising rap star will continue to climb up the ranks of any given festival lineup. She’s an entertainer through and through with a rapid-fire flow, and she seemed to enjoy going back and forth with her enthusiastic crowd as much as they adored the attention. During “CLONES,” she asked if anyone was celebrating a birthday in the audience, and proceeded to hand out cupcakes to those in the front row: DJ Zach Whack then mentioned that she’s got birthday cake of her own to eat on Sunday (Aug. 11), and led everyone in a heartfelt “Happy Birthday” sing-along.
Better Oblivion Community Center have a blast singing the saddest songs
Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst are staring down the end of their tour (and the only one on the books for the near future) with their collaboration, and they made their Outside Lands set count. The rockers bounced off each other, literally and emotionally, as they careened through their album and selections from their respective catalogs. “Sleepwalkin’,” “Dylan Thomas” and “Little Trouble” elicited the most earnest head-bobs and flailing dance moves from their crowd. Bridgers and Oberst traded off lead vocals on each other’s songs, with him taking the lead on a hard-rocking version of Bridgers’ “Funeral” and her grabbing the mic for Bright Eyes’ “Easy/Lucky/Free,” which had Bridgers triumphantly climbing up onto the drum kit.
Childish Gambino draws Outside Lands’ biggest crowd ever to Golden Gate Park
By the time the sun set and the fog creeped in, the swarms of people indicated that the field would be nearly full for Childish Gambino’s headlining set — and a couple of hours later, he took the stage before a historically giant crowd. His This Is America tour is coming to a close, and with it ends Donald Glover’s live performance (or so he’s said — he doesn’t plan on touring after this round). Ever the showman, his Outside Lands set left nothing on the table and gave the Bay Area, and specifically Oakland, a very special shout-out. He addressed the East Bay as his “second home,” and shared that he was so thrilled to be back in town that felt like “the friend you meet on the first day of college.”