On April 13, the day began hot and sticky at around 2:30 in the afternoon, as everyone stood in line getting through two necessary checkpoints in order to make it into a weekend of paradise at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Everyone from the likings of Lou Adler to Justin Bieber and even the esteemed meme that is the Walmart yodeling boy came out this weekend.
After an hour of security check points, I was on par to see the first act of the day, rock band Greta Van Fleet for their Coachella debut at the Mojave tent. Hoping for a decent spot, it was to no avail, as the tent was packed with concert-goers eager to get a glimpse of classic rock re-modernized.
Upon their finished performance, I set out about the grounds, exploring the different installations and stumbling over performances. A highlight featured Daniel Caesar’s set at the Outdoor stage. It could’ve been mistaken for a headlining performance, that was how many people were there. The crowd went wild after Caesar brought out special guest H.E.R. for a live performance of hit song “Best Part.”
St. Vincent captivated the Outdoor stage, the focal point of her visual set up being based around album, Masseducation. Though the first six songs, some including “Sugarboy,” “Los Angeles,” and “New York,” were all from latest album Masseducation, St. Vincent also played from her 2014 self-titled album songs like “Huey Newton” and “Digital Witness” in addition to “Cheerleader” from 2011 album Strange Mercy. St. Vincent won the day for most interesting and engaging visuals. The avant garde and mundane mixed well with her projections and contrasted with the the four stationed musicians who make up the band.
I headed to the Gobi stage to catch some of Perfume Genius and was momentarily inspired by the passion he evoked through song and dance. I wanted to stay but decided to head out to catch Sza at the main stage. The stage, designed as if it were summer camp to mirror Sza’s childhood, was surrounded by fans. Though not the best performance of the day, she played songs like “Supermodel” and “Drew Barrymore” off of sophomore album CNTRL. Special guest Kendrick Lamar came out to perform with SZA CNTRL track “Doves in the Wind” as well as their Black Panther collab “All the Stars.”
The night concluded with headliner The Weeknd, who surprisingly did not close out the day with any special guests.