A strong windstorm wreaked havoc on the Mane Stage during the second day of Stagecoach Saturday, but despite the dust and the occasional gust, the night’s two big performers were able to pull off strong sets and keep the party going.
Keith Urban closed out a celebrity-filed day at Stagecoach that included Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Nick Jonas and Nicole Kidman to see Urban perform hits like “Somebody Like You,” “Long Hot Summer” and Dwight Yoakam’s “Fast As You” which he sang with Brothers Osbourne, who had performed on the Mane stage earlier that day. Yoakam even made an appearance for the end of the song, joining the jam session just minutes after wrapping his own set on the Palomino stage.
“This is exactly what I was hoping for tonight, Stagecoach. A full moon, beautiful night, dust everywhere and my wife in the wings,” Urban said.
The winds had died down when Urban hit the stage after a flair up with gusts and dust making it difficult for Kacey Musgraves as high winds kept sending her hair in her face and causing her earpieces to temporarily go out. Many of the songs on her new record Golden Hour are a softer and a slower tempo than her previous album, and at times the winds made it a bit difficult for Musgraves to sing at a higher volume, but ultimately she made it through her set, guitar in hand. After apologizing for the high winds, she joked with the crowd, “Oh well, I get paid either way.”
She played a beautiful version of her new song “Butterflies” while a psychedelic kaleidoscope of winged insects flying on the rear screen, and sang out blistering critiques of family life on the track “Merry Go Round” where she warned “Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay. Brother’s hooked on Mary Jane and Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down.” Musgraves’ sad love song “Space Cowboy” was one of her best of the night as well as her covers of Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and Brooks and Dunn’s “Neon Moon.” She ended her set a few minutes early with her new disco-friendly single “High Horse.”
Saturday also saw Brother’s Osborne performing the sunset set on the Mane stage, while Jason Isbell, his wife Amanda Shires and his band the 400 Unit brought an energetic and reflective performance to the Palomino stage with songs from his new album The Nashville Sound, performing powerful songs like “Cumberland Gap” and “White Man’s World” as well as slowed down tracks like “Last of My Kind” and the deeply dismal “Tupelo.”
Dwight Yoakam followed with a set mixed with hits and old country standards, including a tribute to fellow Bakersfield sound pioneer Merle Haggard, triumphing through smash hit “Mama Tried.” Austin band Midland brought their kitch country sound to a sunny Mane stage with singer Mark Wystrach telling the audience that the Stagecoach was one of the group’s biggest shows ever, following the success of their single and video “Drinkin’ Problem,” showing off their vocal harmonies and stylistic guitar striking a back-to-back Instragam-tastic muscle-hungry guitar poses.
While the weather was hot (near 90 degrees during the early afternoon), Stagecoach filled in rapidly with many fans heading to the Stagecoach Smokehouse to watch the Food Network’s Guy Fieri man the BBQ and hand out big chunks of sparerib and beef brisket that fans eagerly scarfed down (he made my wife a BBQ ostrich kimchi burrito and me a barbecued pork burrito, plus some insanely tasty vegan sweet potato pie for Nic Adler, who set up the Fieri activation. All the food was out of this world TASTY!)
In the Bazaar, Nikki Lane took a break from manning the booth for her High-Class Hillbilly store to perform an intimate set on a cozy stage, while other fans walked up the spiraling Spectra structure, installed on the grounds for Coachella. As fans walked to the top, they looked on aerial views of the festival grounds through different colored lens, imagining a world where music united everyone around a cause and culture we could be proud of.