The severe winds that caused Goldenvoice to cancel their Thursday night VIP dinner plans died off just in time to welcome the bulk of fans to the Indio Polo Club on Friday (April 13) with temperatures of 90 degree heat in the desert.
Phones were out as attendees took in the festival’s triumphant art pieces. Besides the iconic Ferris wheel, Coachella featured a seven-story structure called Spectra. With each floor displaying a different color, attendees could step inside and walk down a revolving path as they took in a 360 degree view of the grounds.
New Jersey natives Bleachers packed the Mojave stage. Jack Antonoff and crew drew a slightly older audience, bringing an 80s rock band jam to the smaller stage. The back of the tent was scattered with foot stomping and windmill arms as the band played hits like “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take the Money.” They also tapped into the success of their recent addition to the Love, Simon soundtrack, “Alfie’s Song” accompanied by a surprise guest Carly Rae Jepsen.
R&B singer Daniel Caesar brought his signature soul to the Outdoor Theater. With the sun cooling off, Caesar welcomed fellow R&B singer HER to the stage. The two duetted to their hit collaboration “Best Part.” The two also played HER’s song “Focus” from her 2017 self-titled album that features Daniel Caesar.
A new hit for the 19-year old festival was the Indio Central Market. The debut food hall featured 15 eateries and bars from Los Angeles and New York, drawing the largest crowds of any of the food vendors. Crowds gathered under the shaded hall to take in some of the country’s best culinary offerings. The double lines for Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market staple, Ramen Hood, took up the most space. The vendor provided vegan ramen bowls from Top Chef winner Ilan Hall.
Vegan choices were well-received throughout the site. The vegan dumplings at Ms. Chi drew considerable attention along with Southern Fried Vegan located in the Grand Stands.
As the sun fell, festival-goers crowded around the Coachella Stage where Vince Staples began his set. His performance was accompanied by interchanging videos including clips from prison movies, Black Panther, and more.
“None of you all look like me, but you’re all beautiful,” Vince Staples said to a crowd that roared back in laughter.
The early evening set was flush with dancers in the crowd, including one man wearing a yellow dress that resembled the one worn by baseball-wielding Beyonce in the “Hold Up” music video.
Starting the festival weekend off with a huge surprise guest, Kendrick Lamar dressed in jean shorts and pink floral shirt, jumped on stage to rap alongside Staples on track “Yeah Right.”
St. Vincent brought vivid colors to the night. At the Outdoor Theater, the rock star shredded on her signature guitars while drawing heavily from her most recent album Masseduction. Dressed in flesh-colored latex and orange gloves, St. Vincent was accompanied on stage by performers in bowl cut wigs with their faces covered by balaclavas.
“I hope everybody falls in love tonight,” St. Vincent told the crowd. “With a person, with a band, with an idea.”
The “Los Ageless” singer was backlit by video boards of the artist in clown face, floral fist boxing gloves crashing into her face in slow motion, and atomic bombs projected onto her face.
For one of the latest sets of the night, Jamiroquai slayed an incredible 90s funk set across the site from headliner, The Weeknd. Not to be outdone in their time slot, Jamiroquai’s set was joined by Snoop Dogg for a rendition of “Dr Buzz.”
Friday night headliner, The Weeknd, packed the Coachella Stage just before midnight. Starting off with his Kendrick Lamar collaboration for the BlackPanther soundtrack sans Lamar who just performed with labelmate SZA, “Pray For Me” launched the evening. The 23-song set included hits “Secrets,” “I Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy,” and “I Feel It Coming.” The Weeknd also covered Drake’s “Crew Love” and Future’s “Low Life.”
With only three songs left in the set, The Weeknd performed “Call Out My Name” from his most recent EP MyDearMelancholy,. The artist became visibly emotional during the song, presumably tearing up over the lyrics that reportedly refer to ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.
Bass beats from Rezz continues to blare from the Sahara stage as festivalgoers not attending the electric set headed out.