News Column

A Reporter's Notebook of Coachella Highlights

April 23, 2012

Wes Woods Ii

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival concludes its second sold-out weekend today. Looking back, here are my favorite moments.

Hip-hop history was made on April 15, one week ago, by three legendary artists.

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performed with an incredibly life-like holographic image of the late Tupac Shakur at the Empire Polo Grounds.

"What up Dre?" the image of Tupac asked between expletives to loud cheers.

"I'm chilling, what's up, Pac?" Dre said in response, before the two launched into a performance of "Hail Mary." Later the holgraphic Tupac performed "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" with Snoop.

Florence and the Machine's mix of dazzling visuals and intoxicating sounds set the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival crowd on fire.

The audience cheered Florence Welch's every ballerina-styled twirl, phrase or note.

Performing on the Outdoor Theater stage, the group's indie pop/rock sound appeared to draw more people than At The Drive-In on the nearby main Coachella stage, who went on about 30 minutes before.

While the audience may have been chanting for Carrie Brownstein because of her acting role in "Portlandia," she made it clear her rock performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was not for television.

"Thanks for watching," Brownstein said simply. "We're Wild Flag."

And with that, the band featuring Brownstein on vocals and guitar tore the stage

down with their music.

Other members of the supergroup are vocalist and guitarist Mary Timony of Helium, drummer and background vocalist Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and keyboardist and backing vocalist Rebecca Cole of The Minders.

Radiohead performed a wealth of material that sounded spectacular -- though it seemed to leave some fans wanting more.

The English experimental rock band featured Thom Yorke's signature vocals on the opener "Bloom" off the group's latest album "The King of Limbs," "15 Step," "Weird Fishes/Arpleggi" and "Good Morning Mr. Magpie" off their 2007 "In Rainbows" album.

But after "Pyramid Song," off 2001's "Amnesiac," the crowd appeared restless and fans started to leave around the introduction of "The Daily Mail," which was recorded for 2007's "In Rainbows" but left off the album.

The legendary British punk rock band Buzzcocks brought their energy and experience into the Gobi Tent.

While singer Josh Homme of the nearby Palm Desert group Queens of the Stone Age was in VIP, the group blazed through opener "Fast Cars" to screams, chants and fans moshing.

"Let's see some hands," said Steve Diggle, guitarist and vocalist for the group, and the audience complied and started clapping before the band went into "Autonomy."

Source: (c)2012 the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Calif.)

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