Coachella is the perfect festival for our ADD nation. If you don’t like La Roux’s “In For the Kill” than just walk 100 feet to hear Echo and the Bunnyman play “The Killing Moon” or another 100 feet to hear Crooked Vultures play “Elephant.” Or you can stand in the center of the polo field and hear a mash-up of all three. It’s kind of overwhelming.
But also kind of awesome.
I arrived last night at 8:30 p.m.—after eight hours stuck in traffic coming from L.A (ouch!)—and immediately headed over to the Gobi tent to see La Roux. (I didn’t need a map to find her —I just had to follow the streams of stylish girls in fedoras and sequined mini skirts.) There were seriously thousands of people clustered outside the tent trying to catch a glimpse of La Roux’s swoop of orange hair. I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her just fine and her voice sounded amazing—clear and powerful and not at all shrill like it sometimes sounds on her album. “Who is this?” a guy next to me asked his friend. “I don’t know,” his pal said. “But it’s awesome.” Amen.
Equally as awesome was LCD Soundsystem, who took over the main Coachella stage with a parade of cowbells and synths at 9 p.m. James Murphy, decked out in a white suit and tee, looked calm and cool on the giant video screens. “We’ve always been the mixed nuts in the meal at Coachella,” he said, referring to the fact they’ve usually played the small stages. “Now we’re the fish. Jay-Z is the steak.”
After screaming along to “Drunk Girls,” “I’m Losing My Edge” and “Yeah,” I headed to the VIP tent for a margarita break. Apparently I had just missed Katy Perry, was ran through being trailed by a gaggle of paparazzi. Milagro margarita in hand, I took a seat on the grass with some friends from Spin magazine and did some people watching. Trend alert: bandeaus crafted from old Haines tank tops. I think I spotted three—two white and one black—and they looked super hot. (Though I have no idea how those girls kept them up. Lots of tape?) The video screens on the mainstage had a clock displaying the countdown until Jay-Z’s set and by the time the two-minute mark hit, practically everyone had headed out into the fields to get a good spot.
The first hip-hop headliner in the festival’s 11-year history, Jay-Z completely took control of the night. Six city blocks’ worth of fans rapped along to “Big Pimpin,” “Show Me What You Got,” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and screamed their approval every time Hova flashed a grin on the video screens. After “Empire State of Mind,” where the beautiful (and beautifully voiced) Bridget Kennedy subbed in for Alicia Keys—Hova ran through a greatest hits montage, or as he called it “a tutorial.” Accompanied by an elaborate light show, it felt like the ultimate PowerPoint presentation—branding as art. And perfect for our 30-second snippet ADD mentality.
Though rumors abounded that Dr. Dre would join Jay-Z for the premier performance of “Under Pressure,” the first single from Dre’s long-delayed Detox, instead we were treated to another guest star: Beyoncé, who joined her husband on “Forever Young.” And damn did she look good in an off-the-shoulder white tee, cut-off jean shorts, boots and a black fedora. Watching the two of them sing to each other was quite possibly the cutest and most romantic thing I’ve seen in years.
Music is love and love is music. I love my job.