Coachella Round-Up: Day 1

Greetings from the desert, folks—Idolator’s out here in Indio, California, for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this weekend. Well, us and what feels like a trillion other music fans. So far we’ve been scorched by the sun, had our wallets emptied by food vendors charging $16 for gyro combo meals, and spent more time in our cars than on the field. Oh, and there was some kick-ass music.

Below, read up on our (mis)adventures from Day 1 at the music fest, highlighted by unexpected appearances by Beyonce, President Obama, Nick Jr. characters, and one really confused Deadmau5 fan.

Best Moment of the Day: Getting the hell out of my car. A trip from Los Angeles to Indio should take no more than three hours, but during Coachella weekend, it becomes eight hours of bladder-stretching torture. The last hour and a half was spent traveling the three miles from the main road to the parking lot. Experiences like this make us realize just how much we love music, otherwise we wouldn’t put ourselves through this every year.

Worst Moment of the Day: The fest ran out of wristbands at around 5:30 p.m., and security barricaded the entrance for about an hour. That pretty much released our inner Kraken. The event was sold out, so you’d think they would know exactly how many wristbands to make, but alas, no.

Biggest Surprise: She & Him delighting the crowd with a cover of “I Put A Spell On You”, a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic that has evidently been part of their set for a while. Zooey Deschanel shocked us by hitting some towering notes with power. Way to rock, girl!

Biggest Non-Surprise: Zooey Deschanel dresses exactly like her character in 500 Days of Summer—she donned a pale blue spring dress.

Most Meta Moment: Jay-Z showed a clip of President Obama doing that swagger-ific shoulder brush during a press conference, a classy segue (or was that a direct tribute?) to his own smash “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”. These two are destined to be best friends.

Most Confused: This girl, who wore a homemade Deadmau5 helmet while watching Passion Pit perform.

IMG_3462

Best Cover: La Roux covering what frontwoman Elly Jackson described s her favorite Rolling Stones’ tune “Under My Thumb,” giving it such a fresh electro spin you’d have no idea it was a 60s rock song. (And almost making us forget this. Damn you, Urban.) La Roux pics here.

Most Expected Cameo: Beyonce, who stepped on stage near the close of Jay-Z’s set. (Video here). Okay, we hadn’t guessed that the couple would sing “Young Forever” together, but we had an inkling Jay’s honey would make an appearance at some point during his show. (You didn’t buy that Dr. Dre rumor, did you? Neither did we.)

Most Unexpected Cameo: Muno, the red cyclops from Yo Gabba Gabba, hanging out during Passion Pit’s set. (We guess it’s time for the electro-pop band to guest star on the show!)

Most Generous: Jay-Z (who was losing his voice by the middle of his set—what a trooper!), threw Blueprint 3 towels into the crowd after teasing everybody with a few seconds of “Big Pimpin’.”

Most Disappointing: Alicia Keys not joining Jay-Z on stage for “Empire State of Mind” (which we would imagine could be a great closer, but he dropped this hit in the middle of his set). Bridget Kelly (the singer who’s been filling Keys’ spot on Jay-Z’s tour, and who is herself signed to Roc Nation) did a perfectly fine job though.

Okay, Really Most Disappointing: Then again, Jay brought out Beyoncé, so why are we complaining about a lack of Alicia? So what we were really disappointed by was this: During Passion Pit’s lively set, we looked up in the sky to see a plane flying overhead with an electronic message scrolling on it. It started off great: “Party… at…” We all waited for the reveal of the party location… “Applebee’s!” Everyone around us groaned and yelled at the plane. Lamest party place reveal ever.

Worst Place To Be During Jay-Z’s Set: Behind this girl’s hand (aka my exact location).

Most Genuine Moment: Jay-Z took his shades off near the end of his set to look directly into the crowd and point out fans. “I see you in that Death To Auto-Tune t-shirt… I see you in the green, I appreciate it.” It was a sweet, intimate moment. And the shouting-out of specific fans is just one example of  what makes Jay-Z a riveting live performer. He’s also still totally in touch with pop culture — the funniest shout-out was when he referred to some lucky guy whom he said resembled Jersey Shore‘s The Situation.

Most Versatlie: Imogen Heap played every instrument herself (including a keytar!) during her set while utilizing a looping machine. “This is so stressful!” she admitted to the crowd, looking a little frazzled when some of her instruments wouldn’t work. On “Headlock,” though, she even showcased her impressive drum skills. Maybe she can give Rihanna some drum lessons, too?

Best Outfit: Imogen Heap’s keyboard, dressed like a piano. Here’s a craptacular photo of the keyboard attached to a plastic box in the shape of a baby grand.

Second Best Outfit: Beyonce’s uber-hip Coachella get-up of ridiculously short jean shorts, an off-shoulder T and a wide brimmed hat. Just put a glowstick in one hand and a beer from the beer garden in the other and Bey becomes the official Coachella mascot!

Okay, it’s about that time we slather on some more sunscreen and say a pray before heading back to the parking lot, but come back tomorrow to check out the desert fest scoop on performances by Gossip, Muse, MGMT and more!