After three days of roaming the desert at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, we’re tired, we’re sunburned, and mostly, we’re overwhelmed with all the amazing music we saw performed live this weekend. It would be easy to say that Kanye West’s powerhouse three-act set on the main stage Sunday night was the highlight of the whole weekend… which is good, because we’re exhausted, and we don’t want to do anything too trying. Check out all the highlights from Sunday’s lineup, and yes, most of those highlights came during West’s 140-minute stage spectacular.
A-FOR-EFFORT AWARD: The only time Kanye wasn’t killing it during his set was when he tried to sing. He went pretty tone deaf on “Love Lockdown”, but we’re not going to beat him up too much for trying something he can admit he isn’t a master at. “I’m not the best singer in the world, but the notes, they’re inside of me,” said West during his 808s & Heartbreak track “Say You Will”. “So I said fuck it and did it anyway.”
BEST COSTUME CHANGE: Lovefoxxx of Cansei De Ser Sexy (which translates to “tired of being sexy”, by the way) appeared on stage wearing a bright red bordello-type jumpsuit, then eventually tore it off to reveal jean shorts and a tank top with “TRASH” written on it. A Coachella transformation right in front of our very eyes!
BEST TRIBUTE TO THE QUEEN: Kanye playing “We Will Rock You” before launching into “E.T.”
WHAT KE$HA WOULD LOOK LIKE IF SHE TOOK A SHOWER AND GOT SOME CLEAN CLOTHES: An adorable headdress-wearing Eliza Doolittle. (Check back for our interview with our Pray For Pop lady!)
SEXIEST INSTRUMENT: Chromeo’s keyboards had female gams holding up the board instead of a normal stand, per their Fancy Footwork album cover. Just picture the leg lamp from A Christmas Story reappropriated to hold musical equipment and you’ll get what we mean.
WORST ABSENCE OF CELEBRITY CAMEOS: So much for the rumors — many believed that Rihanna and Katy Perry were at the fest specifically to join Kanye on stage, but the rapper got through performances of “Run This Town”, “All Of The Lights” and “E.T.” without either pop gal stepping on stage. Wasted opportunity, we say, especially since Kanye’s buddy Jay-Z brought out Beyonce to close his headlining set last year.
BEST ADDITION OF CELEBRITY CAMEOS: David Hasselhoff, hanging out with his new girlfriend Haley Roberts at Tinie Tempah’s set.
MOST WELCOME RETURN: Ana Matronic stuck around for an extra day after Scissor Sisters’ fabulous performance on Saturday night to guest with Duran Duran during their set on the main stage.
BEST REASON TO SPEND $7: My real-world logic told me spending $7 for a strawberry lemonade was highway robbery… but after two hours of trying to avoid it, I caved and bought one. And it was entirely worth it.
BEST COVER: Ellie Goulding (who still managed to look absolutely stunning in 100 degree heat — we want her secret) performing her gorgeous take on Elton John’s “Your Song” during her set in the Gobi tent.
MOST UNEXPECTED COVER: Duran Duran followed up “Girls On Film” with Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.
BEST REASON FOR WILLOW SMITH TO HEADLINE COACHELLA 2012: The crowd going nuts when Tinie Tempah busted out his remix of young Willow’s “Whip My Hair”.
MOST HEARTFELT DEDICATION: Duran Duran honoring the late John Barry (film composer of all 11 James Bond soundtracks) by playing a medley of his scores, including “Diamonds Are Forever”.
MOST HEARTFELT QUOTE: “When I was making the last album, I couldn’t wait to play ‘Power’ at Coachella,” Kanye told the cheering crowd. “This is the most important show to me since my mom passed.” He also closed the show with “Hey Mama”, which probably ties with Duran Duran for Most Heartfelt Dedication, too.
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE NIGHT: We were expecting to be waiting for Kanye West till the early morn like the crowd at Bonnaroo back in 2008, but the show began on time. May we never doubt his punctuality again.
SWEETEST MOMENT I CAUGHT ON CAMERA: This couple, getting lovey-dovey in front of the sunset. Coachella Is For Lovers, don’t forget.