As the second and final weekend of the
She wasn't the only one thankful for a do-over.
A reunited OutKast completely revamped its Friday night set, delivering a livelier and more streamlined performance, one that did away with guests and didn't back-load the hits.
Pharrell Williams, who one week ago accused the sandy desert winds in Indio of wreaking havoc on his voice and stage production, declared himself a victor over the elements.
"The desert got me last time, but not this time," Williams said.
The Goldenvoice-promoted festival on Sunday closed its 15th year overall, its third as a dual-weekend event. And while artists on Weekend 1 were feeling out how best to play to daily crowds estimated at 90,000, by Weekend 2, it was clear to those festival-goers that the event has settled into an increasingly upscale formula.
For many, Coachella has become a three-day vacation for which passes start at $375 and VIP options can stretch into the thousands. As an experience, Coachella in 2014 catered heavily to its big spenders, adding four-course dinners and $10 craft beer — all far removed from the main stages. It's a stark evolution for the festival, which has long celebrated genre-hopping underground heroes.
Coachella's southwestern corner has long been monopolized by the dance-focused Sahara Tent, an impressive hangar that seemed like it was built for more than a few retired
There was show-stopping music to be had in here. Fatboy Slim, who in the mid-'90s helped popularize what has become known as modern electronic dance music, showed a sense of humor by dropping in standards such as "Let It Snow" amid soul-shaded big beat hits such as "
The Sahara Tent could be exhausting — and occasionally frightening. Dillon Francis, who was hailed as the "future of music" last week by highly regarded producer
Perhaps this sort of pop-music remixing is what Win Butler of headliner the
But artist quibbles aside, there were genuine concerns surrounding the Sahara, especially when passes cost about as much as three days at the
When Coachella was an upstart festival in the early 2000s, issues with crowd management were forgivable. But at a premium event for which general admission is about $100 more than its major U.S. competitors, such old rock 'n' roll grit doesn't exactly carry a romantic nostalgia.
Those who were fans of rock music, however, generally did have plenty of space to roam. The Afghan Whigs kept things dark and aggressive Friday, while the always-scrappy Replacements, forebears of modern indie rock, took a cynically hilarious approach later that evening. Leader Paul Westerberg played his guitar while lying on a couch, turning vocal duties for much of the set over to Billie Joe Armstrong.
Westerberg said he had a sore back, but it also could be viewed as a commentary on how Coachella and summer festivals in general are more often aiming for these kinds of moments — R. Kelly with Phoenix at last year's Coachella, or Jay Z with Williams and R&B and hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill with rapper
Expectations for these "only-at-Coachella" moments have been raised, and the Replacements, whose set was said to be woefully under-attended a week ago, found a way to interject themselves back into the news cycle.
What's lost in all this talk of celeb-driven performances and posh amenities are the desires of, say, the fan who doesn't want either.
No problem if you're a devotee of the groovy trance-rock of