For two weekends in April, the desert of Indio, California is taken over by the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. If you’re in need of a little schooling, check out our feature 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Coachella. The festival heralds the beginning of festival season and usually sets the bar with the most impressive surprise performances of the year and this time, of course, was no exception. After 2013’s Tupac hologram I’m relieved to say that this time around there were no digital resurrections, but they sure made the most of the living musicians with a whole load of cameo appearances. We’ve put together an easy to digest compilation of the top 10 highlights of Coachella 2014 – weekend one, featuring zero Instagram filters.
Nas Performed Illmatic in its Entirety
With the 20th anniversary of Nas’ debut album Illmatic this year, celebrations are already underway. That included performing the album in full to revelers on Saturday night. If that wasn’t enough, Nas brought out JAY Z to accompany him on one of the songs and then Diddy as well. You can check out the tracklist of the performance and watch it in full here.
OutKast Brought Out Future and Sleepy Brown
The Atlanta duo finally hit the stage together after a reunion that’s been heavily anticipated. Battling against technical adversities and desert winds, OutKast still managed to give a performance of their best and biggest hits. Not ones to be upstaged, they brought out fellow Atlanta musician and collaborator from all the way back when, Sleepy Brown. Janelle Monae also made an appearance for “Tightrope,” as did Future who performed three songs. Check out the full set here.
Beyoncé Joined Her Sister Solange On Stage
Even as a regular festival goer, Beyoncé still just couldn’t help herself from getting involved in the action. During Solange’s performance, Beyoncé joined her on stage towards the end of her song “Losing You” to partake in a cute choreographed dance. Proving that even when she’s off-duty, she’s never really off-duty. Watch a clip of the action via YouTube.
Pharrell was Joined by Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, Tyler, The Creator, Nelly, Busta Rhymes and Diplo
It’s easy to forget just how much great music Pharrell is responsible for, possibly because he doesn’t stop making it. It takes performances like this to remind us and for Coachella, Pharrell managed to round up seven of his past collaborators. Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, Tyler, The Creator Nelly, Busta Rhymes and Diplo all joined him on the stage during the show. As did that Vivienne Westwood hat, of course. Check out the setlist and watch the performance in full here.
Lana Del Rey Debuted a New Song
One of the most eagerly watched festivals is always prime time to showcase new material: the whole world is watching through the eyes of other people’s iPhone cameras. Lana Del Rey took advantage of that exact opportunity this weekend at Coachella and performed a brand new song. Titled “West Coast,” you can listen to the track which is taken from the full performance, here.
Justin Bieber Joined Chance The Rapper on Stage
Justin Bieber shocked the world this year by releasing a couple of songs that were actually, dare I say it, good. During Chance The Rapper’s set, he bounded on stage, eager to join Chance for the track “Confident.” Justin seemed pretty confident about his dance moves, attempting a few unusual spins. Watch the performance via YouTube.
A$AP Rocky Debuted a New Song
A$AP Rocky had his full A$AP Mob in tow for their show on Friday. A$AP Ferg performed a few of his own songs from his latest album, including “Cocaine Castle” and “Shabba.” But the most popular member, A$AP Rocky (apologies to the rest of the mob), debuted a brand new song. You can expect lyrics typical of the PMF, over a piano-laden beat. It comes in at around 31:30 of the A$AP Mob’s full set. Watch it here.
Drake Joined Jhene Aiko on Stage
It’s heartwarming to see all these musical partnerships blossom into friendships and Drake showed his with Jhene Aiko by joining her on stage. He made a surprise appearance to perform his part on the slow track, “From Time,” which is off his last album, Nothing Was The Same. Check it out in this clip.
Muse Covered Nirvana
Drummer Dave Grohl recently initiated a Nirvana reunion, asking British singer PJ Harvey to join the remaining members of the band. With this in mind, it was the perfect time for longtime Coachella performers Muse to showcase their own rendition of the track, “Lithium.” And that they did. You can watch an unfortunately low-quality clip of their cover here.
Coachella is not exactly known for its style accolades but it’s usually just the attendees who’s clothing errs on a side of offensive cultural appropriation, see: bindis. All thousands of them. This year, however, even the performers were getting carried away with themselves. Pharrell must be feeling pretty sorry for himself after being quickly upstaged by Kid Cudi and his crop top. And Chance The Rapper went all YMCA on us with a pair of denim overalls, worn with nothing but his birthday suit underneath.