Obviously, the defining moment of the first weekend of Coachella 2012 was seeing Tupac Shakur raised from the dead. The incredibly life-like hologram of the dearly departed rapper (who was shot to death in 1996) appeared halfway through Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre‘s all-star, jam-packed headlining set, stealing the thunder of pretty much everyone else on that stage. (That’s no easy feat, mind you.) But 2Pac’s jaw-dropping materialization wasn’t the only memorable moment from Sunday’s events – head below to find out who else turned the Polo Fields into a musical wonderland.
MOST MINDBLOWING: The Tupac hologram, of course! We all heard the rumors that both Nate Dogg and Tupac Shakur would show up during Dre and Snoop’s set via hologram, but when Nate Dogg’s song and shout-out came and went without 3D technology, we figured they were just rumors. NOPE. Tupac arrived, alright, and it took me practically the length of his (its?) performance of “Hail Mary” to realize that wasn’t just a dude up there lip-syncing Tupac’s rhymes. Despite the WOW factor of this moment, it was also pretty sentimental — if Tupac had been alive, he would have been up there with his pals. Though I can see how some could find Snoop rapping with a virtual image of his deceased buddy kind of creepy, I thought it was a touching way to bring him back and give him the posthumous opportunity to play Coachella.
BEST CAMEO: Tupac again, though he had some heavy competition by the rest of Dre and Snoop’s possee. Eminem killed his three songs with Dre (“Forget About Dre” was especially a crowdpleaser), Wiz Khalifa made a chill appearance with Snoop on their stoner flick tune “Young, Wild & Free”, and 50 Centstayed around long enough to bust out his own hit, “In Da Club.” Kimbra must have taken the same plane from SNL to Coachella as Gotye, as the two performed their ubiquitous song “Somebody That I Used To Know” to an enraptured audience. Rihanna also made quite a memorable appearance during Calvin Harris‘ set, but more on that below. Watch Eminem and Dre rock the main stage below:
COACHELLA’S MOST SOCIAL BUTTERFLY: Kendrick Lamar wound up performing on the main stage every single day of the fest – he impressed during his own set on Friday afternoon, dropped in at Childish Gambino‘s gig on Saturday, and teamed up with Dre on their new single, “The Recipe”.
BIGGEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT: When the lights went down and a humming sound began, everyone got excited for the start of Snoop and Dre’s headlining set. But all that turned out to be was a “Powered By Dre” message on the main stage’s screens, because a businessman like Dre doesn’t pass up an opportunity to promote his company! There was also a Beats By Dre lounge on site, where you could slap on some insanely expensive headphones, put on some 3-D glasses, and recline on a vibrating bench while watching a band play the main stage. (Particularly helpful if you wanted a reprieve from Friday night’s bitter winds or Sunday afternoon’s harsh sun.)
MOST META: While playing their hit song “D.A.N.C.E.” (while colorful neon glowstick continuously popped into the air above the massive crowd like fireworks), Justice slipped in a sample of Jay-Z‘s “On To The Next One”… which happens to sample Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” Well done, French dudes.
MOST CONVENIENT FOR ME: I left Justice’s raging set at the main stage to check out Calvin Harris in the Sahara tent…. who was playing Justice’s “We Are Your Friends” the moment I arrived. What fortunate timing!
FLOWER POWER: This gigantic, animatronic flower showed up on Day 3. Yes, there is a guy operating it from inside the petals. I could have used that vantage point during Florence + The Machine‘s stellar performance at the Outdoor Stage, since I was so far back I could barely see the top of her red hair on the screens.
FOR THE LADIES: Florence + The Machine, who delivered a powerful, haunting set (all the while twirling around the stage like a music box ballerina), demanded that all the women get on the shoulders of “all the strong gentlemen in the house” for her Lungs track ”Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).”
MOST SUPPORTIVE: Purple-hued Katy Perry, who was front and center for her chica Rihanna’s two-song appearance (“Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love”) at Calvin Harris’s set. And RiRi gave her friend quite a show!
“Katy Perry! Make some noise for my main bitch in the house tonight!” screamed Rihanna to the crowd, who was clearly going bonkers over the amount of pop superpower in the Sahara tent at the same time. Watch RiRi’s full appearance below:
WORST SCHEDULING: For dance fans, choosing between Justice, Girl Talk and Calvin Harris was beyond annoying.
THE SONGS I HEARD THE MOST ALL WEEKEND: Avicii‘s “Levels” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Either by themselves (both Avicii and Gotye played the festival), remixed into other songs, or mashed-up with each other. I am also sure it is mandetory for every act in the dance tent to play at least one Daft Punk song during their set.
JUST HOW BAD WAS EVERYONE’S DANCING AT COACHELLA?: This bad.
THE WORST THING EVER: I’ve been covering Coachella for Idolator for three years now, and only realized on the last day of my third year that there is a separate VIP/Media entrance and exit that cuts your waiting time entering and leaving the fest by about 80%. GROAN. Well, at least I know now for next year!