Ladies and gentleman, Coachella 2012 is officially over. But the lineup on Sunday made sure to leave a lasting impression for the next 362 days. Florence + the Machine, Real Estate, At the Drive-In and, of course, Snoop, Dre and hologram 2Pac threw down. Check out our list of the 10 best moments below.
1. Celeb sighting No. 2: Katy Perry’s sense of humor: So, thanks to a mutual friend, I had a short conversation with pop princess Katy Perry Sunday night, and it turns out that she’s absolutely weird and hilarious. Love it. Here’s what was said: Me: “Oh, yeah, nice to meet you. Did you see The Hives?" Her: "Um, I have hives...? Er, I had hives? No, I do. I do. No, I don’t."
2. Real Estate’s heavenly breeze: Few things suck more than waiting in line, especially in 111-degree weather. So, as I queued to enter Coachella Sunday afternoon, I was particularly stoked to hear New Jersey’s Real Estate in action in the distance, playing tracks from their new LP, Days. The sound was breezy and led by intertwining surf guitar riffs. It was quite refreshing, really. So I ran over to investigate: "Common guys, this is the last day,” frontman Martin Courtney encouraged the crowd. “This is it." Then they offered a set-closing treat: “We’re gonna play a song we didn’t play last week,” explained Courtney. The quintet then strutted through “Beach Comber,” from their self-titled debut—my favorite song!
3. Fitz and the Tantrums’ soulful Annie Lennox cover: Last Tuesday I interviewed Marilyn Manson at his loft in West Hollywood in Los Angeles, and during my preparations for our chat I reacquainted myself with his cover of Annie Lennonx’s “Sweet Dreams.” Sunday afternoon I saw Fitz and the Tantrums play their own funked-up, R&B-tinged rendition, which is about as different from Manson’s version as humanly possible. It sounded like it was a lost B-side from Mark Ronson’s Version LP with its blaring horns and wailing vocals.
4. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” / Airplane Boys remix: How does Gotye's breakout mega hit “Somebody That I Used to Know" sound live? Well, like a remix featuring the Airplane Boys. The crowd was so big during Gotye’s set that I couldn't even get within 50 feet of the tent, so the hip hop sounds of Toronto's Beck Motley (Mannie Serranilla) and Bon Voyage (Jason Drakes) - who spoke to Fuse earlier in the day - bled over, big time, during the quieter verse. Moments later, though, the chorus kicked in and the sing-along soon killed off any sign of the Boys.
5. At the Drive-In’s high school nostalgia: When I was 16 I loved El Paso, Texas’ At The Drive-In like no other. When they split in 2001 I sided with Sparta, the side-project of guitarist-vocalist Jim Ward (aka the really skinny dude that screams during the choruses), instead of the proggier, artier Mars Volta, the project of ATDI’s most recognizable members, singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. But I felt that Sparta’s powerful pop side lacked the artier aspects and the Mars Volta the poppier. So, yes, I’m damn excited that two reunited once again—it certainly touched a nostalgic note. While replicating the explosive stage antics of their early 20s seemed like, well, a pipe dream, Bixler-Zavala did his best on the band’s most known song, “One Armed Scissor.” As he spun, kicked and did his signature drop-squat dance like a Russian gypsy dancer. I did some pogoing of my own… and now my back hurts. Worth it.
6. Florence + The Machine’s dedication: "This song is for the ladies,” Florence Welch, the fire-haired English singer for Florence + the Machine, said during her band’s set at the Outdoor Stage. She looked like a mystical sorceress in a long and flowing purple gown, not the sort of person you’d expect to say the following: “I want to see more girls on shoulders!!! Boys, be strong!!!" The band—featuring guitarist Robert Ackroyd, who was seen canoodling with Katy Perry all weekend—then kicked into their hit “Rabbit Heart.” Raise it up!
7. Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s lifelong friendship: As Snoop and Dre dropped the G-funk hits one after another, I found myself calling my high school buddies, the same guys that I first listened to Snoop and Dre with. I held my phone up high for them to hear, and sang and rapped along. All the sentimentality had me thinking about Snoop and Dre’s friendship, too. The two dudes have been homies since high school and experienced all the trappings of fame together, both good times (money, bitches) and bad (court cases, Suge Knight). I felt like it was their partnership that was actually headlining Coachella—the buff production genius and hesitant rapper and his skinny, stoney, ultra confident partner. It seemed like a victory lap 20 years in the making. Smiles abounded. As for the 2Pac hologram? It looks suspiciously like a video game in person, and it just felt weird. Em looks good, though. Healthy.
8. Man or dinosaur?
9. Organic flatbread pizza: I got food poisoning at Coachella last year (the culprit: fish tacos, I think), so I was hesitant about eating anything sold on the festival grounds again this year. I finally broke down and got the safest thing in the food area: the organic flat bread pizza. Turns out it was also the best. I returned three more times. Mmmm, pizza.
10. Celeb sighting No. 2: Pro surfer Rob Machado: The wave-shredding legend and all around zen bro was strolling the VIP section with a lady friend. Gnarly.