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Made in America 2015

9 Awesome Made in America 2015 Saturday Sets: Beyoncé, Nick Jonas & More

Beyoncé's headlining a set was just the cap to a day of cool performances

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The Philadelphia sun was out for the first day of Made in America 2015, Saturday, September 5, but the heat coming from the multiple stages was even hotter. Nick Jonas led sing-along after sing-along in the afternoon, Meek Mill surprised all with guest Nicki Minaj and of course, headliner Beyoncé lit up the night. Check out the day's nine best performances.

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Nick Jonas

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Taking the Liberty Stage by storm during the first day of Made in America 2015, Nick Jonas has clearly come into his own as a solo artist commanding a stage. Bookended by “Chains” and “Jealous,” two of his biggest solo hits, Jonas’ set featured unexpected covers (the 1990 classic “Poison” by Philly’s own Bell Biv Devoe) and more of his own hits, all sung with charm, confidence and full-throttle vocals. Nick may be the youngest of his former bandmates and famous brothers, but he’s not standing in anyone’s shadow.  -Mark Sundstrom

3 / 10

Meek Mill

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Meek's set killed, confused and gave us the only megawatt rap cameo of Made in America's first day. Philadelphia's own started his homecoming with "Lord Knows," the lead-in to recent No. 1 album Dreams Worth More Than Money—and then ignited a frenzied shuffle between pre-Dreams Meek, a tiny bit of the album and a truckload of other people's jams. The DJ party led to a guest appearance from Meek's young son, who'd asked dad if he could come out and dance. Things went from, "Awwww, cute" to "Damn, this kid is nae-nae-ing and stanky legging with the best" fast. Then Meek had his DJ shower the crowd with a few choice Nicki Minaj cuts—leading to an appearance from Her Minajesty herself, who once again called Meek "my baby daddy" and joined him for a performance of "All Eyes on You." (While holding her purse.) -Zach Dionne

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Death Cab For Cutie

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Anyone who missed the underlying fire of Death Cab For Cutie’s post-sunset workout on the Liberty Stage may have thought it was merely mellow. But while the Beyhive continued their day of jockeying for position across the field, Ben Gibbard and company created a forcefield of passionate guitars around his distinct voice as they cruised through favorites like 2008’s “I Will Possess Your Heart” and closer “Trasatlanticism” (2003) as well as goodies like “Black Sun” from their 2015 album Kintsugi. -Jessica Letkemann

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Earl Sweatshirt

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Made in America's music started at 1:15; Earl was on by 2:30. The 21-year-old's often bleak (and generally superlative) bars can feel best suited to a dark, hazy room, but they did the trick to get the fest's crowd going. Earl has the same fervent fan base the rest of his Odd Future brothers do, and by the time he was working the chant-along game on "DNA," off his March album I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, it felt like Earl's world from the front all the way back to the blanket people. -Zach Dionne

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Strand of Oaks

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Waaaay out front on the Skate Stage, MiA had a whole different scene: complete chill. As the sun went down, Strand of Oaks was out there beaming out an hour of warm, honeyed riffs for the small crowd gathered there. While people swarmed the food trucks and bigger stages, Philly resident Timothy Showalter served up welcome breathing room and a mid-'70s Neil Young vibe. -Jessica Letkemann

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Modest Mouse

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Once the Struts left their opening slot on the Rocky Stage, MiA's biggest spot stayed in the hip hop lane till Modest Mouse creeped up at 8:30, the first after-dark act at Rocky. The Washington state indie rockers returned in 2015 with Strangers to Ourselves after an eight-year recording absence, and the resurgent fire showed. Modest Mouse gave a strong display of its new material while also giving longtime fans—particularly those of Good News for People Who Love Bad News—exactly what they wanted. By the time "Float On" dropped, even the plowing-toward-the-front-for-Beyoncé-and-nobody-else folks were entranced. -Zach Dionne

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De La Soul

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De La Soul has been getting crowds moving since before most of the people watching the group’s afternoon set at MiA were even born. But they not only knew that, they embraced it during their afternoon set on the main Rocky stage. When they had the audience cheer by age range, the under 25s made the biggest noise while the over 35s sounded barely there. But then they had us put our hands to celebrate the way you can love the energy of music, even if you don’t know it. Every arm was in the air. “That’s what hip hop is all about.” Still, when Maseo, Posdnuos and Dave (in a Biz Markie shirt) dropped class of ’88 gems like “Potholes In My Lawn” and the inevitable “Me, Myself & I,” it was clear that everyone loved what they were hearing. -Jessica Letkemann

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Vic Mensa

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One of hip hop's hottest prospects—seen at one point handing out side-stage with his Roc Nation boss Jay Z during Nick Jonas’ set—was the second act to hit the main stage early in the day. For a guy who still doesn't have an album and whose last release (2013's mixtape Innanetape) is pretty far in the rearview, the 22-year-old Chicagoan worked his show like a seasoned superstar. Maybe the most stylish performer till Beyoncé's arrival seven hours later, Mensa put Kanye West's "All Day" on the PA before working through his own scorching solo tracks, chest-pounding new material and a handful of crazy crowd pleasers. Among the latter? Kanye's still-available-only-in-bootleg-form "Wolves" and Chance the Rapper's "Cocoa Butter Kisses," both of which feature Vic sections and work perfectly in a Vic solo set. Shockwaves also spread from the stage on the Skrillex-featuring single "No Chill" ("Practice? What the fuck is practice?!") and "U Mad," the Yeezy-less Yeezy duet. But it was the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover that threatened to crack the actual ground apart; never were Vic's two backup guys — both armed with guitars, one with a neck tattoo of the "100" emoji — put to better use. -Zach Dionne

10 / 10


Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

There’s a reason that most of Made in America’s attendees—regardless of gender, race or age—decided to stand in one place for four hours or more Saturday night, enduring sore feet, and pushy strangers. That reason? Beyoncé. Her name alone evokes the showmanship, professionalism and raw talent that demands your undivided attention, even before she sets one foot on stage. Once 10:30pm finally arrived, Bey ran through a bunch of her biggest hits during her hour-and-a-half headlining set, often finding ways to reinvent them or turn some into a medley or mash-up. Highlight: Beyoncé covering a bit of the Doors’ “Five to One” only to flip it into her own “Ring the Alarm” sung over the classic song’s instrumental. -Mark Sundstrom

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