April 18, 2016


Rihanna Graces Coachella with ‘We Found Love’ During Calvin Harris’ Performance

Kevin Mazur
Kevin Mazur

To cap the final night of Coachella, Calvin Harris gave a surprisingly spotty performance as the last act of weekend one, putting an end to a three-day fest that, in the previous evenings before, failed to draw sizable crowds despite the brand name booking.

The Scottish DJ didn't face any trouble in the capacity department—the main lawn was filled mostly to the back, with audience members sitting in anticipation for his set, which commenced 20 minutes past start time at 10:50 p.m.

For a musician who's found success on mainstream radio as a magnate producer over the past few years, Harris was limp when it came to sequencing, one of the fundamentals of adapting your on-record hot streak in real time. The fireworks shot high and the drops dipped low as he ran through the hits—"Bounce," "I Need Your Love," "Feel So Close"—but it felt stiff and mechanical. There was little artistry in segueing from one song to the next, and it often felt like an iPod was put on a greatest hits shuffle.

Which isn't to say the set didn't have its moments: The highlights of the show came in the form of guests. Rihanna was the biggest get, as the singer, spotted with Leonardo DiCaprio and Courtney Love over the past week, emerged for "We Found Love," which she performed with Harris at Coachella in 2012. Big Sean popped up for "Open Wide" and his solo hit "I Don't Fuck With You," while John Newman assisted for closer "Blame."

It was hard not to notice that Harris' girlfriend Taylor Swift, who was on the scene all weekend, failed to show up for a cameo (she was enjoying the show in the crowd). HAIM was also spotted around the grounds, and they too were missing.

In reality, Harris could have used more assistance, and the show felt somewhat limp because of it. As a DJ, it's difficult to lead the charge behind the decks on your own. And when you find difficulty finessing transitions and a rhythm—like playing Adele's "Hello" through two choruses, a particularly unsettling lowlight—it's best to get by with a little help from your friends. It was a big gig for Harris, and especially one to learn from.