Coachella 2012 – 9 Best Moments

You may have heard by now that Tupac Shakur, resurrected in hologram form, was beamed down into the Indio desert at this past weekend’s Coachella festival to spread some virtual California love. If you missed it, here’s the faux Tupac’s performance, in all its 3D weirdness:

Surely that made most festivalgoers’ top 10 memorable Coachella moments lists – if only because it spawned a new Twitter account, @HologramTupac, that has provided hours of entertainment long after Coachella has concluded.


But other cool moments, created by actual flesh-and-blood musicians, took place in the desert as well. Here are nine of them, to round out that obligatory top 10 list:

9 Lykke Li Joins Miike Snow


After American Miike Snow singer Andrew Wyatt announced that Swedish songstess Lykke Li had just gotten engaged, she joined the two-thirds-Swedish electropop band on the Outdoor Stage, looking radiant and happy, and cuteness ensued (see the 1:30 mark below).

8Usher Guests With David Guetta

The R&B star surprised Sahara Tent revelers when he jumped on top of the DJ booth to sing his megahit with the French DJ, ‘Without You.’ But the crowd was singing along and screaming so excitedly, Usher could barely be heard anyway.
7Rihanna Parties With Calvin Harris

This was another big pop star/superstar DJ combo of Coachella 2012, and while dance tent attendees (at least the ones who don’t follow Calvin on Twitter, and therefore weren’t tipped off to this “big surprise”) were shocked to see Rihanna show up during his set, it was pretty clear that this was no hologram. Hopping onstage for ‘Where Have You Been’ followed by ‘We Found Love’, the real-life RiRi rocked a teeny-tiny pair of studded short-shorts onstage, then hopped in the crowd to take photos with fans–among them one of her biggest admirers, a newly purple-haired Katy Perry.
6Childish Gambino

Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, is best known in America for his role on the cult sitcom Community, but if the rumors of that show’s cancellation ever prove true, the guy clearly has a plan B to fall back on. His main stage set proved that his rap career is no vanity project, and he was in legit company, joined by of-the-moment MCs Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar – the later of whom returned to the main stage later that weekend to perform with Dr. Dre.
5Refused Finally Play

“Back in the day, we made this feeble attempt to take over your country in 1996. We were gonna take over your system!” Dennis Lyxzén, frontman for the reunited Swedish hardcore legends, told the crowd on Friday night. “But apart from wanting to overthrow capitalism, you want to play music that people like…. This is a humbling experience for a bunch of Swedish guys whose last show in America was in 1998 in Harrisburg, Virginia, in a basement in front of 40 people. To see that there’s this many people who want to see us, it’s fucking arrogant not to play!”
4Pete Shelley Goes Solo

Elder statesmen of pop-punk Buzzcocks were in fine form Saturday, with founding members Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, both 57 years old, managing to inspire a massive moshpit of kids to thrash (and even pogo at one point) to their classic singles-still-going-steady like ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ and ‘Orgasm Addict’. But the highlight of the band’s set had to be when Pete unexpectedly (and amazingly) played his two synthy ’80s solo hits, ‘Homosapien’ and ‘Telephone Operator’, back to back. Can Pete play a solo set at Coachella next year, please?

3St. Vincent Crowd-Surfs

Annie Clark’s first-ever performance of ‘Krokodil’ (her forthcoming Record Store Day seven-inch single) was the highlight of her set, and one of the highlights of the festival overall. Jumping into the fray to belt out the urgent and propulsive tune, she performed the entire song crowd-surfing atop the outstretched arms of the adoring audience, and somehow never lost her breath or her cool. When security guards finally pulled her out of the chaos and returned her to the stage, she looked as elegant and unflappable and Audrey-Hepburn-esque as ever, and she finished her set with a fantastic cover of Pop Group’s ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil’ without missing a beat. If there was ever any evidence that Annie Clark is a goddess, this performance – sure to be one of Coachella 2012’s most discussed and most YouTubed – was it.

2The Hives’ Howlin’ Pele Gives Good Banter

After a five-year recording hiatus, and nine years after making their Coachella debut on the same stage in the same 6pm Sunday timeslot, Swedish garage-rockers the Hives orchestrated a triumphant comeback, assisted by stealthy ninja-costumed roadies and dressed to impress in top hats and tails.


(Hilarious frontman Howlin’ Pele Almqvist explained, “This is our desert camouflage; this is what Swedes wear to the desert.” Okay, then.) Pele was a masterful master of ceremonies whose every quip was so brilliant, he could (and should) release a live album consisting entirely of his Coachella stage banter. Maybe he can rush that out in time for Record Store Day.

1Jarvis Cocker

Jarv crawled up on a speaker and flirted with the onstage sign-language interpreter during ‘F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.’ He fearlessly threw his lanky frame into the audience during ‘The Fear.’ He dramatically beamed a flashlight directly into his eye during ‘This Is Hardcore.’ He seemed to cue up a drizzly rainstorm at just the perfect ironic moment of ‘Sunrise.’ And then he told the thoroughly seduced audience, “We’ve gotten to know each other a bit, and you seem really nice. We met at the disco, then we kissed a little bit, and now I’m going to have to penetrate you!” He did that musically, of course, ending the set with a stupendous rendition of ‘Common People’ that climaxed, almost literally, with a simulated orgasm that would have impressed even Meg “Sally” Ryan. Jarvis Cocker is, simply put, not a common person. He is a magical man, and Pulp should headline Coachella 2013 and, come to think of it, every Coachella festival after that. Someone should make a hologram of this guy.

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