I’m not crying, I just have a little dust in my eyes. No, really: Coachella’s second day was largely engulfed by a more manageable (but still annoying!) version of the dust storm that turned last year’s event hazardous. That said, I might actually be crying too because I missed the historic alignment of Nas and Jay Z. The legendary MCs have combined on a number of records since patching up their feud in 2005, but they’d never performed on stage before Shawn joined Nasir Saturday night. To make the occasion extra historic, they did “Dead Presidents,” the song many credit for sparking their feud in the first place when Nas refused an offer to record the hook. They also did Jay’s “Where I’m From.” And that wasn’t the only big cameo of the day. Elsewhere in the Carter family, Beyoncé hopped on stage with sister Solange to dance out “Losing You.” Pharrell invited enough pals on stage with him that I began to wonder about the possibility of a Pharrell-centric road show. Lastly, dust combined with wind to remind us of mortality and Kansas. Carry on, wayward sons, to Saturday’s greatest moments.
01. The Dismemberment Plan Remains Wonderful
Readers sometimes assume that writers who take controversial positions are trolling, but I'd be trolling myself if I gave the #1 spot to Pharrell or Lorde or QOTSA or even Future Islands. It only belongs to the band that made my night. Lord knows the Dismemberment Plan could use the attention; upon taking the Gobi Tent stage around midnight last night they were directly competing with Muse, Skrillex, Nas, and the Pet Shop Boys. The resulting set was more sparsely attended than anything I've seen at this festival. That meant it had the feel of your average D-Plan club show, albeit with a large gulf in front of the band that prevented fans from climbing on stage for "The Ice Of Boston." I am predisposed to like the Dismemberment Plan -- check the avi -- but as readers of my Uncanney Valley review know, I also scrutinize them more harshly than most. So here's my scrutiny: They played like a band that only gets together every so often, which they are. They didn't come to Coachella as would-be conquerers. Yet despite a few minor flubs, they did conquer Coachella last night, at least for the tiny congregation that assembled to bear witness. The classics clicked as ever, buoyant and full of reckless abandon. But the new material connected too, imbued with a swagger that didn't quite come across on the record. I once put it this way: "Eventually, you don’t even notice the unusual turns of a song like 'Gyroscope,' you just get lost in the propulsive pace and Morrison’s masterful storytelling." That rang true last night. The Plan continued to majestically and spastically tap into human frustration and elation, and those of us who witnessed it couldn't help but get swept up in it. I only wish there were more of us.
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