INDIO, California — In what is sure to go down as one of the most memorable performances in Coachella history, Kanye West only disappointed anyone who was expecting the controversial MC to phone in his festival-ending set Sunday night.
As his troop of tribal dancers got the stage warmed up, West rose on a platform that soared him above the crowd, asking, “Can we get much higher?” ’Ye took the crowd into his “Dark Fantasy,” in a song that shouts out other 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival acts Nas and Kings of Leon.
He then urged, “Everybody do the ’Power’ clap” and sent fireworks into air.
The jams continued relentlessly with “Jesus Walks” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” a song from 2007’s Graduation that had a recent surge in popularity when it was featured in “The Hangover.”
Nicki Minaj fans were no doubt hoping she’d come out to spit her “Monster” verse, but her Twitter followers were informed that the femcee was in Arizona over the weekend.
West’s relentless stream of popular tracks, including “Flashing Lights” and “Touch the Sky,” kept the captivated masses from leaving to explore what other late-night options were in the festival’s tents.
And even after “All Falls Down” and “Gold Digger,” ’Ye wasn’t lying when he promised, “The hits ain’t over yet. We just keep goin’ and goin’. ”
“All of the Lights” and “Stronger” followed, and as midnight rolled around, the crowd, desperate for more, was relieved when the screen announced “Act 3″ was still to come.
When ’Ye returned, it was in his red suit for the “Runaway” anthem. After such an emotional performance, whatever he had left in his heart poured out with “Hey Mama,” during which he declared, “This show is dedicated to you, Mama.” ’Ye and his dancers then lined the stage and held hands for a triumphant bow.
Earlier, the Strokes packed the main stage, tearing through “Under Cover of Darkness,” “New York City Cops” and “Someday,” in front of lights so bright singer Julian Casablancas joked, “Can you make it brighter in here?” making sure to clarify, “That was sarcasm.”
Duran Duran, who said, “We have been looking forward to this moment for weeks and weeks,” played everything their fans desired. The set, beginning with “Planet Earth,” also featured “A View to a Kill,” “Girls on Film” and, of course, “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Scissor Sisters vocalist Ana Matronic, whose band closed out the Mojave tent Saturday night, joined the ’80s icons onstage.
In the afternoon, Nas and Damien Marley joined forces, playing both their solo hits and cuts from their collaborative album, Distant Relatives. “Are there any Bob Marley fans out there?” they asked before closing with “Could You Be Loved.”
Wrapping up the Sahara tent, Steve Angello easily coaxed out any remaining dance energy.
And, in front of her adoring fans gathered at the Outdoor stage, PJ Harvey presented mostly new material from Let England Shake. Her Coachella debut was greeted with a sign in the crowd reading, “PJ Harvey is the real closing headliner.” She tapped into her earlier albums for “The Sky Lit Up” and her 1995 breakthrough hit, “Down by the Water.”
Also Sunday, Best Coast took advantage of the remaining daylight to sing the sun off with their sweet soaring vocals; Chromeo had the crowd getting down to their synthed-up funk; and Health brought their frenetic energy to the Mojave tent.
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