INDIO, California — Eschewing the big light shows of the weekend's earlier main-stage acts, Arcade Fire stripped down for Saturday night's Coachella crowd to let their sunny sing-alongs shine through.
They bookended their set with cuts from their Grammy-winning The Suburbs, starting with "Month of May" and closing out with "Sprawl II."
Through it all, the crowd kept bopping, belting out "Rebellion (Lies)," and both "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" and "Neighborhood 3 (Power Out)."
The recent surprise Album of the Year winners expressed their gratitude several times, admitting, "It's pretty intimidating to be up here in front of all you people," and later professing, "We don't take this for granted, even for a second."
Check out photos from the Coachella Festival.
This year, its 12th, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is presenting more than 100 bands over three days on the Empire Polo Club fields.
Anyone who let Animal Collective's reputation as a less-than-stellar live act convince them to stay away missed a wonderfully frantic set backed by stunning videography. The Baltimore experimentalists amply surpassed their duties and proved that, yes, they could bring it to the main stage. Their audience was thin, as positive word of mouth sent the masses to watch Empire of the Sun on the Outdoor stage. But the Empire experience is all about their theatrical stage show, which only the closest quarter or so of the crowd got to see.
Erykah Badu's late-afternoon set had her soul sisters and fan boys enthralled. After beginning with "20 Feet Tall," she told them "Didn't Cha Know" is her favorite song to sing and "If it starts feeling too good, don't hesitate to scream."
Those missing this year's lack of hard-rock acts had the chance to bang their heads to Rage Against the Machine spitter Zach De La Rocha and former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore's surprisingly standard One Day as a Lion.
Elsewhere, Swell Season soothed tired eardrums, and mad scientist Daedelus captivated. The Scissor Sisters gave a shout-out to earlier Mojave tent act Elbow, saying, "They don't get the recognition they deserve, here in this country — just like the Scissor Sisters!"
While Steve Angello brought house music to the masses in the Sahara tent, Andy C. and GQ reminded an intimate group of drum and bass fans in the Oasis dome of the late-'90s height of their rave days. Earlier, Laidback Luke had the Sahara pounding with an eclectic sunset performance that masterfully blended dance staples like "Better Off Alone" and new classic "When Love Takes Over" with Coldplay's "Clocks" — somehow managing to make detours into dubstep and Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain" blend seamlessly.
Coachella kicked off Friday with Kings of Leon, Interpol and the Chemical Brothers.
On tap for Sunday (April 17): Wiz Khalifa, the Strokes, Duck Sauce and Kanye West.
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