Best Coachella Performances Ever


From The Cure breaking curfew to Madonna dazzling the dance tent to Tupac’s on-stage resurrection, these are the 23 moments that helped make Coachella the king of all U.S. festivals.

Thousands of sun-worshipping music followers will head out to the desert in Indio, Calif. for the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 12.

Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande will headline the pageant, with artists like Janelle Monáe​, The 1975, Kid Cudi, Billie Eilish, Khalid, and Zedd additionally taking the stage together with dozens of different indie bands, dance and hip-hop acts to maintain the tunes going nonstop on the pageant's a number of levels.

As we gear up for Coachella's 20th anniversary, have a look again at 23 of probably the most memorable moments from the pageant's previous.

23. Pharrell Williams Brings The Hits — And Famous Friends (2014)

During the spring of 2014, Pharrell Williams' "Happy" settled in on the prime of the Hot 100 chart and the super-producer had accomplished his miraculous profession renaissance as a number one man. Coachella, then, was his victory lap, and what a lap it was: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly and Busta Rhymes had been among the many visitors, and Williams wanted no assist to get the massive crowd transferring throughout "Blurred Lines," "Get Lucky" and "Happy." A star-studded pop efficiency, Pharrell's set was one thing that might not be duplicated wherever exterior of Indio.

22. Pavement Gets The Band Back Together (2010)

When Pavement carried out at Coachella in 1999, the group was on the point of dissolution. That made their reunion present on the pageant 11 years later all of the sweeter: Stephen Malkmus and co. returned with a triumphant set that ended with a passionate model of "Cut Your Hair," and began a reunion tour that may stretch nicely past Indio. Coachella had as soon as once more turn into the house of a notable band reunion; that yr, Faith No More additionally obtained again collectively on the fest.

21. M83 Blows Out The Mojave Tent (2012)

There have been quite a lot of nice DJ units at Coachella over time, however few performances have provoked extra spastic dancing than M83's exuberant 2012 present. Making their first Coachella look since 2005, the French synth-pop group delivered a fully kinetic efficiency, punctuated by driving dance beats, lush new-wave chords and irresistible sing-along melodies. And when "Midnight City" lastly dropped, there wasn't a silent onlooker inside a thousand yards.

20. Lana Del Rey Becomes A Can't-Miss Performer (2014)

Lana Del Rey got here into Coachella with a substantial quantity of momentum in 2014, in addition to with lingering questions on her shaky early performances. She left the pageant as a dependable star, with a brand new onstage confidence and a delicate interaction along with her adoring followers. The singer debuted her single "West Coast" at Coachella, however her older hits — "Born To Die," "Blue Jeans," 'Video Games" — had seemingly the complete West Coast within the palm of Lana's hand.

19. Blur's Triumphant Return To The States (2013)

in 2013, Coachella hosted a Britpop revival that featured a closing efficiency by Madchester kings Stone Roses— however anybody in earshot will attest that the night time belonged to Blur, who gave its first efficiency on U.S. soil since 2003. With an elaborate backing band that included a choir of backup singers and a thundering horn part, the band stored the vitality excessive with standout tracks like "Boys & Girls," "Tender" and "Parklife." And, in fact, there was room for "Song 2." Woo-hoo!

18. Lady Gaga Strips Down "Edge of Glory," Leaves Crowd "Speechless" (2017)

Filling Beyonce's sneakers ain't straightforward, however Lady Gaga had no drawback when she took the stage for the Saturday night time headlining spot of Weekend One after Bey's cancellation. Amid a slew of her hits like "Just Dance," "Born This Way," and the aptly Beyonce-featuring "Telephone," Lady Gaga sang a handful of tracks that she hadn't for a number of years, together with Born This Way banger "Scheiße" and "Teeth." One of probably the most standout moments of her set got here simply after the midway mark, when Gaga took the piano for an emotional rendition of "Edge of Glory" that despatched her voice hovering throughout the desert grounds. After a mid-song wrestle to get her sweatshirt off ("It's fucking sizzling out right here," she stated, exhibiting her charming humility), she completed the tune robust and gave some heartfelt shout-outs to the gang. "I like you a lot, you permit me speechless" she stated earlier than main a roaring sing-along of "Speechless," marking her first efficiency of the monitor since 2011.

17. Calvin Harris Finds Love Alongside Rihanna (2012)

EDM dominated on the 2012 pageant, and no DJ had a much bigger breakout efficiency than Calvin Harris, who was killing his set within the Sahara tent lengthy earlier than Rihanna popped up as a particular visitor. When Rih appeared halfway by means of the set to carry out their hit collaborations "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been," the gang response was spectacular, and spectacularly loud. Who knew quiet Scottish producer might convey Coachella to its knees?

16. Outkast Stays So Fresh, So Clean (2014)

Outkast's comeback reveals at Coachella performed out like most Outkast albums — they had been flawed and included some down moments, however the excessive factors had been so euphoric that they didn't matter. The first half hour of Andre 3000 and Big Boi's return was mind-blowing ("B.O.B.," "Rosa Parks," "Gasoline Dreams," "Aquemini," "ATLiens"), and though Three-Stacks turned his again to the gang for "Hey Ya," Coachella nonetheless had "Hey Ya," being carried out reside, for the primary time in years. Outkast's reside present would turn into extra polished as their 2014 pageant run continued, however there was one thing undoubtedly particular about that first time.

15. Skrillex & Korn Destroy The Sahara Tent (2011)

In April 2011, Sonny Moore was nonetheless a younger producer on the rise, and Korn was a veteran nu-metal act whose followers weren't essentially flocking to an alternate pageant like Coachella. Nevertheless, the mix of the 2 artists made the Sahara tent go ballistic when Jonathan Davis and his merry males strolled onstage in entrance of Skrillex in 2011. Following the success of their collaboration, Korn tapped Skrillex to visitor on 4 tracks of their album The Path of Totality, launched later that yr.

14. Jay & Bey Stay "Young Forever" (2010)

In 2010, Jay Z turned the first-ever rapper to headline Coachella, and made certain to make his set a crowd-pleaser. Still using excessive off the success of his 2009 LP The Blueprint three, Hov peppered his present with hits like "Run This Town," "On to the Next One" and "Empire State of Mind," earlier than bringing out none aside from Beyonce to croon "Young Forever" in the course of the encore. Also of word: the setlist included a canopy of Oasis' "Wonderwall."

13. Phoenix Gets Remixed By R. Kelly (2013)

Prior to Phoenix's 2013 headlining set, rumors swirled that the French indie-rockers can be joined by Daft Punk, who had been teasing their album Random Access Memories on the time (and had guested with their countrymen throughout a 2010 Madison Square Garden present in 2010). The robots didn't present up this time, sadly, however Thomas Mars and Co. proved their headliner mettle with a classy, uptempo set…after which R. Kelly got here out for a mash-up of "Ignition (Remix)" and "1901." It wasn't Daft Punk, nevertheless it was the freakin' weekend, and Indio had some enjoyable.

12. Kanye West Brings The "Power" (2011)

Coachella wasn't recognized for reserving mainstream hip-hop acts, however organizers threw the gang a curve ball in 2006 pageant when, 24 hours earlier than the gates opened, organizers introduced that Kanye West would carry out on the principle stage. 'Ye returned to the California stage in 2011, bringing alongside a troupe of dancers, visitor appearances by Bon Iver and Pusha T, and sufficient pyrotechnics to gentle up the sphere. He carried out every part from the early hits like "Jesus Walks" and "Gold Digger" to "Dark Fantasy" crowd-pleasers like "All of the Lights" and "Power."

11. The Cure Can't Be Stopped (2009)

British goth kings the Cure are recognized for his or her marathon reside units, however in 2009, the band's present was actually reduce brief by the Coachella crew. After enjoying for greater than two-and-a half hours, frontman Robert Smith started the band's third encore by informing the gang that they'd had been instructed to play just one extra tune. The band performed two extra tunes with out incident. But because the Cure broke into its 1980 hit "Boys Don't Cry," pageant organizers reduce the main-stage audio system. The band continued to play by means of their stage displays, inflicting the gang to hurry the stage and take part an unprompted sing-along.

10. Kendrick Lamar Live Debuts Damn (2017)

Two days after taking up everybody's playlists with the discharge of the extremely anticipated (and now Grammy-winning) album Damn, Kendrick Lamar lit up the Coachella stage with reside debuts of 10 of the album's 14 tracks. Fans had been stoked sufficient to listen to new tracks throughout his weekend-closing set, however he made the efficiency much more memorable with a number of surprises: ScHoolboy Q for a canopy of "That Part," Future for his or her remix of "Mask Off,"and Travis Scott for his or her collaboration "Goosebumps" — the latter two of which Lamar had by no means carried out earlier than both. His vitality was felt all through the complete 19-song set, nevertheless it was the back-to-back finale of the visually mind-blowing "Humble" and the vibing "Love" that basically despatched followers house buzzing.

9. Roger Waters' Pig Takes Flight (2008)

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters introduced the entire fog, pyrotechnics and props he might carry to Coachella for his 2008 headlining spot. One of these included an enormous inflatable pig that hovered in regards to the crowd in the course of the tune "Sheep." But Waters was shocked to see the graffittied swine — which boasted the phrase "Obama" on its underbelly — floating off into the night time sky on the tune's conclusion. "That's my pig," Waters uttered earlier than leaving the stage (solely to return to play Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety). Coachella organizers provided 4 free lifetime passes and $10,000 to anybody who discovered the pig; the vinyl carcass was recovered in a Palm Springs nation membership a number of days later.

eight. Arcade Fire Blows Minds With Beach Balls (2011)

For their third Coachella look, indie kings Arcade Fire partnered with the Vice/Intel-powered Creator's Project and took the pageant beach-ball-cliche to beautiful and psychedelic new ranges. During "Wake Up," the height of the band's headlining set, 1000’s of LED-enhanced seaside balls had been dropped onto the unsuspecting crowd, whose squeals of enjoyment intensified as IR transmitters inside every orb started a syncopated gentle present that stretched throughout the sphere. After the present was over, many viewers members left with the coveted occasion favor, a few of which had been bought for as excessive as $1000 on eBay.

7. Madonna Rules The Dance Tent (2006)

Coachella purists raised their eyebrows when organizers introduced the addition on Madonna — probably the most mainstream act the alt-rock-leaning occasion had ever booked — because the Sahara dance tent's headlining act in 2006. But Madge proved that she belonged within the desert as she delivered a dynamic 30-minute set of membership hits that had everyone however the Tool followers shaking their asses.

6. Dre & Snoop Resurrect Tupac (2012)

Coachella funked up followers in 2012 when it reunited hip-hop icons Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to shut out each Sundays of its first two-weekend run. The pair's posse was in full impact in the course of the set, as 50 Cent, Warren G., Wiz Khalifa and Eminem turned as much as carry out a few of their basic G-era jams all through the present. Easily probably the most buzzed-about second, nonetheless, was when Tupac rose from the grave ( a life-sized, hologram-like 3D projection) to carry out two hits for the awed viewers.

5. Prince Parties Like It's 1984 (2008)

Three weeks earlier than Coachella 2008 kicked off, organizers introduced the addition of Prince as Saturday's headlining act. "I [came] to occasion," the pint-sized powerhouse screamed to the gang. "You are within the coolest place on Earth proper now." And simply to guarantee that was the case, Prince confirmed up with greater than his arsenal of hits — together with "Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette" — he additionally introduced an all-star '80s entourage that included percussion queen Shelia E. and members of the Time, who kicked off the set with a medley of "Jungle Love" and "The Bird."

four. Pixies Sell Out (2004)

After an 11-year hiatus, alt-rock godfathers the Pixies answered the prayers of Gen-Xers in all places and introduced a 16-date North American membership tour that concluded with a headlining spot at Coachella 2004. The band's much-hyped look drew document numbers to the polo grounds, leading to Coachella's first sell-out occasion, and garnered worldwide success for the pageant as one of many globe's premier music occasions.

three. Rage within the Desert (2007)

Coachella had hosted many reunion gigs on its grounds earlier than, however nothing shook the polo discipline fairly just like the return of Rage Against the Machine. Zack de La Rocha, Tom Morello and co. introduced their politically charged songs to the stage for the primary time in seven years and carried out in entrance of an estimated 100,000 individuals — the most important crowd in Coachella's historical past. The present was supposed to be a one-off, however because of the overwhelming response from followers, the gig promoted a full-scale band reunion.

2. Beyoncé Headlines "Beychella" (2018)

After a yearlong wait, Beyoncé turned the primary black lady to headline Coachella was then known as Beychella. Bey's practically two hour efficiency celebrated black pleasure, as she sampled Nina Simone, performed an excerpt of a Malcom X speech, and delivered a strong rendition of "Lift Every Voice." From her Balmain costume modifications to the step dancers and New-Orleans fashion brass marching band, the singer's numbers had been stuffed with vitality and pleasure. Naturally, there have been additionally shock performances, together with along with her sister Solange, husband Jay-Z, and Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. 

1. Daft Punk's Pyramid Lights Up The Night (2006)

The Sahara tent was packed as 40,000 individuals crammed their means into the 10,000-person tent to see Daft Punk play. The efficiency got here after the discharge of their album Human After All in 2005. The ensuing present was a sensory overload of lights and pounding base to create one of the vital memorable reveals in Coachella historical past. The present not solely redeemed Daft Punk's standing as dance music powerhouses, but additionally elevated the size of contemporary concert events.