After opening with headliners Post Malone, Vampire Weekend and Zedd, the second day of Las Vegas' Life Is Beautiful festival on Saturday (Sept. 21) was filled with many last-minute surprises that included a thought-provoking talk, a pop-up performance, a “lil” no-show, and a visit from Mr. Las Vegas himself.
See the day 2 highlights from Life Is Beatiful at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Tony Hsieh Chat The day started with an unplanned talk by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh for the Talkhouse Live podcast series. The duo said they conceptualized meet-up about one hour before. There was a packed house for the engaging discussion, which touched on resourcefulness and entrepreneurship. Friday’s Talkhouse was led by Portugal. The Man, Fred Armisen and Chris Redd, and Nikki Glaser and Kaitlyn Bristowe head up Sundays.
Chelsea Cutler & Maggie Rogers Reign The afternoon on the main stage belonged to powerhouse women Chelsea Cutler and Maggie Rogers, who performed back to back. The smooth melodic indie pop sounds of Cutler flowed well into the Rogers’ energetic folk pop bounce. In what would become a theme of the night, Cutler sported Las Vegas souvenir kitsch for her set, an oversized Las Vegas Motor Speedway T-shirt.
Only-in-Vegas Moments Since the three-day event takes place over 18 city blocks in the heart of downtown, it is a true street festival with Las Vegas’ stamp appearing everywhere. Strip headliners Blue Man Group popped up in surprising places throughout the day, even tending bar in one of the VIP areas at Patron. Meanwhile in the Breakthru Beverage hospitality suite, some of the country’s best bartenders converged to do surprise shifts, making cocktails for a crowd of food and beverage industry heavyweights.
Chance the Rapper Returns Life is Beautiful’s most intimate stage, the Huntridge, is always the place to see interesting, up-and-coming acts or the well-established in a close-up environment. Saturday evening hip-hop fans who gathered for a set by Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett were surprised when his brother Chance the Rapper, who headlined the main stage Friday night, came on stage to duet “Broad Shoulders.”
Lil Wayne Did Not Perform One of the biggest crowds of the night gathered at 9:20 p.m. at the main downtown stage for what was one of the most highly anticipated appearances of the festival by Lil Wayne. Ten minutes into the posted time, an announcement was made that “unfortunately Lil Wayne will not be able to perform tonight.” Billboard reached out to the festival for comment but no official statement has been given. This comes on the heels of Wayne canceling a St. Louis performance with Blink-182 on Sept. 14.
Dashboard Confessional Suffers a Guitar Glitch When it came time to play one of his biggest hits “Screaming Infidelities,” Dashboard Confessional lead singer Chris Carrabba couldn’t because of a technical issue with his acoustic guitar. Making light of the situation, he told the crowd, “Well that’s the first time I haven’t played that song at a show.”
Wayne Newton Joins Dan Auerbach for “Lonely Boy” Main stage headliner The Black Keys, who wore kitschy souvenir visors, took it up another level by bringing out Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton to close out their set with “Lonely Boy.” What preceded that moment was a solid hour of rock excellence in support of their 2019 reemergence after five years.
Other standout performances included Janelle Monae, Pinks Sweats, Of Monsters and Men, and Rüfüs Du Sol, leaving the crowd highly anticipating the third and final day of the music and art festival, which is now in its seventh year.