All hail Beyonce.
The Queen Bey took Coachella by storm on Saturday night, proving again that Beyonce is the biggest act in all of music. Bigger than the Super Bowl Halftime show and bigger than Coachella. Beyonce may have had plenty of guests – Jay Z for “Deja Vu,” Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for a three-song Destiny’s Child medley, and Solange for “Get Me Bodied” – but the spotlight was all hers. The two-hour set included five custom Balmain costumes, a huge dance-off, a huge choir, a marching band, and even a rousing nod to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is known as the “black national anthem.” That led to Formation, which led to Beyonce’s complete domination of the event.
Beyonce was aware that she was making history, saying “Coachella, thank you for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline,” and then launching into “Run the World (Girls).” But it wasn’t enough for her to just be there. Beyonce put on a show that may never be matched on the Coachella stage.
There were a few other artists who were worth watching after the event’s first weekend.
The Best of the Rest
Fresh off a performance at Saturday Night Live, where Cardi B channeled Beyonce’s pregnancy reveal with one of her own, Cardi B continued to own it. She gave a full show to back her new album, Invasion of Privacy. The rapper burned through her best material, teaming with Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, G-Eazy and YG.
Oldie-but-goodie David Byrne surprised concert-goers with a highly theatrical performance that included a smaller marching band and plenty of choreography. Dressed in matching suits, the band played both vintage Talking Heads and Byrne’s more recent music. Byrne ended his set with a shout out to Black Lives Matter and Janelle Monae, drumming and singing Monae’s 2013 anthem, “Hell You Talmbout.”
The Weekend is nothing if not emotional, and that goes double for his new EP. His fans believe the album is influenced by his breakup with Selena Gomez, while others point out that he was on again, off again with Bella Hadid for much longer. But regardless of the impetus for the material, one thing is clear – The Weekend is a mess, and that made for a riveting performance. The Weekend wept openly throughout his emo set.
Nile Rodgers and Chic
Stuck in the early mid-afternoon was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century: Chic, featuring Nile Rodgers.Despite their many hit songs, the band also wrote and produced a slew of hits for other artists, including Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Oot,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance. Chic knew that many of the festival-goers had no idea how deep Rogers had influenced the music they love. Rogers actually gave the audience a polite primer (not a lecture) on where Chic had been and how they had influenced pop music. Their blistering performance set the tone for Beyonce later Saturday night.