Long after a festival ends, and attendees have forgotten the things like standing in line and all of the trudging along until their feet are sore, it is the special moments that only a festival can spawn which are cherished forever. The final day of Firefly brought a series of these perfect moments, giving the attendees a chance to hear one of the best selections of powerhouse bands that the festival offered all weekend. Below is our rundown of the five epic moments that Firefly gave us on Sunday. You can also check out our coverage of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and for more on Firefly, click here.
5. Hamilton Leithauser overcomes sound bleed
Despite the plethora of trees at The Woodlands, sometimes Firefly suffers from sound bleed between the closer stages. Singer Hamilton Leithauser suffered from this during his afternoon set on the lawn stage; as a rapper, in the words of Leithauser, kept “dropping it” at the neighboring stage, the persistent singer and his band carried on. Fans who worked through it all with him were treated to a delightful performance, as he sounds even better live than on the radio.
4. Bleachers get the whole crowd up on someone’s shoulders
The main stage brought a series of excellent bands all day long on Sunday, and Bleachers was one of the prestigious lineup midday. The band, complete with two drummers and a saxophonist, were one of the most dynamic to play Firefly all weekend. Their bassist even played through the set, complete with a rad solo, with two broken fingers. Frontman Jack Antonoff got much of the crowd to hold someone on their shoulders for the rest of the show, before finishing out the set playing his guitar while lying on his back. Bleachers proved what many already knew, that they are the perfect summer band.
3. The Shins and Phantogram create the worst conflict
For many fans, The Shins' and Phantogram's sets created a terrible conflict, coming in at practically the same time. It also posed problematic for those with great spots by the main stage, who had wanted to see both Thirty Seconds to Mars and Muse. Whoever fans chose, it wasn't a disappointment, as both bands put on epic sets. Phantogram's electric-tinged rock is always a show stopper, and this year did not disappoint, proving the band will surely be back to take over the main stage in future years. The Shins, offering the most alternative-rock set of the day, gave fans a preview of what will be to come on their pending Heartworms tour, as they threw in a good amount of new tracks alongside the hits you remember from theirGarden State discovery days or beyond.
2. Thirty Seconds to Mars win at audience participation
Prior to taking the stage, Thirty Seconds to Mars employees perused the crowd for audience members willing to come stand on stage in a corral, hold flags, or hurl balloons into the audience. Soon, the band had an entire crew recruited, and they took the stage to a packed-out main stage that was worked into a lather to see the group. There was confetti, there were popsicles hurled into the pit, and Jared Leto took the stage wearing a camo ballcap, a kimono, and a sweater embroidered with rabbits. Leto at one point jumped into the audience, shaking hands with every fan on one side of the barricade, as he made his way to a platform near the sound booth to play a moving acoustic version of "The Kill." Later, back on stage, he ordered the eager crowd through a series of jumps, fist pumps, and getting down low like a task master.
At one point, Leto hand picked audience members to join him on stage, including a guy who was wearing a seahorse suit in the 90-degree heat, leading Leto to ask him "Are you on drugs?" Proving that he is the same mad genius who most recently played The Joker, Leto sought out two girls who were "restraining order crazy" to also join him, as one desperate guy up front kept calling out "I can be anything you want me to be!" to get in on the action. Despite the conveyer belt of crowd surfers, encouraged by the band, both old fans and new had a fun and eye-opening experience. Before the set was over, Leto once again addressed the crowd, this time asking them to keep a secret: it turns out, he announced, the band will have new music, as well as a tour, coming soon.
1. Muse close Firefly with a bang
In the middle of their US tour, Muse made their first appearance in the state of Delaware, running through new tracks like "Dig Down," old favorites like "Starlight" and their quirky, albeit confusing to some, version of The Cramps' song "New Kind of Kick." Singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy had taken the stage in light-up shutter shades and an illuminated guitar, setting the mood for the electric show complete with moving banks of video monitors, a shifting drum platform for Dominic Howard, and a series of impressive visuals. During "The Handler," a Westworld-esque clip featuring robots in production soon turned into a pair of giant robotic hands with puppet strings attached to Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme, tuned in to move along with the musicians' movements. Ending out their high-energy show with fan favorite "Knights of Cydonia," giant streamers and confetti were shot off. It may have been Muse's first trip to Firefly, but we certainly hope it isn't the last.