Festival season is officially upon us. Last weekend, Coachella weekend one took place in the desert, where headliners Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino and Tame Impala took the stage for the festival’s 20th anniversary. As usual, Coachella gave festival goers tons of surprises, plenty of places to take Instagram photos and a weekend of amazing music.
AXS was onsite to witness the kick off of festival season. Check out our best moments from weekend one below, written by Melanie Moccia and Will Pankey. Take a look at the slideshow above to see what you missed and what you can expect weekend two—photos courtesy of Goldenvoice.
Tame Impala Steps Into Light
The Coachella lineup always contains at least one headliner where you speculate if they are big enough for the Coachella Stage. The comparison game is inevitable, and when it was announced that Tame would be sandwiched between Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, plenty of questions arose. Do they have the hits like Grande? Or the natural charisma of Gambino? But after seeing Kevin Parker and his band close out Saturday night of the festival with their hundreds of lasers, thunderous drums and their floating halo, it all made sense. To put Parker on any other stage would have been a mistake. And having a band as nimble as Tame, who can switch from the feathery disco of “Borderline” to the crowd favorite “Elephant” at a moment’s notice made for a thrilling show. It was like witnessing the biggest rock band in the world and that’s because we were.
Weezer Makes the Most of the Main Stage
Weezer is no stranger to Coachella, having played back in 2001 and 2005, but it’s arguable that their set this year came at a time when they are having a moment….for Weezer at least. The group released their actually-not-that-bad covers album earlier this year which featured their rendition of “Africa.” The song catapulted Weezer back in the cultural conversation, the song their highest charting hit in ages and the first time anyone thought of Toto outside of a lame karaoke outing with coworkers.
Once Coachella 2019 rolled around, all the stars aligned for Weezer to grace the main stage in only the way Weezer could. Of course, the group trotted out all their old hits you loved in middle school. But most importantly, they also brandished some bona fide star power with Tears for Fears and Chili from TLC joining the band for “Everybody Wants To Rule the World,” and “No Scrubs” respectively. Weezer might have been the last act you thought would have special guests, but they proved they still have some tricks up their sleeves almost three decades in.
YG Dedicates Set to Nipsey Hussle
Compton rapper YG has had a huge year—between touring and releasing his new album Stay Dangerous in 2018, it was inevitable that he would get a lot at Coachella. Playing on Sunday on the Sahara stage—one of the most popular at the festival—YG proved hip-hop rules music festivals and that it is indeed the most popular genre right now.
YG started off his set honoring the late Nipsey Hussle—which many other artist's such as Anderson .Paak did as well. His tribute had the crowd captivated, playing a video that would bring anyone to tears.
He then of course played some of his biggest hits—including “FDT,” and he even brought a Donald Trump impersonator on stage. It wouldn’t be a hip-hop set without special guests—YG then brought out Tyga to perform a version of “Taste,” and then brought out 2 Chainz and Big Sean to round out his set by playing his hit “Big Bank.”
Ariana Grande Proves Her Pop Stardom
As the only woman headliner on the bill and the youngest in Coachella history, Ariana Grande had a lot to live up to. Closing out the weekend, Grande proved that she is worthy enough to headline the mainstage. During her hour and a half set, Grande belted her hits—old and new—such as “God Is A Woman,” “Love Me Harder” and “7 Rings.” Those were just three of her 24-song set, and she didn’t skimp out on the surprise guests.
Every millennial child’s dream came true when she brought out *NSYNC (sans Justin Timberlake) to sing a rendition of “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” as well as Nicki Minaj. Despite sound issues, Minaj and Grande performed their song “Side To Side” together, before transitioning into a cover of Jessie J’s “Bang Bang.”
To follow the tribute trend that took place throughout the weekend, Grande also brought out Diddy and Mase, to perform “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” which was dedicated to Nipsey Hussle and Ariana’s ex, Mac Miller. She closed out the night by performing her hit single “Thank U, Next,” which was a perfect way to end an amazing Coachella weekend.