The 8 Best Coachella Moments Over the Years
    • THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

    • Posted by: Robert Steiner

    Coachella's weekend one wrapped up without a hitch, and now many are waiting anxiously for the working week to end so that they can go back to the California desert for round two. In the meantime, if you've been itching for more Coachella fix, then why not look back to the decade-plus' worth of performances that have gone down since 1999? There have been some iconic and unrepeatable moments that have lit up the desert over the years, so here's a quick crash course on some of the best in the festival's history.

    1. Morrissey Reminds Us Meat is Murder (2009)

    "I can smell burning flesh, and I hope to God it's human," Morrissey nonchalantly informed the audience in a way only Morrissey can truly pull off. The devout vegan and animal rights advocate usually bans all meat cooking and consumption from his shows, but unfortunately that sort of thing was impossible to control at such a massive outdoor festival. After queasily singing "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others," Moz walked offstage, unclear if he would return. But the post-punk Oscar Wilde toughed out the tragedy, coming back to finish the set and apologizing to the audience, "The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I just couldn't bear it."

    2. Rodger Waters Makes Pigs Fly (2008)

    Anyone will tell you that like Pink Floyd concerts, Roger Waters knows how to put on a life-changing show, featuring some of the most ambitious set pieces and stage designs in rock history. However, because of the grand scale of the shows, something may occasionally go wrong, and that's what happened when Rogers' giant pig balloon got loose from its tethers and took to the skies during "Run Like Hell." The pig was eventually found in pieces in a nearby backyard, and Coachella organizers gave the residents lifetime festival passes upon return of the inflatable swine. Oddly enough, this isn't the first time Waters had a flying pig on his hands, and it hopefully won't be the last.

    3. Phoenix + R. Kelly Ignite the Night (2013)

    Rumors were everywhere that Daft Punk was going to make a surprise appearance during fellow French act Phoenix's headlining set, to the point where the unconfirmed story was getting more coverage than any of the actual performers (it'll become clear why that was the case in a sec). Ultimately, those speculations were all for naught, but Phoenix still managed to blow people away with probably the most unlikely collaboration in the festival's history. In the midst of a set consisting of guitar pop and indie rock, out comes freaking R. Kelly to perform a mashup of "1901" and "Ignition (Remix)"- a re-re-mix, if you will. It was undeniably weird as hell, but it also worked better than it had any right to work. It at least got people bouncing, that's for sure.

    4. Rage Get the Band Back Together (2007)

    Coachella has cultivated a well-standing tradition of being the biggest stage for bands reunite for old times' sake, from Pavement to the Stooges to Outkast. But the one that takes the cake, without a doubt, is Rage Against the Machine's return to the stage after seven long, significantly less raging years. The scorching headlining set attracted the largest crowd for a single act the festival has ever seen, with an estimated 100,000 people in attendance to watch the musical fury ensue. Though the band went on a full scale reunion tour following the show's success, they've been back on hiatus since 2011, so that pissed-off night in the desert may have truly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    5. Arcade Fire Light Up Some Beach Balls (2011)

    Arcade Fire has always hit it out of the park with their live shows, and since they've appeared a whopping four times since the festival's humble beginnings, there are a lot of golden moments to choose from. There was their fiery first appearance at Coachella that helped establish their live show prowess, or the time when they brought on Debbie Harry (aka the World's Most Badass Grandma) to sing "Heart of Glass." But for this list, let's go with their third Coachella performance, where they launched giant beach balls into the crowd during the classic indie anthem "Wake Up," and put on a beautiful LED light show. Whether you were actually there or watching the magic on the live feed, it was clear to everyone witnessing it in real-time that this was a truly special performance.

    6. Prince Makes 'Creep' Cool Again (2008)

    Who's the only person to take a song that's a punch line among music fans, disowned by its own creator, and make it one of the sickest, intense jams ever performed? Prince Rogers Nelson, motherfucker, that's who. When it comes to Prince covers, people usually point to his take on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (and rightfully so, it's amazing), but Prince's rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" is one that should not be overlooked. In true Prince fashion, he made that song completely his own, and there really is nothing else to say except that even the only surviving, blurry video of the moment will still give you goosebumps.

    7. Tupac Plays An Encore (2012)

    It's hard to fathom what were going through the audiences' heads when, in a heavenly light, long deceased rapper Tupac Shakur emerged from thin air to join his friends Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre for a couple songs. Try and not get chills when Pac greets the Coachella crowd with "What the fuck is up, Coachella!?!" even though the festival didn't even exist in his lifetime. The amazingly detailed and lifelike hologram was the absolute closest we will ever get to bringing the slain hip-hop star back from the dead, especially since the company behind the feat went out of business years ago. But for five glorious minutes, Pac was back and taking over the world, picking up right where he left off.

    8. Daft Punk Unleash the Pyramid (2006)

    Anyone who is familiar with Daft Punk, Coachella's history, or EDM in general probably saw this one coming. This legendary set is where the robotic DJ duo debuted "the Pyramid," the towering and incredibly elaborate light show that is now a staple of their live shows. The big lights and on- the-spot music remixing may seem like a pretty standard affair by today's standards, but in 2006, no one had literally never seen anything like it. This single performance defined the EDM genre to this day, and prompted artists across genres to drastically step up their stage game and setup. Few good quality clips of the show exist online but that's only added to the set's legendary status, and rumors still circulate of a second Coachella performance every year to this day. It was not only one of the best Coachella sets of all time, but perhaps one of the greatest shows of all time. Fingers crossed for a 2017 weekend two appearance.

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