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Coachella Roundup: the first weekend’s biggest performances

Biggest names, bigger performances

Festival season has officially begun with Coachella.

Over the weekend, festival season kicked off with Coachella in Palm Springs, CA. Festival-goers and celebrities alike traveled from around the world to the desert party and took in the carnival, festival fashion and, of course, the major performances by today’s biggest (and smallest) artists that are ramped up to fit the Coachella bill.

One of the most talked about performances of the weekend was The Weeknd’s. The “Earned It” crooner recently released a surprise EP entitled My Dear Melancholy. 

While his set consisted of favorites including “The Hills” and “Starboy,” it was his performance of the EP’s latest track “Call Out My Name” that audiences around the world are talking about.

My Dear Melancholy is the singer’s most vulnerable music yet and “Call Out My Name” is one of his most heartbreaking.

During the song, The Weeknd was visibly emotional and with rapt attention, the crowd watched as his voice cracks towards the end.

Also taking the stage on Friday was SZA. The “Love Galore” singer gave the audience hit after hit off of her debut album CNTRL as she bounced on trampolines.

Despite the music being similar to that of a garage demo, her vocals shone as she went through her tracks and gave in to the frolic-y nature of the festival with her campground/playground set.

She included her collaboration “For Your Consideration” with Rihanna before welcoming Kendrick Lamar to the stage for “Doves in the Wind” and their current smash “All the Stars” from Black Panther.

Fresh off the meteoric success of her debut album Invasion of PrivacyCardi B. took to the stage in a white jumpsuit which perfectly accentuated her baby bump, 90s pigtails and white sunglasses similar to those of her album’s cover art.

Her set, while short for the festival, was no less star-studded than her album. She was joined by 21 Savage, Chance the Rapper, G-Eazy, Kehlani and YG.

In that short 30 minute performance, she blew in and went out just as fast, but proved why she’s currently at the top of the charts.

She’s a superstar in the making that can give you a full scale performance in a finite amount of time and still leave fans walking away thinking it was one of the best they’d seen.

Her simplistic stage setup allowed her larger than life personality to shine and prove that Cardi B. is here to stay.

Later that night, Migos took the stage to after facing sound difficulties at 11 pm. However, despite the issues and the lateness of the performance, the crowd was, as Billboard says “in a frenzy” as the group delivered a set that proves their worth as one of the most popular artists out there right now.

While they opened with “Higher We Go” from Culture II, it wasn’t until towards the end of the set that they got back around to their latest album. For the “day one” fans, they played hits like “Hannah Montana” and “Ice Tray” before coming back around to “Stir Fry” and “Motorsport.”

Also performing on Sunday night was rap royalty Eminem. After flying relatively under the radar for the last few years and only reemerging in 2017, the choice to make this his first major non-televised performance was smart.

He was able to showcase a superstar’s ability to take time away from the spotlight and still command a crowd upon return. He took fans all the way back to 2002 and played classics like “Square Dance” and “Sing for the Moment” before diving into “Rap God” from The Marshall Mathers 2.

He flowed through the more vulnerable tracks such as “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie” with the crowd hanging on every word.

Much like Cardi B, Eminem’s set was flush with guest appearances. Skylar Grey filled in on other artist’s parts and his protege 50 Cent joined him for “Patiently Waiting” before performing his own tracks “I Get Money” and “In Da Club” before joining Eminem again on “Crack a Bottle.”

However, it wouldn’t have been the same without an appearance by Dr. Dre for “Forgot About Dre.” He closed with classics “My Name Is” and “Lose Yourself.”

His Coachella performance proved that his rapid fire rap hasn’t gone anywhere and he’s ready to take on the scene once again.

But the highest highlight of the weekend took place Saturday night. Queen Bey herself Beyonce took the honor of becoming the first black woman to headline Coachella seriously.

She delivered an iconic performance that was nothing short of spectacular.

Opening with “Crazy In Love,” Bey brought out a marching band that harkens back to the college halftime shows predominantly seen in the South, as well as her usual backup dancers as she stomped across the stage in a regal cape and headdress.

She seamlessly breezed through hits such as “Drunk in Love,” “Baby Boy” and “Formation.”

But the buck didn’t stop at Beyonce. In true fashion, she brought out a slew of guests to share this monumental achievement with her over the course of her two hour performance.

For “Deja Vu” she brought out husband Jay-Z and her sister, fellow singer Solange, joined her for “Get Me Bodied.”

But not only is the political relevance and the importance of her performance being discussed, one of the most anticipated questions fans wanted answered was, “Is she finally going to do a Destiny’s Child reunion?”

Fans were terrifically thrilled to see former bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams join her onstage for “Lose My Breath,” “Say My Name” and “Soldier.”

Beyonce proved that she is at the top because her work is in another stratosphere. She, as the New York Times points out, takes the generalized idea of what a a festival performance should be and turns it on its head.

She does sit back and give down a diluted version of her own stage show. Instead, she takes that already stellar stage show and elevates it to create something truly once-in-a-lifetime.

Beyonce doesn’t take being the first black woman to headline the festival lightly, much in the way she did when she headlined Glastonbury. The weekend pass far exceeded its value with this performance alone.

While rap, hip-hop and R&B dominated the biggest highlights of this year’s first weekend, many other notable performances included Alt-J, Post Malone, Portugal. the Man, St. Vincent and BORNS, among many others.

If this is just the first weekend, imagine what the second weekend holds.

Keep up with music at Salute.

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