Wish We Were There: The Top Five Moments From Coachella 2011


Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival 2011 - Day 2

The 2011 Coachella Festival is a wrap! Sadly, we didn’t go, but here are five reasons we wish we had:

Those who stuck it out through Cee Lo Green‘s transportation-delayed (and, by some accounts, uninspiring performance) on the main stage Friday were rewarded with a razor-sharp set from Lauryn Hill, who immediately followed. After the enormous success of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which struck a chord with millions?Adele called the album “life-defining” in last week’s Rolling Stone? Hill shrank from the spotlight, and her performances of late have been as sporadic in quality as they have in quantity. But Spin reports that she was in top form at Coachella, and we can’t doubt after watching set-closer “Doo Wop (That Thing)”:

Jenny and Johnny fans streaming over to the Mojave tent Saturday afternoon to catch that hometown-favorite duo found themselves faced with an enormous crowd for the previous band, whom You Oughta Know, but many of them didn’t: Two Door Cinema Club, whose catchy indie-pop filled the tent to bursting with eager fans singing along:

The turnout was less surprising for these fast-growers and fellow You Oughta Know alumni, though the quartet had to scale up for the main stage, with occasional string and horn accompaniment, and Marcus Mumford even behind a full drum kit for part of the set. Fan-favorite single “Little Lion Man” was particularly powerful:

But speaking of Jenny & Johnny (who reportedly weren’t so shabby, themselves): part of the popularity of “Little Lion Man” derives from its pointed use of the f-word. Artists forget the power of an f-bomb, used sparingly and forcefully, so they tend towards either the profusely profane or the squeaky clean. Mumford & Sons may be the first reminder since a pre-Johnny Jenny (Lewis) sang “A Better Son/Daughter” as lead singer of Rilo Kiley on 2002’s The Execution of All Things.

Arcade Fire have always been exceptional at drawing a surprisingly rabid fanbase (google “Arcade Fire CMJ 2004″ to see the fuss kicked up about a show at a mere 350-capacity club). But when the band teamed with tech-wizards The Creators Project (who also crafted an “experience” linked to Spiritualized‘s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space for the festival), they outdid themselves, as color-changing inflatable balls descended on the crowd:

This last slot almost went to Kanye West, who never performs in half measures: his set last night, which many are still talking about today, featured a gigantic Olympus-tableau backdrop, a costume change set to the Chariots of Fire theme, and, of course, ballerinas. But PJ Harvey‘s set, while spare, overpowered The Strokes on the next stage over. At this year’s particularly youthful Coachella, Harvey was somewhat of an elder stateswoman, but she sold longtime fans on last year’s Let England Shake while maybe picking up some new ones.

RELATED: Stars Get Their Hipster On At Coachella [TheFABLife]

[Photo Credits: Getty Images]

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