Coachella 2018, Day 2: It’s Beyoncé’s world, and this festival’s just living in it

Beyoncé at Coachella (Photo by Larry Busacca, courtesy of Getty Images for Coachella)
Beyoncé at Coachella (Photo by Larry Busacca, courtesy of Getty Images for Coachella)

Veeder’s Day 2: Beyoncé, Tom Misch, Jungle, Zhu, Jorja Smith, Tyler the Creator, DJ Qbert, BROCKHAMPTON, Angel Olsen, Flatbush Zombies, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Busy P, Big Thief

In the same way that Coachella 2008 is remembered as the “Year of the Prince,” Coachella 2018 will be remembered as the “Year of the Beyoncé.” Anyone present during her nearly two-hour performance won’t stop thinking about it for some time, and will certainly never forget it.

Queen Bey entered the polo field about 11:14 p.m. on a catwalk, escorted by a dozen women like an Egyptian goddess in a classy, grand and royal way. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Beyoncé Homecoming 2018,” it was decreed. Beyoncé assumed her throne, then proceeded to dance her way through it. The show was a majestic spectacle, highly orchestrated with over 200 singers, dancers and horn players moving about a mountainous, multi-leveled structure on stage in such an elaborately choreographed way, it boggles the mind how long it took to plan out. The scope of the performance itself was a technical marvel, and raises the bar to an astronomically high place. And this is all before Destiny’s Child reunited.

The music had a big band makeover to play into the Homecoming theme, and many of the songs were infused with interpolations of other pop and rap melodies, as well as horns aplenty, especially “Flawless.” With hits for days, she sure played most of them, keeping cameos to a family affair, with husband Jay Z joining for “Déjà Vu,” former bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joining for a Destiny’s Child medley of “Lose My Breath / Say My Name / Soldier,” and sister Solange joining for a dance-off during “Get Me Bodied.” She also gifted the commoners that which they hold dear in the form of “Crazy In Love,” “Formation,” “Love On Top,” “Partition,” “Run The World (Girls),” and “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” A show like this proves Beyoncé’s unicorn status in terms of talent, resources, and vision, and exalts her to a rightfully high status. It was all so dazzling that it lingered the next morning like a dream-like haze, but yes, it really did happen. The Queen hath spoken.

||| Also: Day 1 coverage, Part 1; Day 1 coverage, Part 2

On a day when lyrics poked your heart, where funk reigned supreme, and everyone drank the lemonade:

3:27 p.m. — The Gobi Tent is sparse on patrons standing, but full of those sitting as Big Thief continues their quiet afternoon devastation with “Shark Smile.” They played a grab bag from 2016’s “Masterpiece” and 2017’s “Capacity,” making the guitar wail as much as the lyrics do of “Real Love,” and closing with “Mary.” Bolstered by the perfect amount of guitar distortion, a solid, beta bass and a subtle percussive backbone, front woman Adrianna Lenker’s lyrical prowess and voice grabs your attention and holds it, even as Marian Hill’s sound bleeds in from the Outdoor Theatre.

4:06 p.m. — Festival-goers are hooting and high-fiving each other through the security switchbacks leading into the Yuma Tent, the closest thing Coachella has to a heroin den in a warehouse rave, where French DJ Busy P is busy dropping a disco-house set as a sequined shark twirls above. He starts slow with Myth Syzer’s “Sans Toi” and Air’s “Sexy Boy,” then builds up to Emanuelle Gulmini’s “Back In A While,” Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock/Oh Yeah,” Bicep’s “Just,” and Emmanuelle’s “Italove,” getting the club going up during happy hour.

4:28 p.m. — Over on the main stage, Nile Rodgers and Chic are exactly what you thought they would be, but better: the dance party you didn’t know you needed, like a dose of timeless joy with a killer bassline. Their covers of “Like A Virgin,” “Get Lucky,” and “Let’s Dance” had everyone standing and dancing in some iteration and intensity, as multiple couples were breaking out moves. So were a lot of those sitting. Rodgers said they make “music you feel in your soul, and hopefully also in your butt,” and then proves it by closing with “Le Freak,” “Good Times” and “Rapper’s Delight.”

5:01 p.m. — The first audible words approaching the Mojave Tent are “make it rain,” where those looking to turn up can be found at Flatbush Zombies, where the trio of Erick Arc Elliott, Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice are burning through their new album “Vacation In Hell,” starting on track one, “HELL-O.” “Chunky” follows, which features Zombie Juice’s line “And so it seems, gotta lead the youth to reach their dreams / No disrespect, it’s like a generation disconnect / Logging in, all I see is hate up on the internet / Where’s the love? They’re scared of love, I always gotta give it back,” and Meechy Darko’s growl, “I need a vacation!” We hear that. Also, shout out to rappers and rap collectives that indicate the names of the songs being performed on screen, even briefly.

5:15 p.m. — At the center beer garden, a bruh looks both ways before hopping the first border then the second, lickity split, and lands inside next to four of his buddies, one of which hugs him and hands him a beer to sip. Better luck next time, security.

5:25 p.m. — Even Angel Olsen soundchecking what sounds like the bridge to “Sister” in the Gobi tent is magical.

5:57 p.m. — A fan loudly requests the song, “Unf*cktheworld!” to which Angel Olsen replies, “I’m trying.” With a black-and-white photo of her cat Violet on the screen behind them (@violettttcat on the socials, with 4 Ts, she plugs), Olsen and trusted company play an upbeat first half featuring “Never Be Mine,” “Shut Up Kiss Me,” and “Give It Up,” before a delightfully devastating downtempo second half, including the tracks 6-7-8 runner of “Heart Shaped Face,” “Sister,” and “Those Were The Days” from her 2016 masterpiece “My Woman.” As they slowly plow through the climactic “Sister,” the security guard with earbuds standing right in front of Olsen’s mic appears to be practicing Rosetta stone or something, in his own world subtly mouthing a bunch of words as he scans the crowd of suspicious activity. He only sees a bunch of smiling people feeling emotions. Before closing with “Sweet Dreams,” Olsen thanked the “extra large noise for joining us tonight,” referring to BØRNS over on the Outdoor Theatre.

6:20 p.m. — Self-proclaimed “boy band” BROCKHAMPTON begin their wildly eclectic set with “SUMMER,” an emotional, guitar-driven track from member bearface, then launch into the playfully chaotic “BOOGIE” and “ZIPPER,” and the bouncey banger “STAR.” “QUEER,” “GUMMY,” “GOLD,” and “SWAMP” follow, culling the favorites from their three “SATURATION” mixtapes last year, and attacking the microphones with their diverse array of talent and voices. The crowd is here for it, spilling out of the Mojave Tent in every direction where this time out, each band member also wore black faux-bulletproof vests with a different (sometime profane) label.

6:57 p.m. — Outside the Heineken House, a few hundred people wait in a line that snakes back and forth to get in, but inside, DJ Qbert is giving free lessons on how to next-level scratch and the beats were vibrating their new H41 beers like it’s “Jurassic Park.” People are nodding and shaking their heads listening to the scratching like some nod and shake listening to jazz drumming. The nostalgia factor is high, as Game Genie and Power Glove ads fill the screens, and Audio 2, Dilla, Schoolly D, Ultramagnetic MCs, and Wu-Tang Clan fills the ears. He finishes his set by mashing up and cutting his way through a cacophony of polka, metal breakbeats, and calypso melodies, which he describes as “the DJ version of Bad Brains.” Then everyone played the game “How Long Til The Rapper Takes The Stage?” starring Busta Rhymes.

8:04 p.m. — The line for pad thai was soundtracked by Tyler, the Creator over on the main stage, playing much of his latest album “Flower Boy,” as well as the live debut of his new song “OKRA.” From the back, it sounded like he was having a tantrum in his bedroom that was over an acre in size with 60-inch screens. This would have been more suited for the Sahara Tent.

9:04 p.m. — In advance of a new album in June, British R&B singer Jorja Smith plays a number of new songs in the Gobi Tent, including “Where Did I Go?,” “The One,” and “Lifeboats,” which had more of a rap feel. Her hits “Blue Light” and “On My Mind” close it out, but not before she also plays a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Lost.”

9:27 p.m. — The penultimate special guest in the Do LaB is Zhu, in advance of his new project whose first single, “My Life,” features Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. It’s a zoo at Zhu, with the masses packed in a good 200 feet from the Do LaB’s structure, this year sporting digital panels of color and shape along its edges. From the craft beer garden, it looks like a sea of patrons, with choppy waves crashing to and fro up close, and rolling ripples in the distance beneath colorful lightning clouds of mist and club chaos.

10:02 p.m. — Cruising past the Mojave Tent, you couldn’t help but be drawn into the funky clutches of U.K.’s Jungle, which was thick and populated with grooving mammals. They are bringing the heat with “The Heat,” and follow it with a new song called “Casio,” complete with a new dynamite bassline and co-ed harmonies.

10:17 p.m. — Just a week after his debut album “Geography” hit stores physical and digital, Londoner Tom Misch plays “I Wish” to a full Gobi Tent, a light slice of pop perfection, and most would prefer another piece. “It Runs Through Me,” a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Everybody Get Down” with Braxton Cook on saxophone, and the nearly 6-minute slow burner “Movie.”

11:15 p.m. — That roar you hear is Beyoncé starting to make history.