News

Arcade Fire brings in Debbie Harry to close Coachella, slams VIP policy

Arcade Fire brings in Debbie Harry to close Coachella, slams VIP policy

COACHELLA:Lead vocalist Win Butler of rock band Arcade Fire performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California April 13. Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuon

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Canadian alternative-rock group Arcade Fire closed the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday with special guest Debbie Harry but deplored the festival’s growing amenities reserved for VIPs only.

Arcade Fire kicked off its set with “Reflektor,” the title song from last year’s album of the same name, and led into songs such as “”Flashbulb Eyes” and “Rebellion (Lies).”

“We’ve been coming here for many years now, so it’s an honor to be headlining,” said the band’s frontman, Win Butler.

But Butler took a moment on stage to criticize Coachella’s VIP area, saying “people are dreaming to get in there, but it super sucks in there, so don’t worry about it.”

The band then played its nostalgia-infused track “The Suburbs,” changing part of the lyrics to sing “in a field full of freaks and my friends,” eliciting cheers from the audience.

The band were later joined by Blondie singer Debbie Harry, who performed her classic 1979 hit “Hearts of Glass” with Arcade Fire’s frontwoman Regine Chassagne, and the band’s song “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).” Arcade Fire ended with “Wake Up,” joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Coachella, which began in 1999 as a festival of indie and alternative rock, has become one of the main attractions of the summer live music season. Headliners in recent years have included Jay Z, Snoop Dogg and Madonna.

It has also acquired the amenities Butler criticized. Along with celebrity attendees have come the VIP area, where guests were treated to pop-up food stalls from upscale Los Angeles restaurant such as Eveleigh, Baco Mercat and Sugarfish.

Outside of the festival itself, the party circuit has burgeoned, with many coming to Palm Springs just to attend the invitation-only events. This year’s parties included those hosted by retail outlet H&M, fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar and private member’s club Soho House, which holds a desert edition during the festival.

CALVIN HARRIS DRAWS CROWDS BUT NO GUESTS

The third and final day of Coachella’s first weekend also featured performances from British DJ Calvin Harris, singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey and rocker Beck.

Harris, who has been at the forefront of electronic dance music, drew the largest crowd of the day and played his hits including “Feels So Close,” “We Found Love” and “Summer.”

The DJ also played covers from other artists including Capital Cities, Major Lazer, Justice and The Killers, but opted not to include any special guests, who have become part of Coachella’s appeal for attendees.

When Harris last performed at Coachella in 2012, pop star Rihanna, who collaborated with the DJ on the dance floor anthem “We Found Love,” came out during his set to perform her vocals, but neither she nor the other vocalists on Harris’ tracks, including Ellie Goulding, turned up on Sunday.

Coachella has become known for its surprise element, delivering up moments such as rapper Snoop Dogg performing with a hologram of late rapper Tupac on stage in 2012.

This year’s headlining acts featured the much-anticipated reunion of Outkast on Friday, British rockers Muse on Saturday and Arcade Fire on Sunday, but all three were outdone by R&B singer Pharrell on the surprises front.

Pharrell brought up a host of stars, including Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes. Rapper Nas also engaged some star power for his set on late Saturday as he performed his seminal album “Illmatic” on the 20th anniversary of its release, bringing in rappers Jay Z and Puff Daddy.

R&B singer Beyonce briefly popped onto stage during her sister Solange Knowles’ Saturday set to dance with the music.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Larry King)

Recent Headlines

in Music

James Brown biopic revels in drama and dance moves

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Chadwick Boseman, right, and Dan Aykroyd in a scene from "Get On Up."

Chadwick Boseman nails Brown's singular mannerisms and raspy voice in the new biopic "Get On Up."

in Music

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett celebrate collaboration with concert

Recording artists Lady Gaga, left, and Tony Bennett, attend a Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga concert taping on Monday, July 28, 2014, in New York.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett performed tracks from their jazz collaboration Cheek to Cheek ahead of its long-awaited release.

in Entertainment

Jamie Foxx to portray Mike Tyson in biopic

Actor Jamie Foxx poses for a portrait at the Crosby Street Hotel, in promotion of his upcoming role in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in New York.

Jamie Foxx is set to portray boxing legend Mike Tyson in a movie after five years of preparation for the role.

in Entertainment

Kiefer Sutherland confused by Freddie Prinze, Jr. blast

Prinze Jr Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland has been left baffled by former 24 co-star Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s public attack on the star's professionalism.

in Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.