Madonna Packs 'Em in at Coachella
Mon, 01 May 2006 12:06:26
Well, if you went to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival hoping to see Madonna, chances are you were disappointed. The Material Mom played a brief, six-song set Sunday night inside the festival's dance tent, which was packed to overflowing with tens of thousands of fans and curiosity-seekers. Festival organizers wisely set up some video screens outside the tent so the overflow crowds could see Madge emerge from a giant disco ball and strut her stuff. She even wore, and possibly played, a guitar at one point, and asked the crowd if her ass looked okay.
Meanwhile, another band you might have heard of called Tool tore through a few old songs and plenty of new material on the festival's main stage. It was the band's first live appearance in years and their second Coachella show; they were among the acts that played the very first Coachella in 1999.
The two-day festival in the southern California desert community of Indio drew an estimated 120,000 fans this year, which would make this year's incarnation the best attended to date. Sunday was a sellout; tickets were still available at the gate for Saturday, although most of those were quickly snapped up thanks to the late announcement of an additional Saturday headliner, Kanye West. Depeche Mode was Saturday's other big draw.
With Kanye and Madonna stealing so much of the spotlight, it was easy to forget that Coachella is supposed to be a festival of "alternative" music and a proving ground for acts that will be the superstars of tomorrow. This year, as always, a handful of bands managed to outshine the headliners, including shaggy southern rockers My Morning Jacket, eccentric funk-pop duo Gnarls Barkley (who took the stage dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz, and frenetic New York art-rockers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Another memorable band, the flashy-trashy Scissor Sisters, stoked the rumor flames by announcing during their set that this installment of Coachella would be the last. "We could be one of the last bands to play Coachella," singer Ana Matronic declared. "They've lost the lease on this site, have you heard that? So we need to dance on some graves tonight."
No word from festival officials on the accuracy of Matronic's pronouncement -- although with the growing popularity (and impressive lineups) of other regional U.S. festivals like Sasquatch, Lollapalooza (in its new Chicago-based incarnation), Bonnaroo and the Voodoo Music Experience, it seems at the very least like Coachella's days as the premier event of its kind may be numbered.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff