INDIO, California - Crowds appeared as big as ever at the seemingly recession-proof Coachella music festival, where Paul McCartney delivered an epic set of Beatles classics, M.I.A. ended her maternity leave and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played Sunday alongside a giant inflated eyeball.
My Bloody Valentine punctuated their Sunday set with a ten-minute-plus distorted guitar riff that was as loud as anything heard all weekend. Public Enemy and The Cure were headlining the third and final night of the tenth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where single-day tickets went for $120 at the gate. Attendance figures were expected Monday.
Among the happenings at the festival:
HEAT AND PROPS: Musicians did their best to keep crowds hydrated in the desert sun. Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco and others tossed bottles of water off stage. But Fiasco didn't let hot temperatures stop him from doing what looked like step aerobics on a speaker during "Go Go Gadget Flow." "Coachella! None better, no matter the weather," he said. Performing "Zero" during their lively and well-attended main stage show at dusk Sunday, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs tossed out beach balls designed like eyeballs, matching a giant inflated eyeball on their stage.
PAUL'S PROMOTION: McCartney's 2 1/2-hour set Friday included a first look at footage from the video game "The Beatles: Rock Band," due out in September. Avatars of the Fab Four appeared to be playing along as Macca performed "Got To Get You Into My Life." McCartney dedicated "Here Today" to John Lennon and "My Love" to his late wife Linda, who died 11 years earlier to the day. "She loved the desert, she loved music, she loved rock and roll," he said.
DESERT STARS: Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal dined together in the artist compound on Saturday. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long were kissing and hugging at the side of the main stage during M.I.A.'s chaotic and colourful performance later in the evening. Long took Barrymore's photo as she helped the rapper's backup dancers throw blow horns to the audience. Other boldface names in attendance at the fest: Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson, Anne Hathaway, Kirsten Dunst, Paris Hilton, Chloe Sevigny and Kate Bosworth.
NAME-DROPPING: Swedish singer Lykke Li livened up her Sunday afternoon set by asking the crowd if they knew Kings of Leon. "They're backstage," she exclaimed to cheers. Then, after a pause: "No, it's just me." She proceeded into a cover of the Nashville group's "Knocked Up." Her countryman Peter Moren, lead vocalist of Peter Bjorn and John, noted early in that group's main stage set that he was standing on the same stage where McCartney had played. Somali-born K'naan told a Gobi tent crowd that his album "Troubadour" was recorded at Bob Marley's home in Jamaica. "This is the tradition we come from, where struggle isn't really separate from art," the Canadian rapper told an enthusiastic crowd that sang along to his single "ABCs."
NO-SHOWS: Scottish rockers Glasvegas were seen on the Empire Polo Field fest grounds but cancelled their Saturday set at the last minute. Virginia-based rappers The Clipse were also no-shows for their scheduled Sunday afternoon performance. Organizers did not release reasons for the cancellations.
KEEPING ORDER: City police said they had made 69 arrests for drug-and alcohol-related offences over the course of the fest. Eighteen people were taken to hospitals, most for heat-and drug-related problems. On Saturday night, paramedics successfully resuscitated one person who had stopped breathing, Riverside County Fire Battalion Chief Justin McGough said. A sedan that overheated and caught fire Sunday was partially destroyed, he said.
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