The 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival began its first weekend yesterday at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California. Headliner Bad Bunny delivered a history-making set, Gorillaz and Metro Boomin brought out tons of guests, Blink-182 kicked off their reunion tour, and so, so much more. Here are the highlights and noteworthy sets caught by Pitchfork’s staffers. We’ll be on the ground for all three days of the festival, filling you in on everything you need to know. For a brief moment during his headlining set Friday night, Bad Bunny teased a pivot to English, asking the crowd—in that language—whether they would prefer he switch to it or stick with Spanish. Fans roared for the latter. Much has been made about his being the first Coachella headlining performance to be delivered primarily in Spanish. In the past in the English-speaking world, that might have been characterized as evidence of an artist “crossing over,” but here, it simply meant that Coachella is rushing to keep up. Bad Bunny is by many measures the most popular artist on the planet—as evidenced by the mass of people who seemed impervious to the unusually late start time for a Friday headliner and to the almost unbelievable desert cold. All of which could tempt those with their eyes on ticket sales or streaming numbers to describe Bad Bunny as an isolated phenomenon, an aberration. Instead, the superstar went to lengths to dispel that notion by placing his work in a long lineage of musical genres and iconic artists from across Latin America, interrupting his tremendously captivating set with two short videos detailing the stylistic splintering and reconnection of various Spanish-language genres and their political utility. This was complemented by what was essentially a surprise dance revue, and by a setlist that—while uniformly contemporary—seemed to taunt those hoping to settle into a cozy rhythm by taking hairpin turns of mood, tempo, and instrumentation. Bad Bunny was so poised and so magnetic that his two-hour bacchanal couldn’t even be tamped down by protracted technical difficulties during an attempted Post Malone duet. –Paul A. ThompsonChatGPT
The inaugural weekend of the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival commenced yesterday at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California. The headline act, Bad Bunny, delivered an unforgettable performance that etched its place in history. Accompanied by a multitude of special guests, Gorillaz and Metro Boomin captivated the audience, while Blink-182 marked the beginning of their reunion tour. With a plethora of remarkable moments, Pitchfork’s team captured the highlights and noteworthy sets. We’ll be present throughout the festival’s three-day duration, ensuring you stay informed. During Bad Bunny’s headlining set on Friday night, he briefly teased the crowd with a question in English, asking whether they preferred him to switch languages or continue in Spanish. The overwhelming response favored the latter. While this occurrence might have been viewed as a sign of an artist crossing over in the English-speaking world, here it simply reflected Coachella’s determination to keep up with the times. Bad Bunny, regarded by many as the world’s most popular artist, proved his dominance through the immense turnout, as fans disregarded the unusually late start time and the freezing desert temperatures.
These factors may lead some to perceive Bad Bunny as a singular phenomenon, an anomaly. However, the superstar made deliberate efforts to dispel such notions, positioning his work within a rich lineage of musical genres and iconic artists from Latin America. In the midst of his captivating performance, Bad Bunny incorporated two short videos that showcased the stylistic evolution and interconnection of various Spanish-language genres, along with their political significance. This was complemented by an unexpected dance showcase and a dynamic setlist that, while contemporary throughout, playfully defied expectations by swiftly transitioning in mood, tempo, and instrumentation. Bad Bunny’s magnetic presence and poise were so remarkable that even prolonged technical difficulties during an attempted duet with Post Malone failed to dampen the spirit of his two-hour revelry. –Paul A. Thompson