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September 14, 2014

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Coachella 2012: Day 3, No hologram needed

Thoughts from the third of three days on Weekend 1 of this year's SoCal desert music fest:

1. Weather report: perfect, at last. There have been many, many boiling hot Coachella days, and (after Friday) there have been freezing cold Coachella days, but there has rarely been a day at Empire Polo Club as ideal for walking around a giant field listening to music as Sunday. (The Weekend 2 forecast has the high around 100 on Friday and Saturday. Ugh.)

2. Seun Kuti, son of Nigerian Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, provided the perfect accompaniment to the mellow weather—a set of grooving, horn-flecked jams that had bodies at the Outdoor Stage moving like they were in the dance tent.

3. Coolest Sunday stunt (no, it wasn't a hologram—more on that later): Hives frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist asking his band's giant main-stage audience to sit, then pop up as one. Neat ending to a memorable overall performance by a group many left for dead years ago.

4. Call it a cash-in tour if you want, just make sure you see the reunited At the Drive-In if you get the chance. The El Paso five-piece absolutely raged in its nighttime main-stage slot, proving that whatever their motives, the members have taken the task of presenting their old music to new (and longtime) fans extremely seriously. Impressive.

5. That hologram ... Okay, so by now you've surely heard that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg employed a hologram version of Tupac Shakur during their headlining set Sunday night. My take? It was confusing, to say the least (Is that an actor up there? Could Tupac possibly be alive?), but more so, it was disturbing. The dead ought to stay dead, particularly when it comes to performing live. Here's hoping this doesn't open the door for more silliness of this kind. Beatles tour next summer, anyone? Please no.

6. Kudos to Coachella staff and local police for making Weekend 1 so logistically friendly. Having spent hours inching my way out of the parking lots and through the surrounding streets in past years, I'm highly appreciative of the smooth exit plan implemented by the festival this time.

Look in Thursday's print edition of Las Vegas Weekly for Spencer Patterson's full festival account.

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