The Greatest Coachella Moments of All Time

posted by Dan Murphy on April 04, 2014

Arcade Fire at Coachella 2011 via the festival

Indio, California -- Coachella's 2014 edition is next weekend, and we're pretty damned pumped about it. Here's a recap of some of the greatest moments in Coachella history. 

7. Arcade Fire Rains Beach Balls

2011 was a pretty good year for Arcade Fire. They had just won the Album of the Year Grammy for The Suburbs before heading out to Indio, California, where they closed their pre-encore set with the Funeral hit "Wake Up." As if the massive singalong wasn't enough to solidify this as a moment that would go down in Coachella history, halfway through the song hundreds of light-up beach balls were dropped onto the crowd. These Canadians must have returned from heaven so they could show us what it's like. Let's see if they can top it at their Sunday headlining set this year. 

6. The Pixies Reunite

While the big reunion at this year's Coachella is Outkast, they certainly were not the first. 2003 saw the end of the Pixies eleven-year hiatus with a tour that culminated in a headlining set at the festival. The video above features some pretty hilarious comments from the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne on the reunion, as well as their rendition of "In Heaven" from David Lynch's Eraserhead right into their legendary Surfer Rosa track "Where is My Mind?" 

5. Daft Punk Unveils Pyramid

It's said that in 2006, Daft Punk essentially revolutionized the stage productions for dance music concerts by unveiling their pyramid setup at Coachella. They would go on to use this setup for their globetrotting 2007 Alive tour. Many have since copied their elaborately timed light show and massive stage setup, but this Coachella appearance would go on to be the game-changer in EDM live visuals. Right from the initial sample from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, this set was intense

4. The Cure Breaks Curfew

Headliners in 2009, The Cure was set to close the weekend. When they went over curfew by a half hour, the festival shut down their microphones - right in the middle of "Boys Don't Cry." They soldiered on anyway by leading a singalong causing some fans to rush forward to hear the unplugged version.

3. Kanye West Can't Get Much Higher

In the past year, critics have been polarized over Kanye West's maximalist Yeezus Tour featuring a gigantic pyramid and appearances from Jesus Christ. The first time we saw this kind of bravado was at his 2011 headliner show at Coachella, which started with West towering over the audience in a crane to a bombastic rendition of "Dark Fantasy." Can we get much higher? Nah. 

2. Roger Waters' Pig Flies Away

In 2008, Roger Waters stopped at Coachella to close out Sunday night while on tour playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. Before getting to that, he played the Animals track "Sheep" during which a huge inflatable pig floated out over the crowd. At some point, the lines holding it in place snapped and it floated away, leading Waters and Coachella to offer $10,000 and lifetime passes to the festival for whoever returned it. 

1. The Stooges Reunion

As you can probably see by now, Coachella is a prime spot for a reunion as it's the first huge festival of the season. One of the most anticipated of all time was The Stooges getting back together in 2003. In the video above, you can see Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and At the Drive-In/The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler talking about their excitement for the set. Then, the band starts "I Wanna Be Your Dog" as Iggy Pop jumps into the crowd declaring, "I wanna fuck something up, can I fuck you up?!" - at age 55. Rock 'n' roll. 

Check out our 2014 Coachella Festival Guide if you're heading to Indio this year for the best places to eat, sleep, shop, party, and explore near the festival. 

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See Also:

A Look Ahead: April 2014 Music Festivals
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