Coachella: Kanye West’s surprise silent appearance
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival got off to a windy start Friday as fans and celebs turned out for the annual event to see some of music’s biggest names and up-and-comers.
Arguably the biggest artist of the first night wasn’t even on the bill — Kanye West.
Yeezy surprised the California desert crowd by appearing toward the end of rapper A$AP Rocky’s evening set, jumping on stage to something even more shocking — silence. Kanye’s microphone was turned off almost immediately because A$AP started his performance 20 minutes late and the set had gone over its allotted time.
The pair kept the silent party going for nearly two minutes — leading some to believe Kanye didn’t know his mic was off — before giving a shrug and calling it a night. The crowd quickly turned to a sea of “boos” and shows of frustration.
The silent appearance didn’t prevent Kanye from remaining at the festival, and he returned to the stage for Diplo and Skrillex’s joint venture, Jack U. This time, West came out sans microphone, waving to the crowd and smiling while the DJ duo played his song “Power.”
It was just one of the highlights of the festival for West, which also included a footrace against rapper Tyler the Creator — captured on video by Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, who is reportedly now working with West.
Every year the festival draws attention for its performances, fashion and star sightings.
This year, excitement surrounds a reunion performance by Guns N’ Roses, the Saturday night headliners. Fans are buzzing with speculation about how the rockers will perform and what surprises the band might have up its sleeve.
Earlier the first night, singer Ellie Goulding hit the main stage for an electric set that got the crowd to its feet. The “Love Me Like You Do” singer attracted famous fans including social media star Amber Rose and actor Aaron Paul. Before taking the stage, Goulding told CNN she was excited to see some familiar faces at the festival.
“It feels cool to be playing, and then I’ve got a bunch of friends in the audience tonight,” Goulding said. “I’m chronically fatigued but the fact that I’m here has completely changed my entire mood and suddenly I feel on top of the world. So (Coachella) just has that effect on people. My friends are here, so it’s just such a good vibe.”
Goulding’s “#girlsquad” mate Taylor Swift hit social media to show she’s in a Coachella state of mind ahead of the Sunday performance by her boyfriend, DJ/producer Calvin Harris. Swift also showed off her newly bleached blonde ‘do.
Other celebs — many of whom are Coachella veterans — also helped kick off the first day of the fest. West’s sisters-in-law Kendall and Kylie Jenner joined Jared Leto, Cindy Crawford, Paris Hilton, Emma Roberts and several cast members from Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules.” Some of the other artists set to perform included headliner LCD Soundsystem, M83 and British breakouts Years & Years.
“I just didn’t know if people were going to show up!” Years & Years lead singer Olly Alexander told CNN about their main-stage set featuring hits “Desire” and “King.”
“I didn’t know if we would get a good reaction from the crowd so I was very pleasantly surprised, but kind of with festival shows you just expect the unexpected because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t get (a) soundcheck.”
Coachella runs through April 24.
By Topher Gauk-Roger and Jessica Iavazzi