Coachella 2014: 6 Reasons Why Weekend 2 Rocked (And Was Different From Weekend 1)

 David Brendan Hall

Three years ago, when Coachella announced that it was going to put on two festivals on concurrent weekends with the same lineup, many fans hypothesized that the second weekend could never feel as "special" as the first — after all, any surprises or major performance pieces would be spoiled by the time the second weekend rolled around.

Well, this year, those haters were definitively proven wrong. Here are the six biggest ways the second weekend of Coachella 2014 was as big — and in some ways even better — than the first.

1. The food your friend ate weekend 1? Not necessarily available weekend 2.

OK, so this one's a negative: After a huge media push by Coachella's organizers about bringing in higher-end, gourmet food options this year, many of the chefs found that they had a hard time finding customers, although that likely had as much to do with less-than-stellar placement on the field and misleading signage rather than the quality of their offerings. No matter — by weekend two, the veggie-friendly Crossroads was out entirely, as was the VIP-area-only sushi pop-up from Sugarfish, and Thai food favorite Night & Market had moved to VIP, leaving weekend 2 attendees looking for something other than another slice of Spicy Pie with a few less options (although, truth be told, the spring rolls from Xoia, on the field both weekends, were the food MVPs).

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2. "Daft Punk" sat in with Arcade Fire…or did they?

There's a constant, perennial rumor of a Daft Punk appearance at every Coachella, so when Sunday's headliners introduced a robot-helmet-clad duo to open the set with "Get Lucky," the field went appropriately nuts. Was it actually them? Probably not. But it still ended up a story to tell on the ride home.

3. Pharrell brought out Jay Z and Usher.

The superproducer's weekend 1 set earned headlines via a parade of guest stars, including Gwen Stefani and Snoop Dogg. His now-legendary hat made a comeback for weekend 2, but he didn't retread the same guests, instead calling in more favors from T.I., Usher and Jay Z, as well as dance troupe Jabbawockeez, who brought some Blue Man Group-ish performance art to the party-hearty set.

4. Outkast redeemed themselves.

The Atlanta rap duo — whose weekend 1 set was the first in a 40-date summerlong reunion tour — came up empty their first time out, with an overindulgent set that felt flat and disjointed. But a week later, they redeemed themselves, turning in a sliced-down, tuned-up 80-minute jam that served their legacy well — and quieted any remaining haters.

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5. Billie Joe Armstrong fronted the Replacements.

Whether Paul Westerberg actually hurt his back or he was just drunkenly resentful of the passive response his recently revitalized band The Replacements received on the first weekend doesn't matter — in any case, his decision to play most of the band's set seated on a couch onstage led to the band's unlikely, nearly full-set sit-in from Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. It was clear from the first note that Armstrong had a real reverence for the material, and by the end of the show he and Westerberg were sharing a mic — a clear generational passing-the-torch moment and one that looked wholly organic and spontaneous.

6. The vibe was way different.

There was a palpably different mood in the air during the second weekend, which felt like it was serving a slightly older demographic more interested in stage-hopping and music discovery and less in the party-hearty fist-pumping that drove weekend 1. There's a place for both, but Coachella has always had a reputation for the former; weekend 2 found longtime attendees catching that classic buzz again.

This article originally appeared on Billboard.com. 

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