Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.
(Sunday, April 27)
Classic rock spectacle came to Coachella on Sunday as Roger Waters closed out the ninth annual alternative music event with the sounds of his former band Pink Floyd. The set included the landmark "The Dark Side of the Moon" album in its entirety, and the two-part show climaxed with a giant inflated pig loosed into the desert night sky above the crowd.
During his extensive 21⁄2-hour show full of fireworks, flames, complex lighting and imagery, the British music icon paid tribute to Floyd's late founder-singer Syd Barrett with "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" and a tender, acoustic "Wish You Were Here," with the entire field swaying to the elegy.
In playing "Dark Side," Waters proved that the work has connected with several generations. In fact, his appearance brought a contingent of the over-40 crowd to the festival.
Waters' megashow capped a day of richly powerful performances. As the sun set, My Morning Jacket unleashed its incendiary fret firepower on the main stage. The probing Kentucky rockers opened with "One Big Holiday," once their set-closing showstopper, but the group had plenty more salvos of tight-jam ammo after that. Then, over at the Outdoor Theatre, one of the weekend's reunited bands, Love and Rockets, launched its fuzz-swathed '80s glam songs, including their version of "Ball of Confusion."
Earlier, a somewhat laid-back afternoon crowd came to life for Gogol Bordello's irresistible, whacked-out Gypsy circus on the main stage, which also featured chamber pop delights from Stars and appealing lean-clean style from Sweden's Shout Out Louds.
Other notables in the tents included dance-rock upstarts Does It Offend You, Yeah? in the Gobi, an intimate acoustic outing with violins from Spiritualized, soul-pop dolly Duffy and reunited feedback weavers Swerve-driver in the Mojave.
Other options to see while Waters held night court included electro-beat heroes Justice and hip-hop artist Murs, backed by a punk band.
With Coachella embracing famous-name classic/prog rock, perhaps the door is open to other possibilities once unimagined. From dance to rap to all the shades of rock, the festival has proved each year to be full of surprises.