kanye, ariana and bieber and a lemon: coachella weekend two
From Kanye’s Sunday Service to Ariana performing ‘Sorry’ with Justin Bieber, this is what went down on Coachella 2019’s second weekend.
Image via Instagram.
Apparently, the unofficial theme of the second weekend of this year’s Coachella was resurrection. Of course, there’s the fact that the Californian festival coincided with the holiest dates in the Christian calendar, but from Kanye West’s Sunday Service, held on the prophetically-entitled The Mountain to Ariana Grande’s resurrection of Justin Bieber, it seems that this year’s headliners took the weekend’s sentiments of revival, reverence and faith pretty close to heart. Hell, even Beyoncé, (who wasn’t even performing this year) took the opportunity to bring back her much-glorified 2018 show in the guise of a surprise album.
Anyway, let’s start with Sunday Service. A few notes for those of little faith: initiated as a church-like gathering at Kim and Kanye’s Calabasas crib, the weekly communions have quickly gained traction thanks to Kim’s frequent broadcasts to her millions of Instagram followers. Featuring a gospel choir and exclusive performances from ‘Ye’s covetable A-list of friends, these non-religious celebrations of faith, have since expanded to invite-only events at undisclosed locations, reportedly attended by guests including Katy Perry, Courtney Love and Orlando Bloom.
Easter Sunday’s service on The Mountain, a grassy hill on the festival’s desert site, was the event’s first open to the public. Opening with choral snippets from Ultralight Beam and Ultralight Prayer, Kanye, backed by a gospel choir, Chance the Rapper, DMX, Teyana Taylor and Kid Cudi, led a flock of fifty-thousand disciples, and millions more following via livestream, through a mix of old hits and new material. A particularly noteworthy moment was the performance of Water, featuring lyrics like “We are water” and “Let’s take chlorine out of the conversation”. Interspersing the musical sermon, as with any black church service worth the wafers handed out, were a couple of classic gospel hymns like This Is the Day that the Lord Has Made and Lift Him Up.
Vying for the most coverage at this year’s ‘Chella was fellow headliner Ariana Grande. Fresh from last weekend, where she brought almost all of NSYNC back from the cultural abyss, the pony-tailed pop princess only had herself to outdo. This she did with aplomb, manifesting an evidently out-of-practice Justin Bieber on stage to lip sync sloppily to a studio-perfect rendition his track Sorry. Rarely seen in the public sphere in recent years -- save for his widely-covered wedding to Hayley Bieber née Baldwin, Bieber, took the opportunity to explain his absence to his eagerly awaiting fans, saying on stage that it’s been “like two years, so I had to get my groove back, had to get my swag back, you know what I’m saying,” going on to tease their appetites with a curt, non-committal “Album coming soon”.
Bieber’s return was, by some measures, not the most significant moment of the Ariana’s second Coachella appearance. In what many are reading as an extension of the fierce rivalries held between popstar fandoms to the actual stars themselves, Ariana Grande was hit with a lemon. Why a lemon, you ask? The precise motives of the one that projected the citrus fruit are not known as of yet, but speculation has it that it was down to a rumour that she had been paid double the amount received by the Lemonade auteur for last year’s Beychella. The rumour has since been debunked -- both artists received a cool $8 million for their appearances -- but it would seem that the Beyhive remains rattled over the matter.