With the cancellation of Coachella and tours, we will be without concerts and live music for a while. Although Chris Martin and John Legend said they would do live performances online, which is cool, although I haven’t had a chance to see it yet. You think I would with all this free time.
So here’s a look at some of my favorite live performances I’ve found on YouTube. These all have something unique, like a special guest.
Landslide with Stevie Nicks and Dave Grohl
This song always brings out the feels. But what makes this performance so special is how Dave Grohl looks at her and really accents the emotions of this song.
End of the Innocence with Bruce Hornsby, Bon Iver and Jenny Lewis
Got a chance to witness this live during Bon Iver’s set at Coachella. There was no introduction, they just started playing and it took me a while to realize he brought out Bruce Hornsby and Jenny Lewis. It was a great moment.
This one keeps getting removed, so enjoy it while you can. There was a better version in the past. Hopefully it will pop up again.
Young Forever with Jay-Z and Beyonce
During Jay-Z’s headlining set at Coachella, he brought in Beyonce to cover the Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” for his song, “Young Forever.”
Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley and Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl has some pretty inspired moments on stage and this is another one, with Rick Astley, giving a rock version of the Rickrolled song “Never Going to Give You Up.”
Shallow with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
As far as I can tell, this is the first time the two performed “Shallow” together since the release of “A Star is Born,” and it was definitely before their heavily buzzed Oscar performance.
The worst symptom of the Coronavirus might be boredom. So it’s time to go down some of these wormholes on YouTube to get me through the social distancing.
Also, to start writing my blog again.
So I’m going to do different topics, I think mostly music related. This one will be kicked off with some various music series on YouTube that are fun to follow. To be honest, I haven’t checked in with some of these for a while.
This is a fun series where top up-and-coming acts come through and cover a song from a selected list. Some of these can be really inspired.
Other times, you’re wondering what the hell you just watched.
But that’s the pure fun of this series. I haven’t been following this lately. But above is a fun cover of “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” from Looking Glass. Or maybe you’ll know it better from Guardians of the Galaxy II,
Below is one of my favorites from the series, which is Ted Leo and the Pharmacist covering “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” It’s just a fun rock-punk vibe to an 80s staple.
And this one might be my favorite, Nada Surf covering “Bizarre Love Triangle” from New Order. This song seems to be a favorite of a lot of people as I’ve seen numerous covers of this song. Nada Surf added some horns and a beatbox (kind of) to this song which makes it fun.
I stumbled across this when I was looking up music from Walk The Moon, and “Anna Sun” was one of those earworms I couldn’t shake off. That’s when I discovered this performance with this chorus in New York. It’s a really good series that’s truly inspiring.
Here’s another fun video with Portugal the Man performing “Feel It Still” with the chorus.
Live from Daryl’s House
This is an amazing series that features Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates, and he brings in various acts for some amazing jam sessions. This started when I was obsessed with Fitz and the Tantrums and I was blown away when they were on.
I think this one is a real gem with Nick Lowe, covering his hit “Cruel to be Kind.”
And finally, here is Neon Tree with Daryl covering their hit “Animal.”
Let me know what your favorite music series are on YouTube and I’ll feature my favorites in a future blog. I need the inspiration during this pandemic.
The best part of Coachella is catching acts just before they take off. Or catching a star as they ascend into legendary status.
This year, I think that act could be Alice Merton. I love her voice and her beats. I’m hooked.
But let me make something clear. She’s been gaining traction for a year. I think with her being at Coachella, I think it will bring a wave of momentum to elevate her even more. Her music is really good.
Her most popular song is “No Roots,” a catchy, moody song that has a great hook that sucks you in. She’s performed this song on the late night talk show circuit.
When I listen to this song, I just think it’s going to be amazing to her it live. It has the recipe to be a lot of fun.
But my favorite from Alice is “Lash Out.” I get giddy when the open guitar riff and then goose bumps anticipating the electricity her voice brings.
I’m posting this acoustic version that just got me geeking out.
It bums me out I won’t be able to catch her live at Coachella.
If you have a wristband, do not miss Alice Merton.
It has befuddled me why Coachella has scheduled New Order against one of the headliners the last two time the groundbreaking English band has been at the Empire Polo Grounds.
As a fan, I would love to see them get more exposure to the younger generation as their sound, I believe, is a precursor for EDM and I think those who don’t know New Order would fall in love with them.
On the other hand, with the struggles of battling through the numerous people, it was actually nice to have some breathing room in the Mohave Tent while they played Sunday night against Kendrick Lamar.
And I don’t think there are more enthusiastic crowds than the ones for New Order.
Their music was the soundtrack of my college days.
They were cutting edge in the day and while I never got to see them live during those days, I’m sure their look was as edgy as their sound.
Today, they look middle-aged, like me. But they exude joy with their music. When lead singer Bernard Sumner breaks out in dance on hits like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” I kind of compare it to watching your father dance for the first time.
But it’s so endearing as well. He’s getting into his great music, and it makes me enjoy it more.
There are so many great songs from New Order that they are must see every time they are at Coachella. At least for me.
This year, their encore songs were two from Joy Division, which was New Order’s original incarnation, but they changed the name after Ian Curtis committed suicide.
I hadn’t known much of Joy Division, but the final song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” is definitely a favorite.
One of the acts I’ve wanted to see for a while has been Bon Iver, as I think Justin Vernon is one of the best vocalist out there.
Halocene is such a beautiful song, and his cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make you Love Me” is extraordinary.
But I hadn’t read much about Bon Iver before watching them at Coachella this year during the second weekend. So when I heard the auto tune and the altering of his vocals, it threw me off.
My initial reaction was, “with a beautiful voice like that, why mess with it?”
But I know artists like to branch out, so I tried to give it a chance. But to be honest, it was hard to really soak it in because it did throw me off. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t prepared for it. I will have to listen more to his new CD, “22, A Million.” I want to listen to more of it and get an honest take on his new direction.
Yet, I think Bon Iver came up with the signature moment for Coachella 2017 for me when there was a surprise appearance by Bruce Hornsby and Jenny Lewis. They performed together on Hornsby hit, “The End of the Innocence.”
Bringing together three rich and beautiful voices together for that song just gave me goosebumps the whole song.
And it was cool because there was no introduction. I thought it was just a cover, but as I listened, “hey, isn’t that Bruce Hornsby?”
When I got home that night, I searched YouTube to see if anyone posted a video of it. Once I found it, I was sharing it with all my music friends.
Coachella can sometimes be a pain. With so many people, as they expanded to 120,000 this year, it’s can test your patience.
But “The End of the Innocence” is a moment that makes it all worth it.
So for the tennis fans who follow this blog, here’s a little background on Josh Homme:
He was originally in the band Kyuss before starting Queens of the Stone Age in 1997.
Their third album, 2002’s “Songs for the Deaf,” featured Foo Fighters front man and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. The album produced the hits “No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow.”
Their hit song “Little Sister,” from their fourth album, “Lullabies to Paralyze,” features a driving cow bell. It helped inspire a classic moment on Saturday Night Live in 2005 with Will Ferrell.
Six of their albums have been nominated for Grammys.
In 2009, Homme was part of the super band Them Crooked Vultures, that also featured John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Grohl. Their hit “New Fang” won a Grammy for best hard rock performance.
Homme also founded Eagles of Death Metal with high school friend Jesse Hughes. In 2015, Eagles of Death Metal were playing the Bataclan in Paris, France when terrorist came in and killed 89 people. Colin Hanks directed an HBO documentary “Eagles of Death Metal, Nos Amis (Our Friends)” that premiered in February.
Of all the people to withdraw from Coachella, Beyoncé was the toughest one to take for 2017.
Beyoncé is outside of Coachella’s comfort zone of indie acts, and its such a huge attraction that a large part of the tickets were purchased just for her appearance. She was also the first woman in a decade to headline, which promoters were probably hoping would end the “Brochella” nickname.
Due to doctor’s orders, Beyoncé cancelled, but promised to headline Coachella the next year.
So who can fill the large hole created by Beyoncé? When it comes to her stature and body of work, it’s an irreplaceable talent and it won’t satisfy her fans, who have seen the price plummet on the secondary market (the scalpers).
There are numerous great acts, but it’s apples and oranges.
And should it be a woman?
I think at this point, Coachella will have to take whoever it can get. A few woman can headline with the large appeal of Beyoncé, but are not necessarily a Coachella act. At this point, that might not be important.
For acts who don’t mind replacing Beyoncé, the other factor is putting on a headlining-worthy show on short notice. It makes it tough for acts who are not touring or rehearsing to pull the trigger.
Because let’s face it, expectations will be high, and people watching will be incredibly judgmental.
Here’s a look at possible replacements.
Her stock has always been high, and after her Super Bowl and Grammy performances, it’s skyrocketing.
Gaga would be the best option. She has a new CD and her world tour doesn’t begin until August. This would be a great jump start.
But Gaga will hit the West Coast in August and December, including shows at the Forum during both of those months. Will that be too much Gaga? And I’m not sure if the promoters of her tour would go for that.
Then again, the publicity could create an even bigger frenzy.
Another terrific possibility. Rihanna was at the Indio Polo Grounds in October performing with Paul McCartney and has been at Coachella as a fan and guest star with 2016 headliner Calvin Harris.
Currently, she has no tour dates. It could be asking a lot of her to put together a headlining act with rehearsals in what could be a one-off (or actually two-off) performance.
His tour doesn’t begin until July, and he would go over big with Coachella fans.
He’s never played.
But there could be an ego thing, in that he might want to play Coachella with a huge buildup that traditionally begins in January.
Not sure if he’s had regular talks with Goldenvoice, so who knows if it would be a good fit.
I think she would be a great headliner, but maybe being a replacement would be a bad move.
Although gracious at the Grammys, not sure Adele fans are also Beyoncé fans and vice versa. While Adele has a huge following, it might not satisfy the ticket buyers. Generally, Adele’s shows are more stripped down, compare to the large productions you get from Beyoncé.
She would be great at Coachella, but the cards might be too stacked in replacing Beyoncé. .
He’s been a last minute addition for promoters Goldenvoice, and he’s been a great headliner at Coachella. Plus, Kanye wouldn’t have to travel far.
But of course he had personal issues that prematurely ended his tour and saw him in the hospital following his breakdown.
You hope that he will be healthy before considering taking on Coachella.
Considering what Lemonade is about, maybe it’s not a good idea for Jay Z to be away from his pregnant wife to perform at Coachella over two weekends.
I’ve said U2 and Green Day in a former blog. And it would make sense since their schedules could accommodate it. But again, short notice and their music might not satisfy the Beyoncé ticket buyers.
When Coachella announces it’s lineup, the last few years, it’s been met with disappointment.
As the leading music festival in this country, expectations are high, maybe too high.
I look at this year’s lineup and it’s impressive, yet I still feel disappointed.
Having said that, I’ve been disappointed when Coachella’s lineup has been announced the last few years, but I still go and have a good time.
The headliners are strong with Beyoncé, who will be performing for the first time as an act and not a guest. Radiohead is a longtime Coachella favorite. And Kendrick Lamar is on the brink of surpassing superstar status.
No doubt, Coachella will do well with ticket sales and buzz.
It also didn’t help that BottleRock Napa Valley announced it’s lineup, with Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Maroon 5 are the headliners. It’s a matter of tastes, but I’m more excited about those headliners.
But for me, I go to Coachella with an open mind. What usually happens, I’ll find bands I didn’t know much about and fall in love with them. And acts I was so-so with, I’ll fall in love with.
The truth of the matter is Coachella has been evolving and expanding it’s reach, having made hip hop and EDM more of a staple over the years. With the broader base, there will be less bands I really love that will fill the line up.
But that’s cool.
There’s still enough bands I love, as well as a few new ones I’m really anxious to see. If I go with an open mind, I’m sure there will be an act I will fall in love with and it might change my tastes yet again.
So here’s a few of my highlights after seeing the 2017 lineup.
HANS ZIMMER?: If Coachella was going to book an act that is famous for scoring movies, I figured it would have been former Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman.
Zimmer has done the score of countless epic movies, including “The Lion King” and “The Dark Knight.” He’s even teaching an online “Masterclass” online for $90.
I always imagine that if Hans Zimmer does something, it would be with a huge orchestra in a venue like the Hollywood Bowl.
But this could be a very cool show.
It reminds me of when producer Mark Ronson performed at Coachella. While he doesn’t sing, he had a great show with tremendous guests.
A WOMAN, FINALLY: Beyoncé becomes just the second woman to headline Coachella, following in the footsteps of Bjork in 2002 and 07. It’s surprising it’s been a decade since Coachella had a female headliner.
But Beyoncé will be a spectacular way to end the drought. She stole the show at last year’s Super Bowl, and “Lemonade” was her latest monster hit.
It won’t be the first time Beyoncé has performed at Coachella, as she’s been a guest for several acts, including husband Jay Z during his 2010 headlining set.
It also brings up this interesting tidbit. Will Beyoncé’s appearance bring out the Obama family as President Obama has bought a home in nearby Rancho Mirage? They have been friends and Beyoncé and Jay Z were at the White House frequently.
Here’s a look back at Beyoncé performing with Jay Z at Coachella, singing “Young Forever.”
CATCHING THOSE I MISSED IN 2012: So at Coachella, be careful what you eat. In 2012, I had something that forced me to leave the evening session, forcing me to miss some much-anticipated acts like Radiohead and Bon Iver.
Luckily, both are here this year.
But I did get one reprieve. Thom York was at the Ace Hotel the following weekend, and he was DJ-ing on a Friday prior to his Weekend 2 performance the next day.
Another band that I wanted to catch but missed was Bastille, as they played a tent that was so overcrowded I couldn’t get in. Hopefully they’ll be on the main stage this time.
WELCOME BACK: Bands who had some of my favorite sets will be returning, particularly New Order, Two Door Cinema Club, Capital Cities, GroupLove, Local Natives and the Head and the Heart.