The Coachella Festival of Art and Music is not only one of the largest and most popular events in the US but also across the world. Since its inception in 1999 the festival has seen some truly memorable performances. Here’s our shortlist of the five greatest Coachella performances of the last 10 years:

Daft Punk (2006): The robots strike back
The robots came. They saw. They conquered. The French duo of Bangalter and de Homem-Christo had reached significant popularity by late 1990s before falling off the EDM radar. That night in the Sahara tent changed it all. From the time they stepped out of their now-famous LED pyramid to when they stopped 80 minutes later after blowing the audience with some of the funkiest, grittiest grooves ever played, Daft Punk were more than back. Every music producer from that point had their task cut out; Daft Punk had raised the bar ridiculously high.

Rage Against the Machine (2007): The ultimate reunion gig
Rage Against the Machine had been a critical and commercial success when they first broke through the scene in the early 1990s. Three original albums later, the band broke up when vocalist Zack de la Rocha quit and went solo. Seven years later, when RATM came on the stage as the headlining act for the last day of Coachella they had the largest crowd in Coachella’s history waiting for them – an estimated 100,000 people. And did they rage! The pent up frustration of the seven years came out as the band gave a powerhouse performance of their politically charged songs.

Prince (2008): Purple rain in the desert
Prince Roger Nelson is one of the greatest and most successful artists of all time. As the headlining artist of the second day of Coachella 2008 Prince came on the stage with a massive audience waiting in anticipation. Starting with his cover of “Creep”, Prince and his all-star ’80s entourage rocked the crowd with his biggest hits from “Little Red Corvette” to “Purple Rain”. During the show Prince screamed “You are in the coolest place on Earth right now”; the audience couldn’t agree more.

Arcade Fire (2011): Beach ball mania
Canadian band Arcade Fire has been one of the leading indie rock acts in the world since they came to prominence a decade back. In their third appearance at Coachella, the Montreal collective showed why they are one of the best live acts around. From the opening notes of “Month of May” which started their Saturday night’s headlining set till they reached the end of the show with “Keep the car running” the band kept the audience in thrall. The icing on the cake came when Arcade Fire started “Wake Up” their final song for the night and thousands of LED-enhanced beach balls were dropped onto the unsuspecting crowd! The delighted audience left not only with memories of an amazing night of music but also with a rather nifty (and much coveted!) party favor.

Dr. Dre and Snoop (2012): The resurrection of Tupac
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were slaying the audience with their set. With songs like “Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang” and a guest list of performers that reads like the who’s who of hip-hop and rap with Eminem, 50 cent, Warren G. and Wiz Khalifa performing, the duo had already made it a very memorable evening for their fans. Then they really pushed the envelope. Tupac Shakur (or 2Pac if you will), arguably the most influential rapper of all time, who had died in a shooting incident in 1996, was brought back to life with a hologram-like 3D projection appearing on the stage. While the Tupak hologram took a bow after performing “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted”, the fans left the Polo Ground that night giddy with excitement and disbelief.

Honorable mentions:
Coachella always attracts the biggest artists in the world and has over time been witness to some legendary performances. Some of the acts that just missed the cut for us were:

Pixies (2004)

Madonna (2006)

Jay-Z and Beyoncé (2010)

To plan your trip to the event, check out our pages for the Coachella Festival and Indio.

(Image by Kimberley D)

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