And last, but not certainly not least for Coachella 2010–holy crap–it’s Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. Situated in front of a gorgeous logo of their name, and in a pleasant surprise compared to their history, not hidden in shadows at all, Gorillaz were armed to bring every bit of their sonic arsenal to bear. Opening with a taped Snoop Dogg video (”Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach”) on a massive video monitor, the band greeted the crowd into the world of their new album. The sheer depth of detail in their set was magnificent. Albarn played ringmaster to a twenty-person backing band expertly performing (not triggering) every note of “Rhinestone Eyes,” “White Flag” and “Empire Ants” while colorful videos adorned the backing video wall. Recent single “Stylo” with Bobby Womack (but not Mos Def) in attendance was smoothed-out and dance-inducing and “Glitter Freeze” was a near-instrumental throwdown. Albarn even appeared lively, smiling and punctuating songs like he was in a comfortable element for the first time in twenty years. Other live guests included Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon and De La Soul on “Superfast Jellyfish” and party-starting encore “Feel Good Inc.” Probably the biggest single reaction came in the form of “Clint Eastwood,” its bumping bass drops prompting Albarn to jump with triumphant energy. At the risk of gushing, this set was a beautiful moment. Gorillaz were exactly the kind of mind-blowing excellence that Coachella is famous for. It somehow managed to amorphously be whatever it wanted to be, rocking, serene, slick and stylish, all under the guise of a cartoon band of Gorillaz.
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