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Published: 2012/04/16

Radiohead, The Black Keys, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Refused and More Headline Coachella Weekend One

The first weekend of Coachella kicked off on Friday at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, CA with performances by The Black Keys, Explosions in the Sky, Givers, Girls, Sheepdogs, WU LYF, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff & Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, M. Ward, Gary Clark Jr., Dawes and many more. But the most notable occurrences of the festival’s first day were two high-profile reunions, Britpop sensation Pulp along with the return of Swedish punk band Refused.

Under a dark and gloomy sky, with heavy rain predicted to fall, the festival got underway shortly before noon, displaying a wide array of artists across its five stages. An early contestant for MVP of the first day was blues prodigy Gary Clark Jr., who took the stage midafternoon, delivering a high-energy set that included a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone from the Sun.” Dawes also performed a rousing afternoon set that featured a guest appearance from guitarist Blake Mills on a few numbers, including “When My Time Comes.”

As the day drew to a close, the recently reunited Pulp turned in an hour-long set before The Black Keys made their headlining debut on the Coachella stage. The group performed five songs with the addition of bassist Gus Seyffert and keyboardist/guitarist John Wood, before stripping down to a duo for a run of tunes that guitarist Dan Auerbach referred to as the “oldies, but goodies.” The reunited Refused closed out the day, performing before an American audience for the first time since 1998.

The festival’s second day brought several of the weekend’s most highly anticipated performances, including sets from Radiohead, Bon Iver and The Shins. But, by many accounts, it was Merrill Garbus’ Tune-Yards that stole the show. Elsewhere, British folkie Laura Marling turned heads with an afternoon set on the festival’s Gobi stage, while Grace Potter and the Nocturnals delivered a highlight set in the festival’s Outdoor Theater.

Bon Iver took the stage before Radiohead performed their two-hour headlining set, which leaned heavily on new material from The King of Limbs with some classics like “Karma Police,” “Pyramid Song,” and the show’s closer, “Paranoid Android,” thrown in for good measure (watch the full set in the video below).

Sunday wrapped up the first weekend of Coachella with performances by Real Estate, Girl Talk, Justice, Beirut, At the Drive-In, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, the Weeknd, and many more.

Real Estate performed a late afternoon set on the Gobi stage yesterday, which featured nearly all of the songs from their 2011 album Days along with “Fake Blues” from their 2010 debut.

Shortly after, the recently reunited hardcore band At The Drive-In performed on the festival’s main stage before the evening’s headliners, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg won the day with a set that featured guest appearances from Tupac and Nate Dogg in hologram form (yes you read that correctly). Featuring a setlist of career-spanning hits, the pair were joined on stage by Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Warren G. But the biggest surprise of the weekend came midway through the set when a hologram of the recently deceased Nate appeared to join in on “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).” Later on, yet another surprise occurred when Tupac’s hologram appeared for “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerika’z Most Wanted.”

Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg (Live at Coachella, 2012)... by coachellasets

The festival returns to the Empire Polo Ground in Indio, CA on Friday.

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