Elfman, 68, and Eilish, 20, write the history of the festival

Danny Elfman performs at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 16, 2022. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

Danny Elfman performs at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 16, 2022. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

Three years ago, a 17-year-old rising artist named Billie Eilish was stunned by a “#Billiechella” career Saturday on Coachella’s second stage, during which she modestly told the crowded field, “I don’t deserve that at all!” Since then, a lot has happened: Eilish won seven Grammys and an Oscar and became the voice of her generation, and of course Coachella was put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This weekend, as Eilish and the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival itself returned to Indio’s Empire Polo Club for the first time since 2019, Eilish had arguably the best slot of the entire lineup – this time headlining Saturday main scene – but she remained as humble as ever, insisting, “Man, this is so weird! I should do not be the headliner of this shit! Eilish even ceded the biggest moment of her shoot to former Coachella statesman Damon Albarn of Blur, whom she credits with changing her life.

At 20, Eilish added another achievement to her growing resume on Saturday, becoming the youngest headliner in Coachella history. But there was another older statesman making an even more triumphant return: Legendary former Oingo Boingo composer turned film composer Danny Elfman, whose epic “Boingo to Batman and Beyond” Outdoor Stage set scored, as he said, “My first time on stage as ‘myself in 27 years.

Elfman, who at 68 was the the oldest artist who plays this year’s Coachella festival, usually obsessed with young people, occasionally performs with orchestras – notably at his famous Nightmare Before Christmas symphonic shows, which actually featured a cameo from Eilish as part of the final Halloween season of Tim Burton’s beloved film Sally. But he refrained from performing regular rock concerts for almost three decades, due to his severe tinnitus. In fact, in 2014, he told Yahoo Entertainment: “When I stopped doing Oingo Boingo, I knew I would never step on that kind of concert stage again in my life without totally destroying my hearing – which ‘there was some left.’ However, after the release of the dystopian lockdown opus big mess (his first solo album since 1984) in June 2021, Elfman seemed freshly inspired and finally ready to come out of semi-retirement.

Danny Elfman performs at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 16, 2022. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

Danny Elfman performs at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 16, 2022. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

“My name is Danny Elfman, and I have a weird little show for you,” the new wave pioneer devilishly announced on Saturday, taking the outside stage in a black t-shirt (which he later threw off to reveal an impressive chiseled physique and torso full of tribal tattoos) and cargo shorts, looking like a carrot-headed version of his recent rocker/songwriter collaborator and successor, Trent Reznor. And it was indeed a very strange and downright crazy sight – but it was far a little “. Accompanied by a large orchestra and a nu-metallic band that featured Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland, Vandals/Devo/Guns N’ Roses/A Perfect Circle drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese, and his Longtime and former Boingo teammate Steve Bartek, the prolific Elfman, has gone from mood to mood and decade to decade – proving that no one really has had a career quite like this ginger genius.

There was the relentless, scary-crawly nihilist big mess explosion of ‘Sorry’, ‘Insects’, ‘Kick Me’, ‘True’, ‘Happy’ and the ever-relevant ‘Love in the Time of COVID’, all accompanied by screensaver collage graphics from hell of Trumps puppets, stick zombies, funhouse mirror monsters, deformed dolls and Elfman melting rubber faces to match all the cutting edge face melting sounds. But then Elfman would gaze kindly and lovingly onto the big stage screen to watch, along with the rest of the audience, as beautiful live orchestral pieces accompanied some of his most iconic film and television compositions, including the Spider Man main title; “Breakfast Machine” from his first motion picture soundtrack, Peewee’s Big Adventure; “Ice Dancing/The Grand Finale” from Edward Scissorhands; “Alice’s Theme” from Alice in Wonderland; and the film theme that truly launched his career as a composer, from Burton Batman. Highlights of the screen-centric set also included the adorably demented voice of Elfman’s Jack Skellington on The Nightmare Before Christmas‘s “Jack’s Lament/It’s Halloween/What’s That?” (during which he shouted “Coachellatown” to please the crowd), and a whacked hardcore remake of his eternal The Simpsons theme.

But for Coachella fans of a certain age who grew up in nearby Los Angeles, where Oingo Boingo was pretty much the house band of pioneering alternative rock radio station KROQ for years, hearing Elfman perform Boingo New Wave Nerves for the First Time Since the 80s – “Nothing to Fear (But Fear Himself)”, “Just Another Day”, “Insanity”, “Only a Lad”, “Who Do You Want to Be”, the Halloween classic “Dead Man’s Party” – was perhaps what made this set so historic. And maybe it won’t be years before Elfman plays those songs again. As he left the cheering crowd, he told them: ‘Thank you for getting me out of…whatever it’s called, I forget’, pausing before using the word ‘retirement’ . He then added, “Thank you. I love being here.”

Back on the main stage, the aforementioned Eilish was joined by Khalid (who also just made a surprise appearance during Disclosure’s Saturday set) for a gorgeous performance of “Lovely,” then brought out the veteran of Coachella mentioned above Albarn, of Blur/Gorillaz fame (bringing new meaning to his phrase “the world is a little blurry”). While many young viewers didn’t seem to recognize the Britpop star when he first stepped out, unpretentiously and without billing, to duet with Eilish on ‘Getting Older’, she enthusiastically demanded that they give it to her. the respect he deserves.

“This is the craziest shit I’ve ever been through. This man changed my life in so many ways and changed my complete view of what music could be, what art could be, and what creating could be,” Eilish said. “My first favorite band was The Good, the Bad & the Queen [Albarn’s supergroup, which played Coachella in 2007, featuring the Clash’s Paul Simonon of the Clash, the Verve’s Simon Tong, and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen]. I was 6. And Blur changed the world. And damn Gorillaz changed the world. And this man is a genius, and that’s it. Eilish and Albarn were then joined by De La Soul’s Posdnuos for a rousing rendition of Gorillaz’s festival staple “Feel Good Inc.” – although Eilish mostly watched them as a fan would, singing giddily in amazement.

After Albarn left the stage, a stunned Eilish gasped, “You don’t understand how much Damon means to me! I feel like I’m dying.” And the admiration between Eilish and Albarn, 53, is clearly mutual. Earlier this year, in a Los Angeles Time interview that went viral for all the wrong reasons when Albarn questioned Taylor Swift’s songwriting skills, he also praised the “exceptional” Eilish and her brother/collaborator Finneas as “really interesting” modern pop songwriters, explaining that his music is “just darker – less endlessly upbeat. Much more minor and weird.

As Eilish wrapped up her 90-minute show, she was still humbled, shyly apologizing for not headlining Coachella 2018 Beyoncé. Interestingly, Eilish’s main set was preceded by Beyoncé’s ‘Savage Remix’ collaborator Megan Thee Stallion, who controversially lost the Grammy for Record of the Year 2021 to Eilish amid Beyoncé’s own protests. ‘Eilish. Megan’s fiery set (filled with sex-positive Hot Girl anthems like “Freak Nasty”, “Body”, “Eat It”, “WAP”, “Sex Talk” and “Big Ole Freaks”) was worthy of acclaim. ‘a full-fledged headliner on the right, at least justifying the co-billing, as she “put this together like it was fucking 2019”, twerking and spitting rhymes with as much ferocity as the storm of sand that lashed the grounds of Empire Field.

The highlight of Megan’s brash and breathless hour-long show was the premiere of a fiery new track, sampled by Jodeci/Wu-Tang Clan, “You’s a Bitch”, which she described as “very personal for me”. , and that’s who the fucking mother is concerned with! This 10 p.m. performance was Megan’s official Coachella debut, but judging by the wild public reaction to her new song, it’s going to be Hot Girl Summer 2022’s hit — and she’ll probably play it again when it hits the headlines. of Coachella 2023. .

But before that, there’s one more day of this year’s Coachella festival, Sunday, as Billie Eilish’s brother Finneas performs a solo set on an outdoor stage and the Swedish House Mafia and the Weeknd rush to saving the day after Eilish’s recent nemesis, Kanye West, pulled out of her lineup.

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