Summer festival season in 2012 hasn’t quite reached the midway point, but we’ve already got a deluge of memorable moments for the scrapbook. We compiled five of the best surprises so far, from the reappearance of long lost artists, to improvisational fill-ins, surprise collaborations, and of course, one man’s performance from beyond the grave. Strap yourselves in for a concentrated dose of awesomeness.
5. Deer Tick Does An Hour of Covers
(Honda Bigfoot Stage, Sasquatch!)
When rockers Mogwai had to cancel their set at this year’s Sasquatch due to a problem at the Canadian border, a different band swooped in and saved the day. Spiritualized pushed their set up into the Glasgow native’s planned portion, and the following slot was filled by an enthusiastic Deer Tick, who instead of playing a repeat of the previous day’s set list, came up with an entirely new show. Constantly renaming the band throughout the performance, they went from ‘Deervana’ to ‘The Deer Replacements,’ playing every cover they knew from the Beatles to Chuck Berry. An ad hoc moment, and an incredibly special one from those lovable drunkards. Above, the band rips through their song “Easy” during their first performance of the weekend, but we couldn’t track down any footage of the actual surprise set.
4. Fiona Apple Returns
(Hype Machine Stage, Governor’s Ball)
Governor’s Ball on Randall’s Island boasted a lot of interesting and unique artists but none resonated quite as loudly as Fiona, with her first major NYC performance in seven years. It marked the first time in almost a decade the city has heard “Criminal” in such a large space and the first time it got to experience the new songs from her recent LP The Idler Wheel…. With the knowledge of Apple’s tumultuous personal life, her resurgence in such a major metro area feels exceptionally special, more so than other “major” artists reappearing this festival season (although The Beach Boys deserve an honorable mention, really how many times can we bolster Bonnaroo?). Speaking of which…
3. Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie
(The Other Tent, Bonnaroo)
The legenedary Kenny Rogers didn’t have to work as hard as he thought to win over the Bonnaroo crowd — many of whom gleefully sang along to the seminal tunnes off The Gambler, and many others. But in addition to his surprise showing during Phish’s mainstage closing set, Rogers also hosted one of the weekend’s best and most pleasant surprises — two songs with surprise guest, collaborator, and friend Lionel Richie. The response was enormous.
2. D’Angelo and ?uestlove at The Superjam
(This Tent, Bonnaroo)
Richie wasn’t the only R&B hero to appear out of thin air. Although no one knew exactly what to expect from the secret cast of ?uestlove’s Saturday night Superjam, the biggest and craziest spot belonged to D’Angelo. Quest’s introduction said it all — “I’ve been waiting 12 years to say this: Ladies and gentleman, D’Angelo!” Acting as the de facto singer for ?uest’s all-star band, it marked D’Angelo’s first US appearance in over a decade. The band played songs like the Beatles’ “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and Led Zeppelin’s “What is and What Should Never Be.” Historic doesn’t even begin to describe it.
1. Tupac Shakur performs with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre
(Main Stage, Coachella)
But the most talked about, analyzed, and debated festival occurance thus far happened right at the beginning, perhaps even before summer had officially kicked off. No discussion of festival happenings in 2012 would be complete without it. The digital reconstitution of Tupac Shakur was both terrifying and awe-inspiring — for both weekends at Coachella, the first really major featured appearance of, for all intents and purposes, a ghost. The video doesn’t quite do it justice, trust me, it was pretty convincing from the audience’s perspective. Creepy, or cool? You’ll probably have plenty of post-mortem hologram performances in the coming years to make up your mind.
[Top Image Credit: Joe Puglisi]
Have your own favorite festival moments? Recount them in the comments! See more from Baeblemusic:
====================================================================================== Joe Puglisi is an NYU grad and the Managing Editor of Baeblemusic. You can email him at joep (at) baeblemusic.com if you want him to listen to your music, go to your show, or write nice things about you. In his spare time he enjoys haunting New York’s rock clubs, a nice whiskey, and tweeting. Baeblemusic brings to its growing audience exclusive video and editorial programming focused on highlighting the most interesting music acts of today across the country. Their voice is positive — they are fans — here to bring a curated and exclusive selection of artists and editorial to their devoted audience.
Joe Puglisi is an NYU grad and the Managing Editor of Baeblemusic. You can email him at joep (at) baeblemusic.com if you want him to listen to your music, go to your show, or write nice things about you. In his spare time he enjoys haunting New York's rock clubs, a nice whiskey, and tweeting. Baeblemusic brings to its growing audience exclusive video and editorial programming focused on highlighting the most interesting music acts of today across the country. Their voice is positive -- they are fans -- here to bring a curated and exclusive selection of artists and editorial to their devoted audience.