THE COUNT: COACHELLA, FROM THE COUCH

While watching hours of the Weekend 1 Coachella livestream from our sand-, sun- and wind-free couch, it became abundantly clear that there’s still no substitute for true talent and authentic showmanship. Plus, who doesn’t love a surprise guest?

And while we cannot deny the selling power of today’s pop powerhouses, the old-schoolers came up surprisingly tall last weekend, dwarfing several of their younger contemporaries. During No Doubt’s reunion set, its first in about nine years, Gwen Stefani and crew were joined by the hottest touring artist of the moment (not counting Taylor, of course), Olivia Rodrigo, and completely overshadowed the young multiplatinum upstart, whose reverence for Stefani was on full display during their performance of the band’s “Bathwater.”

Still, insiders are saying Stefani will not do a reunion tour with her old chums even though a No Doubt trek would make big bank. In fact, those in the know claim Stefani’s going rate for private gigs has gone through the roof in the wake of Coachella as she can apparently now make more money as a solo act. Sorry fellas, and don’t forget to hollaback now, ya hear?


From top: No Doubt's Tony Kanal and Gwen Stefani, Peso Pluma, Doja Cat, Paris Hilton with Vampire Weekend

Observers looking to see if Peso Pluma’s theatrical and frenzied primetime Friday set would kick some life into his soft-selling North American tour, which begins in May, will have to wait until this coming weekend’s show to see any impact on sales. The Live Nation-promoted arena trek is picking up heat in markets where Pluma has consistently done well, such as Fresno, California, but Coachella seems to have had no effect so far in heartland venues like Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum.

Meanwhile, J Balvin won the award for most-surprising surprise Coachella guest, bringing Will Smith out to perform “Men in Black.” It was a reminder that Smith made his bones rapping before he became an Academy Award-winning actor, and while he hasn’t performed live in some time, he also hasn’t lost his flow or understanding of the moment.

YG Marley’s inclusion of his mom, Lauryn Hill, was a nice nod to his robust musical lineage, while Katy Perry gave a little extra shine to longtime friend DJ Mia Moretti by hopping onstage to hype up the crowd during her set. Elsewhere, headliner Tyler, the Creator balanced his quirky stage presence with guests Childish Gambino, A$AP Rocky, Charlie Wilson and Kali Uchis to deliver a highly watchable performance.

We already know that youngsters lost their minds when Billie Eilish sang two songs on Friday with headliner Lana Del Rey, but other unannounced guests included 21 Savage with Doja Cat, Shakira with Bizarrap, Becky G with Peso Pluma, Paris Hilton with Vampire Weekend, Justin Bieber with TEMS, Feid with Blxst, Kesha with Reneé Rapp and David Guetta with Bebe Rexha.

Thankfully, Coachella hasn’t totally abandoned rock vets; Deftones, the reunited Sublime, Taking Back Sunday and Blur stood out on the bill, though the latter was less well received than oft-cranky frontman Damon Albarn would have preferred. Perhaps a week off sipping date shakes by the La Quinta pool will chill him out before Weekend 2.

Or perhaps he can duet with the Tupac hologram or Ms. Swift, whose new album drops just in time for her to return to the Empire Polo Field and steal the thunder right out of the desert sky.


From top: J Balvin, Lauryn Hill with YG, Deftones' Chino Moreno, Billie Eilish

Photos: Charles Reagan, Pooneh Ghana, Quinn Tucker

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