Arcade Fire brings in Debbie Harry to close Coachella, slams VIP policy

Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:10am EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Canadian alternative-rock group Arcade Fire closed the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday with special guest Debbie Harry but deplored the festival's growing amenities reserved for VIPs only.

Arcade Fire kicked off its set with "Reflektor," the title song from last year's album of the same name, and led into songs such as ""Flashbulb Eyes" and "Rebellion (Lies)."

"We've been coming here for many years now, so it's an honor to be headlining," said the band's frontman, Win Butler.

But Butler took a moment on stage to criticize Coachella's VIP area, saying "people are dreaming to get in there, but it super sucks in there, so don't worry about it."

The band then played its nostalgia-infused track "The Suburbs," changing part of the lyrics to sing "in a field full of freaks and my friends," eliciting cheers from the audience.

The band were later joined by Blondie singer Debbie Harry, who performed her classic 1979 hit "Hearts of Glass" with Arcade Fire's frontwoman Regine Chassagne, and the band's song "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)." Arcade Fire ended with "Wake Up," joined by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Coachella, which began in 1999 as a festival of indie and alternative rock, has become one of the main attractions of the summer live music season. Headliners in recent years have included Jay Z, Snoop Dogg and Madonna.

It has also acquired the amenities Butler criticized. Along with celebrity attendees have come the VIP area, where guests were treated to pop-up food stalls from upscale Los Angeles restaurant such as Eveleigh, Baco Mercat and Sugarfish.   Continued...

Lead vocalist Win Butler of rock band Arcade Fire performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California April 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni