Coachella’s long-awaited return continued on Saturday night with headliner Billie Eilish, some festival surprises and A-listers turning out for the desert’s biggest parties.
Taking the main stage that Harry Styles had graced the night before, Eilish kicked off her 90-minute set at 11:30 p.m. and ran through her biggest hits with support from brother and music partner Finneas and special appearances from Khalid and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn.
Eilish, who performed lower on the festival bill in 2019, repeatedly expressed her shock at being asked to lead Saturday’s shows, telling the crowd throughout the night, “This is a fucking trip” and “Dude this is so weird, I should not be headlining this shit!”
“I’m so fucking grateful that I’m here and you guys are all here, this is such a dream come true, I feel crazy,” Eilish continued at one point during the show. “And it’s been three years man! I have three rules for the night. No. 1 rule is don’t be an asshole, simple as that. No. 2 is you’re not allowed to judge anyone out here — I say that that every time. And No. 3, have fun bitch.”
You should see @billieeilish on the @youtube livestream. Now at https://t.co/369m1pEHng pic.twitter.com/BvOjmtihhV
— Coachella (@coachella) April 17, 2022
When bringing out Albarn, who joined her for performances of “Getting Older” and “Feel Good Inc.” Eilish declared, “This man changed my life in a lot of ways and changed my complete view of what music could be and what art could be and what creation could be. My first favorite band ever was The Good, the Bad and the Queen when I was six years old and Blur changed the world and Gorillaz changed the world. This man is literally a genius and that’s that.”
And after closing out the high-energy show with performances of “Bad Guy” and “Happier Than Ever,” Eilish teased, “Thank you Coachella, I’m sorry I’m not Beyonce. I love you, goodnight.”
Elsewhere during Saturday’s shows, Megan Thee Stallion performed new music and Flume (with special guest Beck), Disclosure, 21 Savage, Danny Elfman, Giveon and Brockhampton also took the stage. In addition to appearing onstage with Eilish, Khalid joined Disclosure to perform their hit collaboration “Talk.” Over at the main stage, K-pop group 2NE1 reunited for their first performance since 2015, joining their former bandmate CL during 88rising’s set. Additionally, Phoebe Bridgers graced the desert stage again, joining Arlo Parks for her set, as the singer had done for Bridgers the night prior. At the Sahara tent, Brockhampton delivered their second-to-last performance as a group, the last of which will take place during weekend two. As a surprise to the crowd, the hip-hop boy band announced their final album will release later this year, before the group officially breaks up.
Outside of the festival, Saturday also saw the weekend’s biggest lineup of Coachella parties, including the first day of Revolve Festival (with a performance from Post Malone and guest Quavo) and the return of afterparty Neon Carnival, where guests followed up the shows with late-night carnival-style games and amusement park thrills. The event, presented by Levi’s and Tequila Don Julio with hydration by Liquid I.V., saw a starry list of attendees including Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Timothée Chalamet, Paris Hilton, Jared Leto, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Chloe and Halle Bailey, Lilli Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Charles Melton and KJ Apa.
Rachel Zoe’s Zoeasis party also brought in some Hollywood faces, including Keke Palmer, Gavin Leatherwood, Behati Prinsloo, Olivia Culpo, Nicole Scherzinger, Ava Phillippe, Jabari Banks and Yellowjackets stars Samantha Hanratty and Ella Purnell.
“This is my first time at Coachella ever, probably it is the big break of everything outside that would push me to come,” Palmer told THR at the day party, detailing plans to go with the flow when it came to weekend plans: “For me it’s just about having as much fun as I can in terms of having good surroundings. It’s a lot of energy so I’m trying to just find the best, most comforting ones.”
Purnell and Hanratty were also attending the festival for the first time, as Hanratty gushed over being “a huge Harry [Styles] fan.”
“I had a panic attack,” the actress said of the headliner’s performance. “But not because of Harry, because of the claustrophobia of all the people. So then I had to get out of being in the front. I ended up in the back but it was great.” Purnell didn’t stay for Styles’ entire set, missing Shania Twain’s appearance. “I was so nervous we weren’t going to be able to get a taxi, we literally left,” Purnell said. “I didn’t know they had fireworks, god damn it!”
Hanratty also spoke candidly about the return of events amid the pandemic. The actress said, “If we’re being totally honest, my anxiety has gotten a lot worse. Reentering back into society has been a little bit more of a challenge than I expected. I’m also just allowing myself to feel it, and then just kind of overcoming it. If you can’t be in the middle of the crowd, go on the outside of dance, you know what I mean? So I think I’m just figuring it all out. But it’s been really exciting and really fun to be able to finally see friends and dance and be crazy.”
Purnell continued that sentiment, acknowledging how good it feels to run into friends at events like Coachella, also mentioning Paris Fashion Week, which the actress attended earlier this year. “There’s been such an atmosphere because everyone’s been locked away for so long. In Paris especially, it’s like, you could not walk one length of the street without bumping into someone you know or something crazy [happening]. The vibe is just insane right now.”
Among Saturday’s other festivities included Liquid I.V. House of Hydration, where Jack Harlow and Saweetie both performed; Interscope Records’ sixth annual celebration, with attendees Charlie Puth, Kathryn Newton and Benny Blanco; Spotify’s “Desert Kickback,” where Maggie Rogers, Victor Cruz, Damson Idris, Sabrina Carpenter, Lena Waithe made appearances; and H&M’s Hotel Hennes soiree, with Zoey Deutch, Ava Phillippe, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Vanessa Morgan, Indya Moore, Lexi Underwood and Storm Reid.
Soho Desert House, Hugo House, Desert Gold, Tao Desert Nights, Rolling Stone Live and HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant Preflight Lounge rounded out the desert party scene. The festival continues on Sunday with headliners The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia.