Coachella 2011: Raphael Saadiq competes with Animal Collective, Arcade Fire and a late start
A sparse crowd dotted the tent minutes before he was set to start, but, then, he was competing with not one but two big ticket draws on the main stage during his set: Animal Collective and Arcade Fire. And you could tell: One person raised their watch and tapped on it as the band and crew did an exended soundcheck, as another shouted, “You’re wasting time.”
It didn’t help that folks could see Animal Collective's hyperactive multimedia display across the pitch; the way necks craned back and forth, fans looked like they were watching tennis. But who could resist the three giant cubes that hovered over the band? It was that or watch a crew continue to soundcheck.
Saadiq took the stage 20 minutes late, a debilitating start for a 45-minute set.
But what Saadiq was able to offer, the crowd gobbled up. The consummate showman, he served up retro soul dotted with horns, keyboard, percussion and Saadiq on guitar. With more time, he’d have no doubt reached back to his work with Tony! Toni! Toné! and Lucy Pearl, but the crooner offered fans who came to see him (and didn’t dash out early to catch the start of Arcade Fire) a set that was loaded with selections from his just released fourth solo disc, “Stone Rollin'.”
After going over his time, his mic cut out, but he didn’t care; he ditched it and went to the edge of the stage and delivered the rest a cappela.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Raphael Saadiq performs Saturday at the Coachella Vallley Music & Arts Festival in Indio. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times