What the hell do you write about after that? The Coachella Festival had it’s bright spots all weekend. The shows went off relatively without any hitches and the megastars mixed in with the locals like usual. Armed with the brand spankin’ new HTC One X and it’s stunning still and video camera, I ventured off into Indio, CA to take in Coachella. On Friday night Katy Perry took in The Black Keys, while A$AP Rocky and the Mob brought out Rihanna and Usher. Childish Gambino made a lot of new fans with his energetic and passionate renditions of his singles “Heartbeat,” and “Bonfire.” While Kendrick Lamar continued to show why he is more than capable of carrying the torch of Hip-Hop into the next generation, and The Weeknd‘s US debut was more impressive than imagined, it was the old heads to leave us all in amazement as only they can. All weekend there was buzz of what exactly Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were going to pull off on their west coast home turf. The buzz was so palpable the entire weekend you would think he would have to make the dead rise from the Earth to meet the hype. Go figure.
Dre and Snoop entered the terradome and dueling sides of the stage. As Dre and Snoop’s iconic images covered the screens, they jumped right into “The Next Episode,” off of The Chronic 2001. Soon after, Dre and Snoop went back further and further in their history by reeling off their homerun hits from each of their classic solo debuts The Chronic and Doggystyle. A tribute to Nate Dogg soon followed with with a performance of “Aint No Fun,” while Warren G and Tha Dogg Pound of Daz and Kurupt joined the party. Snoop Dogg then invited Wiz Khalifa on stage to join him for “Young Wild, and Free,” shortly before Dr. Dre invited Kendrick Lamar back on the Coachella stage for the third consecutive day to perform “The Recipe.”
The familiar coin drops that preluded 50 Cent‘s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ led Tony Yayo and Philanthropy 50 to the stage to perform “What Up Gangsta,” and led into the remix of “P.I.M.P.” with Snoop Dogg. Then, without warning it happened.
Some stonewashed jeans and Timberland boots flashed on the screens, while the iconic “THUG LIFE” tattooed stomach was shown close up and Tupac Shakur graced a concert stage for the first time in 15 years. The holographic artist rendering of Pac was slickly designed and seemed to be ripped directly out of an episode of Star Trek. He didn’t look like he walked right out of 1996, rather he looked as if he never passed away and stayed in amazing shape. He had a slightly larger build, and had added age to his face, but it was unmistakably Pac. A stunned hush fell over the 40,000+ in attendance in the festival, before the holographic Pac let out an emphatic “What up, Coachella?!” A thunderous roar from the crowd followed as Pac pranced around in his unmistakeable mannerisms to perform “Gangsta Party.” Grown men roared with tears in their eyes, and plenty women jammed along in stunned disbelief. Tupac Shakur? In 2012? Live on stage? It was as good to the real thing as any of us were ever going to get. Snoop Dogg and Tupac traded bars with each other over their classic tune and it was just a surreal, yet classic Hip-Hop moment that was creepy and awesome all at the same time.
Pac then threw his two fingers up for an eerie, yet stunning rendition of “Hail Mary,” a song he was never lived to perform. And just as quickly as the hologram appeared, he returned to the center of the stage and vanished into thin air as the crowd roared almost begging the make-believe Pac not to go. For a good eight minutes, 50,000 people had suspended their belief in everything and let Tupac resurrect for one last mesmerizing performance. Epic was an understatement.
So who had the unenviable task of following that show? Eminem of course. Dr. Dre’s most prized signee performed “I Need Doctor,” alongside his mentor an followed it up with an passionate rendition of “Til’ I Collapse,” but even a rare performance from Slim Shady couldn’t top what 40,000 plus just witnessed. For a few short moments, Tupac was really back, the nearly 50 year old Dr. changed the game again.
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All photos and video were taken with the HTC One phone with Beats Audio.