I just got back and wanted to share some observations around the horn. I haven't read a single thread on here since returning so I wouldn't taint my own sentiments right now, but I'd obviously like to hear your thoughts on some of these.
1. There were a BUNCH of hit-song omissions from bands, and I didn't really understand why. The Chem Bros and Block Rockin' Beats, Animal Collective and My Girls, The Drums and Down by the Water, Cold Cave and Life Magazine, Elbow and Switching Off, Tallest Man On Earth and Wild Hunt (and Kids on the Run and Like the Wheel), The National and Runaway... there were many more that I'm not thinking of, but I found it quite odd and upsetting.
2. While Arcade Fire put up the best show I will probably ever see in my life (and perhaps one that will go down in history? I haven't checked the boards or the media on it, but this is how I felt), I was disappointed with a number of the acts that I was most excited for and thus made the experience a lot less memorable than last year's. Some disappointments for me were Animal Collective (I thought it was miserable), Cee Lo (I think everyone would agree that this was a very poor performance), The Strokes, Death From Above 1979 (though my friends loved it and I'm sure some did here), Interpol (though I guess I half expected this)... it's too bad because the bands I don't care for and skipped supposedly rocked, like Black Keys and Kings of Leon. It's weird to think about last year's and have such a hard time making a list for my favorite acts, as there was at least 8 ones that just blew me away. This year there were a only a few of these for me, personally.
3. It was A LOT easier to get to the front for big events this year. Last year I literally skipped Thom Yorke to try to get as good seats for Gorillaz as possible and still was three times as far back as I was for Kanye AND Arcade Fire this year (almost the rail for both, and only started moving forward after the previous sets). It seemed generally more crowded at night however, so I almost want to attribute this to the fans just being a whole lot more stupid (and douchey; almost beat the shit out of a handful of assholes a few different occasions) in not even caring as much about seeing the artists in the first place.
some more arbitrary ones...
3. It seemed a lot darker at night than it did last year, did anyone else notice that? There also seemed to be light and sound issues at nearly every single set, though I heard others saying it was more coordinated this year...? I never really cared about it, save for the new Sahara lights not working on Friday night during Sasha's set (this really pissed me off, as I was excited to see them in effect for Sasha since he was the only EDM act I was going to see in the Sahara all weekend)
4. A lot more late appearances by artists and shortened sets than last year. I wouldn't have minded had the artists minded themselves, but most seemed nonchalant about it.
5. I didn't think I'd write this, but I missed the 15 dollar water bottles and the surplus of water stations from last year. It's shitty to think about how much trash we produced from all of those bottles when we could have just had the same system of last year and saved thousands of tons of plastic.
Here's some personal lists while I'm at it:
Biggest expectation exceeders:
1. Lauryn Hill
3. Crystal Castles (I don't even like them, but damn...)
4. Nas (whenever DM would not interfere)
Failed to meet my expectations:
1. Animal Collective
2. Cee Lo
3. The Strokes
4. Death From Above 1979
1. Arcade Fire
3. Lauryn Hill
4. The National
5. Kanye West (beginning was absolutely flawless but thought he kind of blew his load too early after the first three songs; I'm not familiar with most of the middle setlist too though so perhaps this was just my fault. Ended nicely though, and having Pusha T show up was MONEY)
6. Chemical Brothers
8. Crystal Castles
10. Joy Formidable
Thanks for letting me get all of this off my mind, had to document it!