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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Coachella 2018: Five standout moments from the music festival - so far

Here's a look at some interesting moments that have taken place from the concert festival

The Coachella weekend isn't even over and yet plenty of people are talking about it. From a Destiny's Child reunion to an emotional performance of Call Out My Name by The Weeknd, here are just a few of the standout moments from this year's Coachella Music Festival.

Beyoncé reunites Destiny’s Child

Beyoncé returned spectacularly to the stage with a joyous, homecoming-themed party at the Coachella festival where she delighted fans with a rare reunion of her former trio Destiny's Child.

Before a sea of some 100,000 people in the southern California desert, the pop superstar headlined the premier global music festival to end a year-long hiatus from live music after she gave birth to twins.

Beyoncé showed no sign of slowing down after her maternity leave, singing and shaking her body with little break for two hours as she led around 100 backup dancers and musicians.

Her husband, rap mogul Jay Z, popped up on stage toward the end of her set to join in their song Déjà Vu. But he turned out to be only a preview of a less routine guest appearance.

With an audio recording of novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay We Should All Be Feminists allowing Beyoncé a moment to prepare, she re-emerged being elevated to the stage in an unmistakable silhouette of three figures.

Fellow Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Beyoncé for three of the trio's songs, including Say My Name. It was their first reunion since Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime show in 2013. She referred to her bandmates as her "sisters" — and was also joined on stage by her blood sister, Solange Knowles.

The Weeknd gets emotional during performance

Just two weeks after his surprise release of the six-track My Dear Melancholy, which became the shortest work to top the US albums chart in nearly a decade, The Weeknd delivered a well-received set of hits and new material.

My Dear Melancholy, — the comma deliberate, as if part of a confessional letter — shows a newfound introspection on the part of the 28-year-old R&B sensation, moving beyond the bravado of some of his early hits.

Clasping the microphone before the packed main stage audience, The Weeknd gently cried as he closed his new song Call Out My Name to an unadorned guitar, with some fans watching agape as the lights went down.

The song — which begins with "We found each other / I helped you out of a broken place" — has raised speculation that the Canadian singer is reflecting on his short-lived romance with pop star Selena Gomez, with whom he was spotted cuddling a year ago when they attended Coachella as fans.

Appeal for Earth

Fresh from an expansion of the grounds last year, the 2018 edition of Coachella brought in a new artisan food market and original artwork, including strikingly translucent baroque domes by Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldi.

French producer Jean-Michel Jarre made an appeal to the crowd about the environment, saying that Oxygene — his 1976 album that quickly became a foundational work of electronic music — amounted to a reflection on the climate.

"Tonight from the desert of Coachella, let's have a strong message to every world leader in their right mind — we want them to take care and protect the future of our planet," Jarre said.

Jarre has led some of the largest concerts in history, including a 1997 light show across Moscow, but had played little in the United States until last year.

Speaking to AFP before his set, Jarre said he was drawn to Coachella in part through his fascination with deserts and water scarcity.

"It's what I like in life — to try to explain a new thing, and being in a festival like this is a new thing," he said.

"You can't compare any festival in the world to Coachella. It's like a town in the middle of the desert, a town of music."

Jarre said that Coachella chief Paul Tollett had agreed to all of the artist's requests for coming to the festival, including extending the size of his stage.

Special guests popping up at Coachella

Surprise guests are a hallmark of Coachella. Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar — who headlined the festival last year — made two appearances on Friday, joining both singer SZA and fellow rapper Vince Staples.

Another major figure in rap — Tyler, the Creator — joined Kali Uchis, the Colombian-born singer who put on a well-received set of both English and Spanish pop.

Coachella also marked a return for Jamiroquai, the British group whose trippy brand of funk-pop brought them fame in the 1990s with tracks such as Cosmic Girl and Space Cowboy.

Playing its first show in the United States since 2005, Jamiroquai found an enthusiastic crowd of dancers who erupted in joy upon seeing someone else on stage as a special guest — rap great Snoop Dogg.

In Coachella debut, Japan megastars try anew to conquer US

More than 25 years after X Japan first attempted to conquer the US market, the metalheads are trying again — and recent events, at first glance, would not appear auspicious.

Yoshiki, the fiercely energetic drummer and principal songwriter of the rockers who were superstars in 1980s Japan, last year urgently underwent surgery on a neck severely damaged from years of headbanging.

But Yoshiki is doggedly persistent, and this weekend he brings X Japan to Coachella, the most famous US music festival — a prelude to the band's first studio album since 1996.

In perhaps the worst possible luck of the draw for an act playing the party in the California desert, X Japan took to a smaller stage on Saturday night at the same moment as headliner Beyoncé.

The set-time meant an unusually small crowd for the rockers who still enjoy a fanatical fan base at home and have played arenas in New York and London.

"I'm very excited but at the same time I'm wondering what kind of reaction we're going to get," Yoshiki Hayashi, who goes by only his first name, told AFP by telephone before the gig.