Phenomenal sets from Asian stars like Jackson Wang, NIKI, Rich Brian, aespa, CL, and 2NE1 proved to be major highlights from Coachella’s much awaited return.
After a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coachella music festival has finally made its way back to the Californian desert. Aside from the looks served, Coachella is first and foremost the place for must-see performances from a flurry of performers from around the world. With over dozens of performances happening every day, a lot goes on in Coachella.
This year, we were treated to Harry Styles’ stylish headlining set, which included a sparkly jumpsuit, new songs, and duets with Shania Twain and Lizzo (with matching faux fur coats). Billie Eilish also made history as the youngest person ever to headline the festival and had a few surprises up her sleeve such as doing an acoustic duet of Misery Business with Hayley Williams. Pablo Vittar made history as the first drag queen to ever perform at Coachella while Doja Cat continued to prove that she is one of the best performers of her generation.
But among all the performers, it was the Asian artists who really stood out to many with some of the best moments of the festival. Whether it be killer sets or history making performances, Coachella served as a much-deserved breakthrough moment for many Asian artists. Here are just some of the highlights.
K-POP REMAINS UNDEFEATED
With K-pop currently on its quest for global domination, its no surprise then that the explosive genre would find its way to Coachella. BLACKPINK gave the performance during their history-making set in 2019. And 2022 proved to be no exception.
As the baddest female, CL did not disappoint at all while performing her hits Spicy and Hello Bitches. But she truly decided to save the best for last and 2NE1 held a surprise reunion, an idea that reportedly came from CL herself. Together, they performed their 2011 smash hit I Am The Best. Our spirits ascended to the heavens above when we first saw this. It proved to be one of the best moments of weekend one and arguably the most talked about moment from the festival this year.
We the best pic.twitter.com/Ga9eJJHrsa— 88rising (@88rising) April 17, 2022
aespa then got everyone talking when it was revealed that they were performing at the festival for weekend 2. Already, the girl group got heads turning with their new looks, such as Karina’s purple hair and Ningning’s “natural” blonde look. And when they took to the stage, they truly shined. Starting things off with the much-appropriate aenergy, they went on to perform their hits Savage, Next Level, and Black Mamba. They even had time to perform a new unreleased song called Life Is Too Short. Despite being less then two years old, aespa killed it. Outfits were fire, stage presence was on-point, vocals were crisp, and mics were on. They served… let’s just say something that rhymes with blunt and the crowd ate it up.
While technically not a K-pop act, EPIC HIGH has swam in the same circles as many of their K-pop contemporaries in the past. And they also got to perform at the festival, sharing their K-R&B and hip-hop to the audience. The group actually is the first ever Korean group to have been invited back to Coachella.
And even though they weren’t at Coachella, we also want to give a shout out to BTS who also completed their historic run for their Las Vegas shows over weekend 1 of the festival. They even had time to announce that a new album was coming this June.
NIKI on the main stage #Coachella #HITCForever sings the iconic Indonesian song, “Sempurna – Andra & The Backbone”— Head in The Clouds Jakarta (@HITCJKT) April 17, 2022
ANOTHER HISTORY JUST MADE, THE FIRST INDONESIAN SONG EVER PERFORMED AT COACHELLA!!
While getting the chance to perform at Coachella is a dream for many artists, it feels even more special when that feat is accompanied by history-making participation. And for Coachella 2022, quite a few Asian artists managed to do just that.
Jackson Wang made history as the first-ever Chinese artist to perform at the Coachella main stage. His set was full of energy and left everyone hyped with his commanding stage presence. We already knew Jackson was a great performer and his Coachella set further solidified that.
NIKI became the first ever female Indonesian artist to perform at the famed festival. Backed by a 15-piece orchestra and the works, she didn’t skimp with her turn. And to commemorate the moment, NIKI performed a special cover of Sempurna by Andra & The Backbone and dedicated it to her parents. While her fellow 88Rising labelmate Rich Brian was the first solo Indonesian male to take center stage at Coachella. He even performed a new song called froyo during weekend 1.
HIKARU UTADA GRACES THE COACHELLA STAGE
UTADA HIKARU OPENED WITH SIMPLE AND CLEAN AT COACHELLA AHHHHH!!!!!! I CRIED ?? pic.twitter.com/FE4RCnM9er— ☆オードリーAudrey☆ (@aitaikimochi) April 17, 2022
Coachella has always had those surprise must-see moments and that was on display when J-pop queen Hikaru Utada performed at the festival. Serving as her very first festival performance, the musician gave everything that needed to be given. Most memorably, they got all the Kingdom Hearts fans in knots when they sang multiple songs from the series including the theme song to Kingdom Hearts 3, Simple And Clean. Hikaru also debuted a new song called T. Other Asian acts who came prepared to serve at Coachella include Rina Sawayama and Japanese Breakfast.
It’s not just the Filipinos in attendance that we had our eye on, but also the Filipinos who were able to perform at one of Coachella 2022’s many stages. This year, two Pinoy artists had the honor of being included in the lineup.
Beabadoobee made history as the youngest Filipina to perform at the festival and she took the stage on Sunday to share her brand of pop rock. It definitely is a sight to see a Filipina from Iloilo City live out her rockstar dreams on the Coachella stage. Manila-born Eyedress, also performed and on the same day as Bea, too.
88RISING PUT ON AN EXTRA-SPECIAL TALENT SHOW
Ever since their inception, 88rising has strived to champion the Asian artist in the global music scene. And in Coachella, the record label solidified themselves as a cultural force. Along with their artists, they made history as the first record label to receive an official performance slot at Coachella to showcase its artists. Entitled Heads In The Clouds Forever, the showcase felt more like a talent show of the uber talented as Warren Hue, MILLI, BIBI, NIKI, Rich Brian, Hikaru Utada, Jackson Wang, CL, and aespa took turns to wow the crowd during the 80-minute set.
Highlights from the set include include MILLI performing her breakthrough hit Mirror Mirror and being one of the first Thai acts to grace the festival, BIBI brining out rapper Yoon Mi-rae to perform The Weekend, NIKI and Rich Brian making history, Hikaru Utada singing Simple And Clean, that now-iconic 2NE1 reunion, and aespa being the third K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella. While he didn’t perform during the showcase, Joji did perform at the festival at a different timeslot. 88rising did that as Asian artists at Coachella proved once more of their place in the music industry.
Continue Reading: New Generation Of Music: 10 Filipino Artists On Our Radar