Will they or won’t they? As the sun set on Saturday night, one question hung over the Coachella audience like a cliffhanger in an ’80s dramedy.
Would Daft Punk join Phoenix at the end of the latter’s headlining main stage set? And if so, would there be pyramids, robots, and lasers, or just two Frenchmen pumping their fists in promotion of their forthcoming record?
The evidence stacked up in favor of a cameo from the famed Parisian electronic duo, whose 2006 Coachella set was widely considered the match that sparked the current mania for electronic music. For one, both members of Daft Punk were reportedly in attendance. On Friday, the festival main stage buzzed over a trailer hyping the group’s new record. Plus, there’s a long history of bonhomie between the two groups, including a 2010 Daft Punk pop-up appearance at Phoenix’s Madison Square Garden show.
Instead, we got R. Kelly. The 46-year old Chicago R&B lothario materialized towards the end of Phoenix’s set to play an abbreviated three song medley of “Bump n’ Grind,” “Ignition (Remix),” and “I’m a Flirt,” wearing an unbuttoned black shirt, blue jeans, and what appeared to be a crown.
Suddenly, the Empire Polo grounds transformed from a meticulous 80s synth-pop party into a gyrating outdoor boudoir. To say it was weird was an understatement.