The fabled San Francisco fog settled over Golden Gate Fields for the whole of Sunday as Day Three festival go-ers trickled in early afternoon and later entered by the masses for the final day’s shows. Unlike Friday which featured a spectacular from Paul McCartney and Saturday which featured the light and sound assault of Nine Inch Nails, Sunday featured everything from oldies Hall and Oates and Willie Nelson and Family to Trombone Shorty, Vampire Weekend and Matt and Kim, the day leading up to headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kaskade, promised a veritable feast for the Sunday crowds.
At the smaller Sutro stage early in the day, Camper Van Beethoven played for lawns covered with folks relaxing and enjoying the low- key indie rock with a reggae flavor. Opening with “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” the violin soothed while the guitars and drums jammed to an eccentric blend of ska, alt rock, and country. Lead singer David Lowery was having fun with the crowd, cracking jokes while promoting later shows and introducing their new drummer as “new to us and new to the drums as well.” The crowd grew as people clapped and danced along to “Northern California Girls” especially many of the women in the crowd, followed by the quirky “Take the Skinheads Bowling” before closing with the more nostalgic violin heavy “La Costa Perdida.”
One of the first bands to command the main stage Sunday was British indie rock group Foals, whose ripping riffs and thunderous drums made for an energetic set. Early in the set, “Miami” and “Olympic Always” got the crowd rocking. The highlight of the set came when during “Providence,” lead singer Yannis Philippakis fell onto the crowd who held him up, allowing him to vigorously finish his guitar solo while crowd surfing on his back. The hardcore “Spanish Sahara” escalated with intense bursts of percussion and screeching guitar while Phillippakis wailed on the mic before walking back into the crowd for extended jam “Red Socks Pugie.” They finished the set with popular “Two Steps, Twice,” which Phillippakis introduced as “from the bowels of Britain.” The hit had the whole crowd on their feet, clapping, dancing as Foals finished out the set with vigor.
Daryl Hall and John Oates were next to take the main stage, proving to be one of the highlights of the day. Pleasing the crowd with all their classics and grooving like it was 1980, they opened with “Out of Touch” followed by old time favorites “She’s Gone,” and “Maneater,” before finishing off with popular and catchy “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams Come True” in an encore.
Far on the other side of the park, Canadian turntablist A-Trak took to the Twin Peaks stage, playing remixes of popular rap jam “R.I.P.” by Young Jeezy and Two Chainz as well as crowd favorite remixes of Saturday’s bands Phoenix and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The eccentric and youthful remixes with a funky light show had hands in the air and viewers gyrating to the trap beats from open to close.
SoCal rockers Dawes are no strangers to Outside Lands. As front man Taylor Goldsmith mentioned during the show, the last time the foursome rocked Golden Gate Park they played the diminutive Panhandle stage; this year, they’d graduated to Sutro (where Willie Nelson would perform later in the afternoon). It was a fitting progression, as Dawes have truly come into their own as alt-country rock stars. Led by the charismatic Goldsmith, the band won over the crowd with their Laurel Canyon-esque tunes.
One of the buzziest acts in this year’s lineup, MS MR brought serious spunk to the Panhandle stage. From Lizzy Paplinger’s multicolored neon hair to Max Hershenow’s mid-set dance moves, everything about MS MR is lively and electric. Besides playing catchy songs from their own repertoire, they delivered a funky interpretation of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean.”
In their first appearance at Outside Lands since 2009, Matt and Kim acknowledged the much larger crowd and met this challenge by putting on an awesome show. Beginning each song with a short burst of a familiar tune to get the crowd going, from Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” to Dr. Dre and Snoop’s “The Next Episode” they pumped up the energy and got the crowd wild before everyone was dancing along to favorites “Cameras” and “Lessons Learned.” Both musicians had fun interacting with the crowd throughout the set, from Kim dancing on top of her drum set to breaking it down in a “booty dance” while being held up by the crowd. Matt encouraged crowd surfing from one end of the lawn to the top of the hill facing the stage which got many enthusiastic fans up in the air. The spirited real life couple finished out the set strong with pop hit “Daylight” which left the crowd invigorated before they rushed across the fields to catch the beginning of headliner Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Legendary rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers may have been the most highly anticipated headliner of the weekend and they played a set packed with hits including “Under the Bridge,” “Can’t Stop,” “Californication” and head slamming “Give It Away.” Bassist Flea grabbed the mic with bizarre interludes of banter throughout the set that kept things interesting. The group did their blazing (and trademark) cover of last year’s headliner Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Many were disappointed by the shows early close but nevertheless appreciated Anthony Kiedis and the rest of the well-versed rock star band’s vivid set full of funk, punk, and psychedelic jams.