The third and final day of Outside Lands 2018 had big shoes to fill following the previous two days. Festival-goers layered up and braved the cold to see BØRNS, Janelle Monáe, The Internet, Portugal. The Man, Chromeo, James Blake and Janet Jackson.
Kelela’s 2:00 pm set on the Twin Peaks stage featured two backup singers, a DJ and, of course, Kelela herself. She performed songs including “Frontline,” “Blue Light” and “Better” as the crowd swayed. The singer joked around with the audience in a conversational, light-hearted fashion. The 45-minute set closed with “Rewind,” and the strong dance beat had the crowd dancing rhythmically.
On the Lands End stage, BØRNS put on an exquisite performance. The singer performed songs from his newest album Blue Madonna, like “Second Night Of Summer” and “God Save Our Young Blood” as well as tracks from his 2015 album Dopamine, like “Holy Ghost” and “Dug My Heart.” The crowd sang along to a rock ‘n roll infused version of “10,000 Emerald Pools” and danced to “American Money.” Overall, the crowd’s energy was fairly low despite the singer’s charming and colorful performance. However, the audience’s excitement resurrected as BØRNS finished off the set with his hit, “Electric Love.” Every audience member sang every word and jumped as high as they could throughout the chorus.
Following BØRNS’ performance at Lands End was Janelle Monáe. Despite an admitted case of food poisoning, the singer put on a headliner-worthy performance. The act started with the band and dancers on stage as “Dirty Computer” played in the background. Following the intro, the singer emerged and performed “Crazy, Classic, Life.” Monáe danced alongside her dancers and smiled throughout the song, clearly enjoying performing. “Screwed” had everyone in the crowd cheering as Monáe rocked out on guitar while singing and her dancers sprayed the audience with water guns. During “Django Jane,” Monáe quickly changed into a regal outfit and sat on a throne in front of her sea of devoted fans. Everyone went crazy for every second of the act as Monáe went through older songs like “Q.U.E.E.N” and “Electric Lady” and Dirty Computer hits like “Pynk.” Every bit of her performance was planned and perfected. Monáe was effortlessly cool and rarely broke character but still gave a genuine, electrifying performance.
Meanwhile, fans of The Internet patiently awaited the band’s 5:05 pm set at the Twin Peaks stage. Unfortunately, their wait grew indefinitely longer as technical difficulties delayed the performance. Throughout the 30 minutes of waiting, many left the crowd, but plenty were patient enough to see the band’s shortened performance. The group came out from backstage somewhat unsure of how the performance would go but was eager to give it a try–as was the audience. The group kicked off the set with “Roll (Burbank Funk)” as Syd ran around the stage, hyping up the crowd. Whether or not it was due to the unplanned difficulties, the details of the performance were unplanned too–and it worked. Syd asked the audience what they wanted to hear next and then the band performed “Special Affair” in response. She requested that everyone sing along, and fans happily obliged. Before jumping into their next on the setlist, “Just Sayin/I Tried,” Syd led the crowd in chanting “you fucked up!” so they could sing along at the hook. After fan favorites “Come Over” and “Girl,” The Internet had already gone five minutes over their scheduled end time but were given the go-ahead to perform one more song–stretching their time to 30 minutes instead of the original 50. The band ended with “Get Away” and thanked the crowd. Despite losing nearly half of their allotted time, The Internet gave fans a fun and unforgettable experience.
Back at the Lands End stage, Portugal. The Man decided not to waste their time with stage banter and instead let a customized Beavis and Butt-Head cartoon introduce them. The heckling duo had the crowd laughing and cheering before the band even came to stage. Everyone rocked out and sang along to a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall.” Of course, the band performed many from their newest album Woodstock like “Number One,” “Noise Pollution” and “Feel It Still.” From 2013s Evil Friends, “Creep In A T-Shirt,” “Modern Jesus” and “Purple Yellow Red Blue” had fans headbanging and chanting along. Throughout the whole performance, trippy miscellaneous graphics danced on the screen behind them as well as the occasional wacky blurb or Malcolm X quote. Before the penultimate “Holy Roller [Hallelujah],” the screen read “Don’t worry, we are playing that song right after this,” drawing a laugh from the audience. “Feel It Still” had everyone in the general vicinity of the polo field dancing and singing along to one of the hottest hits of the past year. While festival-goers that were expecting a collection of songs as poppy as “Feel It Still” were definitely thrown for a loop at the band’s intense rock performance and explicit visuals, they were lucky enough to enjoy one of the best performances of the day.
As the sun set, James Blake fans huddled around in the cold by the Sutro stage. The singer began with “Life Round Here,” and the crowd went nuts. Blake’s silky vocals somehow sounded even better than in the studio recorded tracks. Slightly more electronic versions of “Limit To Your Love” and “Timeless” had the crowd dancing, and “Retrograde” drew in huge cheers every time Blake hummed. Lights flashed to the rhythm of the techno beats and illuminated the dancing crowd. The singer excited the audience with his newest “Don’t Miss It.” Despite the cold, the performance became more electrifying as the sun set. Dancing stage lights flooded the area around Sutro, and the audience ate up every second of Blake’s performance.
Closing out Day Three and the weekend, Janet Jackson drew in fans at the Lands End stage. Despite definitely having the smallest crowd of the three headliners, the crowd loved her. Jackson showed off her dance skills during songs like “When We Oooo”–doing way more dancing than singing throughout the performance. Multiple times, she casually walked down the barricades to high five, smile at her fans and blow kisses. The audience danced along to 20th century hits like “Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun),” “I Get Lonely” and “Any Time, Any Place.” An animated J. Cole rapped his part of “No Sleeep” on the big screen while Jackson danced along. “What About” had Jackson and her dancers acting out emotional, gut-wrenching scenes to the song about abuse. Jackson spent time showing off each of her dancers, giving them each some time in the spotlight for the crowd to fawn over their skills–which they did. The crowd went wild for classics “That’s The Way Love Goes” and, of course, “Scream” as the music video played Michael’s part and Janet yelled “let’s go, Mike!” to kick it off. Before leaving the stage, Jackson held up a heart with her hands telling the crowd “It’s all about love” as the crowd mirrored the hearts back at her.
Although San Francisco’s Karl The Fog was relentless on Day Three, fans were able to warm up by packing tightly near a stage or dancing from far away. Many festival-goers began heading out before 10:00 pm, saying goodbye to Ranger Dave on their way and anticipating the seven or eight-month wait until 2019’s lineup is announced.
File Photo: Pamela Lin