INDIO, CALIF (Reuters) - Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg resurrected late rapper Tupac Shakur as an onstage hologram singing hit songs and wowing crowds alongside other hip hop stars to close the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night.
The life-sized figure of Shakur, who died at age 25 in a 1996 shooting, appeared on stage with Snoop Dogg causing a lull to fall momentarily across thousands of people gathered to see the set. They couldn’t believe their eyes.
The Tupac hologram performed “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” with Snoop Dogg before dissipating into thin air, leaving the audience in awe, and somewhat unsettled, by the technology used to make the rapper reappear and perform.
Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg had plenty more surprises in store for their set, including appearances from rappers Eminem, who performed “I Need A Doctor,” “Forget About Dre” and “Till I Collapse” with Dr Dre, and 50 Cent, who rapped “In Da Club.”
Nate Dogg, who died last year aged 41, was remembered by Snoop and Dr. Dre through a montage of photographs and a performance of “Ain’t No Fun,” featuring Warren G and Kurupt, all of whom had worked with Nate Dogg over their careers.
Dre and Snoop also brought on rising hip hop stars such as Kendrick Lamar and Wiz Khalifa, who came on stage to sing “Young, Wild & Free.”
The Coachella closer came after a hot list of acts performed in the sunshine during Sunday, finally allowing festival-goers to party in warmth after cool desert weather blanketed the event from its outset on Friday.
Earlier on Sunday, Florence + The Machine returned to Coachella with lead singer Florence Welch, dressed in a blue velvet unitard with a cape, dancing around the stage and singing hits such as “Cosmic Love,” “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” and “Dog Days Are Over.”
Australian singer Gotye’s show proved to be a hot ticket as crowds overflowed from Coachella’s Mojave tent at sunset.
The singer’s current hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” became a popular anthem across the weekend as numerous DJs including Alesso played their own remixes to the break-up song, but audiences were finally able to see the original version as Gotye and Kimbra reunited on stage while the crowd erupted into a raucous sing-a-long.
English singer and producer Calvin Harris took over the Sahara dance tent and was joined by surprise guest Rihanna, who joined Harris to perform their chart-topping single “We Found Love” then jumped into the crowd to hug friend and fellow singer Katy Perry during the performance.
Tuxedo-clad Swedish rockers The Hives played the main stage, unveiling four new songs from upcoming album “Lex Hives.” Co-founder and guitarist Nicholaus Arson told Reuters ahead of the show that they were excited to play to the enthusiastic crowd.
“It’s always been a great place for us to play, and it’s always been crowds that are nuts the way we like them. It’s a place we’d always want to come back,” said Arson.
Newcomer Canadian artist The Weeknd played an eagerly anticipated set on the outdoor stage at sunset, playing hits such as “High For This” and “The Zone,” kicking off the start of his 13-date tour through big cities across North America.
Off site, the Coachella party scene saw celebrities and singers attend parties thrown by product makers such as Lacoste and Mulberry. Hot spots were Armani Exchange and T-Mobile’s Neon Carnival, a psychedelic-inspired event held in an airport hangar, attended by the likes of Usher, Gerard Butler, Paris Hilton and the “Glee” cast.
Elsewhere, the Belve Music Lounge, set on a private estate with picturesque California desert backdrops, saw intimate performances by Kat Graham and Theophilus London.
Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Tourtellotte