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Lana Del Rey had a couple of heavily favored cameos during her Coachella performance, welcoming recent collaborators Jack Antonoff and Jon Batiste, both of whom will be fronting their own sets later in the weekend — but also one far less easily guessed guest, in the form of Billie Eilish, who turned up for a surprise pair of duets.

Taking to a terrace overlooking the massive stage, the duo first joined forces on Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes,” then turned their voices to “Video Games.” Both songs represent the first real breakout hits in these artists’ respective careers.

The two traded fangirl notes as their joint appearance came to a close. Enthused Del Rey about her singing partner: “That’s the voice of our generation, the voice of your generation, and i’m so fucking grateful she’s standing next to me right now singing my favorite song.”

Eilish retorted, “Get the fuck out of my face,” as they both fell into laughter.

“This is the reason for half you bitches’ existence — including mine!” Eilish further told the crowd. “Lana Del Rey, you guys, come on!”

The emergence of Eilish onto the stage followed a lengthy turn by Batiste as he and Del Rey recreated “Candy Necklace,” a song they worked up together for Del Rey’s most recent album, 2023’s “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” The song was nominated for best pop duo’group performance at the 2024 Grammys. For most of the tune, Batiste played piano while she kneeled atop the instrument, but after she stepped down toward the end, they began spontaneously trading vocal lines.

“Sometimes you need somebody else’s spirit to move with you, and that’s always going to be Jon Batiste,” said the headliner.

Following Eilish’s appearance, Del Rey was joined by her co-producer and co-writer of late, Antonoff, for a reading of “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me — but I Have It.” Or at least some version of her was joined by Antonoff: He was playing piano very definitely in the flesh, but she appeared as an oversized hologram, just for that one number. The track dates back to her “Normal Fucking Rockwell” album from 2019.

Her setlist included some live rarities, including opening with “Without You,” which fans say she has not performed since 2014, and her cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time,” which she hasn’t done since 2019 — possibly a nod to the fact that a contemporary iteration of Sublime is also booked for Coachella.

Del Rey didn’t need any of her guests to make an impression, most viewers on-site or watching via the YouTube livestream would agree. She had certainly one of the more memorable entrances and exits in Coachella history, riding in and out through the audience, via walled off sections splitting up the crowd, on the back of a motorcycle, sometimes standing and/or blowing kisses as she passed by. Her six dancers trailed her, also holding onto motorcycle drivers, in motorcades that lasted minutes.

The hour-and-a-half set was well received by the massive crowd, either in spite of or because of offering such different moods and musical fare than what had preceded it during the day. The live singing and instrumentation was just one obvious point of demarcation from some other Coachella artists seen throughout the day. Low on the highly aggro qualities emphasized by some other performers, the Del Rey show was all about gentle, if determined, feminine energy, with Del Rey and her female dancers and backup singers wearing dresses and singing softly or beauteously, while, of course, putting this low-key energy to use on the bold themes she’s famous for.

From the very first drone (or Steadicam) shots of her motorcades, on through to what almost counted as delicate pole dancing, to a succession of piano ballads in the second half of the set, her show was characterized by what might have been described a late-night vibe, even if it hadn’t started (on schedule) at 11:20 p.m. and lasted nearly till 1. That easygoing sense of summertime sadness is no easy thing to pull off in a climactic slot: Perhaps only Del Rey could turn in a headlining festival set this laid-back, or even sweet, and still utterly reassert herself as an alpha in the process.

Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish at Coachella



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