We thought all the best Coachella cameos and surprises would come Sunday — Eminem and Warren G with Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg and that persistent rumor that Madonna will show up for AVICII.
Boy were we wrong.
Here’s the highlight reel from Saturday:
– Usher surprised David Guetta fans, who were crammed into the tiny Sahara tent for a major dance session. The Grammy Award-winning R&B singer and the French DJ tore up the tent by playing part of their hit single, “Without You.”
– “I Try” singer Macy Gray (remember her?) joined AWOLNATION on the main stage during the indie pop band’s late afternoon set.
– Just when Kaiser Chiefs seemed to wind down their popular set on the main stage, singer Ricky Wilson sprinted down the center aisle and climbed the media tower, hamming it up by singing directly into the camera.
– Rapper Azealia Banks got the whole festival talking with her debut act that spurred comparisons to diva Nicki Minaj. Too bad Banks ended her 45-minute set about 20 minutes early, a move she later explained was because her DJ accidentally skipped ahead to the final track.
– Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover, who plays Troy on “Community”) rocked the main stage with his broken foot. Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar, who played Friday and will return Sunday with Dr. Dre, joined him briefly.
– Black Lips frontman Cole Alexander dropped his pants in an, um, intimate move with his guitar, the first nudity on stage this weekend.
Two rap artists just tore. it. up. on this beautiful Saturday in Indio.
Childish Gambino dominated the main Coachella stage with his foot in a walking cast — jumping right along with the crowd that ran to his stage for the 2:50 performance.
He brought up Danny Brown and Kendrick Lamar, who performed his own set Friday and will be back with Dr. Dre on Sunday.
Nearby, Azealia Banks — who worried all week via Twitter about her Coachella set — killed it with a confident, energetic set. She hasn’t even released an album yet, and it definitely ranked among the loudest festival applause yet.
The crowd especially loved her sample of “Valerie,” done in the style of Amy Winehouse, a quick clip that showed off her powerful but stylin’ pipes.
The only question here was why Banks ended her 45-minute set more than 20 minutes early. She definitely left us wanting more.
Concert-goers walk past Coachella's signature ferris wheel ride Friday. (Crystal Chatham, The Desert Sun)
The gates are opening any minute now, and the first Saturday of Coachella 2012 will be under way!
Here are today’s set times:
Juice 1 to 1:35 p.m.
We Are Augustines 1:45 to 2:25 p.m.
Childish Gambino 2:50 to 3:35 p.m.
AWOLNATION 4 to 4:45 p.m.
Kaiser Chiefs 5:10 to 6 p.m.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 6:30 to 7:20 p.m.
The Shins 8:10 to 9 p.m.
Bon Iver 9:30 to 10:20 p.m.
Radiohead 11:05 p.m.
DJP 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Suedehead 12:20 to 12:50 p.m.
We Were Promised Jetpacks 1:20 to 2:05 p.m.
Destroyer 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals 3:40 to 4:25 p.m.
tUnE-yArDs 4:50 to 5:35 p.m.
Andrew Bird 6:05 to 6:55 p.m.
Jeff Mangum 7:20 to 8:10 p.m.
Feist 8:40 to 9:30 p.m.
Miike Snow 10:10 to 11 p.m.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Spector 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.
The Vaccines 1:40 to 2:25 p.m.
Azealia Banks 2:50 to 3:35 p.m.
fIREHOSE 4 to 4:50 p.m.
Buzzcocks 5:15 to 6:05 p.m.
Laura Marling 6:30 to 7:20 p.m.
St. Vincent 7:45 to 8:35 p.m.
Flying Lotus 9 to 9:50 p.m.
SBTRKT 10:15 to 11:05 p.m.
A$AP Rocky 11:35 p.m.
Tijuana Panthers 11:25 to 11:55 a.m.
Keep Shelly in Athens 12:05 to 12:40 p.m.
Dragonette 1:05 to 1:50 p.m.
Black Lips 2:15 to 3 p.m.
The Big Pink 3:25 to 4:10 p.m.
The Head and the Heart 4:40 to 5:25 p.m.
Manchester Orchestra 5:55 to 6:45 p.m.
Squeeze 7:15 to 8:05 p.m.
Kasabian 8:35 to 9:25 p.m.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor 10 to 11 p.m.
Sub Focus 11:40 p.m.
Pure Filth Sound 11:25 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Destructo 12:25 to 1:15 p.m.
Mt Eden 1:25 to 2:15 p.m.
Borgore 2:30 to 3:20 p.m.
Jacques Lu Cont 3:35 to 4:30 p.m.
Zeds Dead 4:50 to 5:50 p.m.
Martin Solveig 6:10 to 7:10 p.m.
Sebastian Ingrosso 7:35 to 8:45 p.m.
David Guetta 9:15 to 10:35 p.m.
Kaskade 11:15 p.m.
• Coachella set times: Full list