Set List Bonus: 2014 Life Is Beautiful Festival
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Andreas Hale
Those who descend upon Las Vegas usually expect to be wowed by elaborate casinos and the glitz and glamour of the legendary Strip. However, a rejuvenated downtown Las Vegas has been busy crafting its own unique culture identity apart from the traditional Sin City.
Enter the Life is Beautiful Festival, which was created to inspire individuals to "conquer their fears and chase their dreams." The second annual festival, held Oct. 24‒26, helped transform downtown Las Vegas — better known as "Old Vegas" — into a unique performance art piece with a sense of music culture that the city has rarely seen, with three days of 70-plus performances, world-class food and cooking demonstrations from some of the country's top chefs, invigorating public speakers, and breathtaking art displays.
With GRAMMY winners Kanye West, OutKast and Foo Fighters headlining Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively — in addition to a wide range of artists stretched across the festival's four performance stages — Life is Beautiful proved to not be your typical festival, thanks to an open layout that sprawled across 15 blocks of downtown Las Vegas. An estimated 30,000 attendees bounced around the festival each night, stopping to soak in the performances or indulge in some delicious food offerings. Hash House A Go Go's bacon-mashed potato burger and Garden Grill's BBQ pulled jackfruit tacos were just a few of the edible delights.
A roaming conga line dedicated to GRAMMY winner Lionel Richie traversed the landscape throughout the weekend, growing larger as festivalgoers joined the swelling train of party people who literally danced "All Night Long" during his set on Saturday night. Unique murals popped up on buildings throughout downtown and street art installations were scattered along the festival grounds, making for a more nuanced and cultured Vegas vibe. In addition, the festival also offered cooking demonstrations at a dedicated stage populated by top-tier chefs, who were sometimes joined by some of the festival's performers. Case in point, the Roots' drummer Questlove and Chef Donald Link taught us how to make chicken and dumplings.
And this was before some of the most anticipated performances kicked off.
Friday's tantalizing dish of performers included Phantogram, the Weeknd and Jenny Lewis, before Kanye West entertained the crowd with more than a decade of hits on the main stage, which sat across from a massive Ferris wheel that cost $5 to ride. It's always special to see what West has to offer. Rather than spring into one of his infamous concert rants between performances of "Black Skinhead" and "Runaway," he suggested that he was "happy" and couldn't wait to spend time with his daughter North West and wife Kim Kardashian, who was in town celebrating her birthday.
Saturday brought perhaps one of the finest strings of festival performances in recent memory as exceptional sets from the Roots, Fitz & The Tantrums, Richie, OK Go, TV On The Radio, DJ Mustard, and the Flaming Lips set the stage for OutKast. Witnessing Outkast's penultimate 2014 reunion tour performance offered a sense of nostalgia and highlighted an incredible weekend. The sight of André 3000 and Big Boi playfully rolling through their hits ("Elevators [Me & You]" "Ms. Jackson," "So Fresh, So Clean," "Hey Ya!," and "The Way You Move") and a few seldom performed album cuts ("Spaghetti Junction" and "Hootie Hoo") sent the crowd home knowing that they just witnessed history in the making.
Sunday found Mayer Hawthorne, A-Trak, Broken Bells, Little Dragon, and Arctic Monkeys gracing the stage before festival closers Foo Fighters lit up the desert sky with a collection of hits that spread across two wonderfully paced hours. Tasked with entertaining festivalgoers who perhaps were already exhausted by three days of heat and performances, the GRAMMY-winning band sprang into action and electrified the crowd with a medley of hits, sprinkled with covers of the Rolling Stones ("Miss You"), Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers ("Breakdown") and Queen/David Bowie ("Under Pressure"). By the time their set closed with "Everlong," it was evident that the Life is Beautiful Festival is likely here to stay and will help cement Las Vegas as a preeminent festival destination.
(Andreas Hale is a former editor at BET.com and HipHopDX.com. His work has been featured on MTV,Vibe, XXL, Jay Z's Life+Times, Black Enterprise, Ozy, and more.)