Sunday in Golden Gate Park felt like a gentle hangover from Friday and Saturday's mayhem. Where was everybody? Maybe home in bed, because the fields were very, very sparse. For those who attended, it was a relaxing, cool-down day.
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1. Elton John
Elton John is an artist with a deep, deep catalog of hits, and nearly every song he started Sunday night garnered a knowing cheer from the crowd. Even if you don't think you know his stuff, you do. Outside Lands has booked these big "legacy" headliners in the past few years -- Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty -- and it's a good move, especially on closing night, and especially with someone who can get a giant field singing along to "Honky Cat," "Benny and the Jets," "Candle in the Wind" and so, so many others; you already essentially know the setlist and so does the rest of the world. Case in point would be the person standing next to me on Sunday, a graffiti artist who listens to rap music and has neck tattoos, and who surprised me throughout the set with lyrical prowess and obscure trivia about Elton John. He even sang harmonies on "Tiny Dancer"! Elton John is that universal. (Also: shout out to the fan who brought a Buzz Lightyear Mylar balloon and released it into the sky during "Rocket Man.")
2. Sexual Chocolate
In the late '80s, saxophonist Karl Denson appeared in Eddie Murphy's classic comedy Coming to America as a member of a hilarious fictional band called Sexual Chocolate. Denson's been asked about it from fans and interviewers, over and over, for years, never living it down. So what did he do Sunday? Assembled a band clad in powder-blue tuxedos and performed as Sexual Chocolate, that's what. While Donald Wressell from Guittard Chocolate crafted a semi-phallic sculpture to the side of the stage, lead vocalist Ziek McCarter -- fresh from a gig with his band Con Brio at Stern Grove, just hours before -- crooned Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All," Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby," and even the over-the-top theme to the Soul Glo commercial featured in the movie. McCarter actually hit those high notes! The whole thing was nuts.
3. Dan Deacon
Dan Deacon began his set by announcing he did mushrooms the night before, telling everyone to raise a hand to the sky, and then to imagine forcing out all their inhibitions. If you weren't on board with this plan, he said, “the guy that steals songs from Tom Petty is playing in the next field over.” Deacon's a perfect festival act who utilizes the crowd sometimes for gigantic organized dance parties -- as he did Sunday -- and sometimes for licking lollipops triggered to samples on his laptop, as he did Saturday. If you want to overthink the man, he manages to tie together the conceptualism of John Cage and the spastic electronics of Squarepusher to create a wholly life-affirming experience. If you want to dance your ass off, well, he's there for you, too. Watch his crowd go from zero to lit in 10 seconds flat here.