Best Impromptu Cover: Mavis Staples
Considering Mavis Staples' age (76) and accomplishments (a lifetime in the service of soul that includes soundtracking the civil rights movement and turning down Bob Dylan's hand in marriage) one doesn't expect the legend to concern herself with today's hits. And indeed as she fired up that rich, raspy growl to preach about peace and love over the airy R&B of Staple Singers' "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)," Mighty Mavis seemed beamed in from another era, hoop earrings swinging as she shook her finger at imaginary haters and raised an open palm to the sky. Then came a lithe cover of Talking Heads' gospel-funk-art-punk hybrid "Slippery People," but that too belongs to a different time. After, Staples addressed Coachella. "Shucks! We've been wondering what took y'all so long. We been around a looong time, but we finally made it. They put us in a tent, but they were nice enough to give us some chandeliers," she said, pointing at the crystal fixtures above. "Makes we wanna sing that song." And then she gave us a few bars of "Chandelier" by fellow festival guest Sia, going full operatic before cutting herself off with a big guffaw. "I better cut that out before that little girl [in the video] comes after me."