30 Best Things We Saw at Coachella 2016: Weekend One

Rock reunions, desert dance parties and a Kristen Wiig cameo: the most memorable moments from Weekend One

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Best Performance Art: Sia
Photograph by Andy Keilen26/30

Best Performance Art: Sia

When the lights went up on Sia, topped by her signature outsized bow and black-and-white wig, it was clear this would not be a typical Coachella set. The Australian ballad queen appeared perched atop a gigantic billowy dress that soon began to ripple and flap as if it contained a monster. It did, of sorts: Maddie Ziegler, the pint-sized dancer capable of conveying such emotional extremes through movement that the 13-year-old has become the personification of Sia's id in a handful of music videos and, now, onstage. She wasn't alone, either. While our hostess stood stock still in the corner belting out powerhouse pop hits like "Big Girls Cry," "Chandelier" and "Diamonds" (which she wrote for Rihanna), small plays were acted out for each song starring the likes of Tig Notaro, Paul Dano and Kristen Wiig. Except, as the set progressed, there were more and more hints – small differences in motion, impossible camera angles, odd lighting – indicating that what played onscreen was recorded earlier despite its similarity to the action onstage. If that was disappointing at first – people screamed when it seemed Wiig was in their midst – in time, the possibility that it was dancers pretending to be actors added another layer of winking mystery to the proceedings, making for a magical reality that is, perhaps, all the more indicative of the internal workings of the artist. Or, you know, maybe she was just messing with us.

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