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My Backyard Coachella: Keith O'Brien

If you had the power to throw a backyard Coachella with five bands, who would you pick?
My Backyard Coachella: Keith O'Brien

A fun little experiment. If you had the power to throw a backyard Coachella with six bands, who would you pick? Your powers enable you to compel living artists to perform as best their current state of affairs enables them, but you can not raise the dead or heal the infirm. You can instantaneously solve the Gallagher Brothers contretemps, but you cannot summon Marvin Gaye from the afterlife. Here's my Backyard Coachella.

  1. R.E.M. We got the closest glimpse of this possibility recently. In what still reads like a fevered dream, Spin.com wrote the following sentence: "Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry made their first appearance together in 17 years at Michael Shannon and Jason Narducy's 'Murmur' tribute." While all members are alive and seemingly up to the challenge of reforming, Michael Stripe is the likely sticking point. He has seemingly moved on from R.E.M., but I am omnipotent to influence anyone still living, and they show up and do a tight 12-song set, including So. Central Rain, Hyena, and Leave.
  2. Radiohead. I have seen them a couple of times, throughout different tours, and they always deliver. This is another band for which there is no realistic siren to call them together, but I have been granted immense theoretical powers. I go easy on them and don't request Creep or anything else from The Bends except for Planet Telex. They are thankful for the number of A Moon Shaped Pool cuts I request.
  3. Eric B. and Rakim. The 50th hip-hop anniversary celebration last year was instructive about who still has it and who should hang up the mic. Eric B. still has it. Eric B. still should be president. They bring down the house by opening and closing with Juice (Know the Ledge).
  4. Tori Amos. I am not her favorite person by insisting the setlist only feature songs from her first four albums, but the crowd agrees with me, as the night darkens and the crescendo in Little Earthquakes stirs the crowd.
  5. Talking Heads. Like R.E.M. above, they undoubtedly can still perform if called into action. I temporarily heal whatever rift they had and get the band back together. The night ends magistically as David Byrne's "HAH" closes down an extended version of What a Day That Was.
  6. The Native Tongue Collective. I had to get creative here because of the two devastating losses suffered by the Tribe Called Question (Phife Dog) and De La Soul (Maseo). Bringing together the collective creates opportunities for others to carry the weight. Q-Tip and Plug 1 can sub in on each other's songs. Monie Love and Queen Latifa can do their hits. Even Busta Rhymes gets in the mix.