Governors Ball – New York’s biggest music festival and one of the biggest in the country – is back for the weekend with an amazing lineup: headlines Kendrick Lamar, lizzo and Odesza, along with the most billed sets Ice Spice, Lil Nas X, Haim, Giveon, Central Cee and many more. Traditionally held on Randall’s Island, the festival made its debut at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens (near Citi Field Stadium) and as always, there was too much for any one person to bear, so we have a few. Here are the highlights – but certainly not all -.
Ice Spice Brings Signature ‘Calm Girl’ Energy with a Confident Turn
The 2023 Bronx-born debutant hit the GoPuff stage on Day 1 with something to prove. Although previously known for his relaxed stage presence, this one took a very different, more inspiring approach to the set: Instead of relying on loud backing tracks, he boldly played the scales of his hits and also looked more cohesive. background dancers contribute to a much more cohesive, confident and entertaining show. Later, Ice Spice made room for his new friend Sexyy Red, and the duo sang the viral hit “Poundtown 2” starring Nicki Minaj.
Lizzo Shines, Mixing Activism with Theater
Lizzo isn’t known for grace, and the start of the Gov Ball set was no exception: Dressed in a pink wig and metallic dress, she emerged from the bottom of the stage into a huge disco-like structure filled with blinding lights and twinkling lights. And among hits like “Truth Hurts” and “Special,” he wasted no time using his platform, commenting on the current wave of anti-LGBT laws, environmental issues, and more. “We should listen to our first nations, indigenous peoples, and water keepers, because they’re trying to make sure we have land to live on,” he said – a sadly timely comment, given that Gov Ball close to being postponed or canceled due to Canadian wildfire smoke engulfing New York earlier this week.
Lil Nas X Overcomes “Terrible Day” and Sound Issues
“Full and shrug” is a philosophy most performers adhere to, and Lil Nas X’s opening song “Call Me by Your Name” was tested early on set due to technical issues. He stopped the show and forced the production to restart the performance, and eventually said with characteristic, brutal transparency: “Honestly, I’m having a terrible day and it’s getting worse every day, but I’m doing it for you and we’ll show up.” She continued, but a few moments later she said, “I want to leave so badly right now,” but she struts across the stage as her dancers almost act as armor. The stark contrast between how she’s probably feeling and her impeccably executed performance is a jarring but entertaining one. provided performance.
Odesza Brings Party to Close Second Day
After two days of pop hits, indie waves and hip-hop, Odesza closed the 2nd day with a lively dance party filled with interpolations of popular songs, vibrating synths and a dazzling light show.
Kendrick Lamar Reveals Baby Keem on Career-Spanning Set
Kendrick Lamar, who is now on a continent-spanning festival tour after his blockbuster “High Steppers” ride last year, closed the festival Sunday night with a dazzling, career-long set. Songs like “Loyalty”, “Money Trees” and “High Power” generated the biggest response from the crowd, but the latest “Mr. Moral and Big Steppers” from their pre-“Good Kid, MAAD City” days. Even the set and festival had about five minutes of overhead. He took his cousin Baby Keem out for an extraordinary performance of “Family Ties” before ending with firecrackers and pyrotechnics.