Remembering Day Two of Outside Lands 2023: Give Lana Del Rey the Main Stage

Lana Del Rey deserves her flowers… and a larger area for her fans to congregate.

As this year’s OSL descended on its second day of musical festivities, the overall feeling remained: Live music is back, baby. And both the youths and more senior alike ultimately came out to see the day’s two most notable acts: Lana Del Rey and the Foo Fighters.

But before the two mused the present crowds — with both of course having overlapping sets — the day was a celebration of Gen Z, queerness, and BIPOC representation.

During the late-afternoon highlights were the 24-year-old hit maker behind “Heather,” Connan Gray; Eddie Zuko — the young Chicano singer/songwriter/producer from California’s Imperial Valley, who had been making music since he was 12 — celebrated his Mexican-American heritage through his alt pop-latin work; the San Francisco-formed band Geographer explored the depths and tonalities of what it means to be human from the new EP, Down and Out in the Garden of Earthly Delights.

But the pre-generation-cross-over-evening-set-time set that really blew our socks off was that from Bob The Drag Queen, who so eloquently and hilariously we’ve in stand-up comedy and stage banter into both hits of his own and other music staples inside Ru Paul’s Drag Race canon. And the fact that she managed to pull a social worker onto the stage to twerk made the set all the more worthwhile.

Around 8 p.m., the tens of thousands of Outside Land attendees had to make a difficult decision: Secure their place toward the front of the Twin Peaks stage for Lana Del Rey’s 8:40 p.m. stage time or catch the very start of the Foo Fighters’ nearly two-hour act at Lands End. It was truly a decision that could break friendships, end relationships, and create a cause of chaos among friend groups. It, too, was a determination that completely split the present humans at OSL into two groups.

Alas, it was an impossible debacle — a really soft choice, if you will. But ultimately, we’ve yearned to see Lana Del Rey coon since her breakthrough with Born This Way in 2011. And we had already experienced the Foo Fighters’ David Grohl’s chest-shaking voice once before… so to Twin Peaks it was.

Lana Del Rey started a bit later than planned, a not-all-too-shocking happening, but what instantly followed suit was a spellbinding, ethereal experience that transcended both space and time. Complete with a collection of talented backup dancers, she glided over the intriguing stage work that allowed her to play off her many eras, from Born to Die and Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. As she sang “Young and Beautiful,” the crowd erupted in applause and screams… and later a sing-along. The same sequins of events preceded nearly her entire setlist — which climaxed in a cathartic, timely, emotional live performance of “Summertime Sadness,” perhaps her most iconoclastic song to date.

As she belted out the last lyrical medley — “I got that summertime, summertime sadness/ Su-su-summertime, summertime sadness/ Got that summertime, summertime sadness” — we began walking back toward the closest exit, a feeble attempt to beat the sea of humans that would soon flood through it. And as we climbed a small hill, what can only be described as an endless ocean of warm bodies was seen spilling in all directions of Twin Peaks. (I’ve never, ever seen such a large crowd gather at the OSL stage area before.)

Lana Del Rey’s captivating aurora clearly knew no bounds — a stage presence that drew attention like moths to a light. Next time she comes to OSL, and here’s hoping there is another time, give the “Cola” singer the main stage. She deserves every inch of it.

The Best Thing You Can (Still) Eat from OSL Day Two: Johnny Doughnuts

Bob’s Donuts might be the OG place to grab no-frills, nostalgic fried dough, but Johnny Doughnuts is, by and large, the SF Bay Area touchstone for more artistic desserts. For OSL, they brought some of their longtime favorites (think raspberry chocolate chip cake donuts), as well as more left-of-center offerings.

We sink our teeth into a dulce de leche cake doughnut and brown-buttered donut… and suffice it to say we’ll be peaking its 2404 California Street location glass cases to find those flavors — very soon.

Feature image: Courtesy of Alive Coverage

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