Coachella Day 1: Cee Lo gets unplugged – and not by choice
April 16th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

Coachella Day 1: Cee Lo gets unplugged – and not by choice

Day one of the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival got off to a rocky start for a couple of acts on the Main Stage. One left the stage by throwing in the towel - literally - and the other managed to pull off an impressive set, much to the surprise of the audience.

Cee Lo Green, who's been all over the airwaves recently in his latest incarnation of "The Lady Killer," was 30 minutes late for his late afternoon set. The desert sun was still blazing at 5:20 pm when he finally made his appearance, and the Atlanta-based R&B/pop singer wasted no time in complaining about his daytime slot. He played five songs - including the Gnarls Barkley hit, "Crazy" and what he likes to call "the adult version" of his Grammy-nominated single, "F*** You."

His set was scheduled to end at 5:40 pm. At 5:44 - just as he was apologizing to the crowd for being late, saying it wasn't his fault because his plane had just landed - the audio to his microphone was abruptly cut. The big screens on either side of the stage showed Cee Lo continuing to talk, and his band continuing to play, yet no sound was coming out of the speakers. Finally, he put a white towel on top of his bald head, walked off stage, and threw the towel to the ground - never to be seen again by Friday's Coachella audience.

A spokeswoman for the festival has not responded to CNN's requests for an explanation, and Cee Lo's reps have not offered a statement, either. Were his comments being censored, or was it simply an issue of an artist running over his allotted time? If it's the latter, this wouldn't be the first time Coachella organizers have pulled the plug on acts who were late. In 2003, The Libertines - featuring British bad boy Pete Doherty - found themselves unceremoniously unplugged after three songs when they got a tardy start.

We understand the need to keep things on schedule when multiple acts are in rotation during the course of the day, but get this - after they cleared Cee Lo off the stage to make way for Lauryn Hill, she was 20 minutes late! Yet the former Fugees star was allowed to finish her set - apparently with the blessing of the festival - despite running 10 minutes past her allotted time.

Hill - who's been on the comeback trail after a self-imposed exile from the music industry - rushed on stage in a striped tent dress and black hat, after her 13-piece band had been in place and stalling for time. Most festivalgoers were supportive, yet a bit wary, given her reputation for unpredictable behavior. A few fans wondered if Miss Lauryn Hill would be the 2011 version of last year's Sly Stone debaucle, where the famously erratic Rock and Roll Hall of Famer missed his set, then showed up late to his rescheduled performance. He then proceeded to fall asleep at his keyboard, before disappearing without explanation in the middle of his show.

But Hill proved to be one of the surprise highlights of Friday's line-up. After working through a frustrating round of feedback from her microphone, the 35-year-old R&B star took command of the stage, singing with a strength and intensity that demonstrated why her 1998 debut solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," earned her five Grammys and made her a leading force in popular music. At Coachella, she performed two Fugees songs, covered Bob Marley and ended with a sing-along of her best-known tune, "Doo Wop (That Thing)."

As she left the stage to cheers, Hill earnestly told the crowd, "We love you. We gotta do this more often."

Other Main Stage acts were also crowd-pleasers. Ohio blues duo, the Black Keys, played a winsome, no-frills set. They were followed by their friends, Kings of Leon, who headlined the night with a confidence that only comes from packing large venues on a nightly basis. This was the Kings' first concert since drummer Nathan Followill injured his arm, forcing the quartet to cancel a month's worth of performances.

At the Grammys in February, he told CNN, "I tore my bicep and my labrum in the old gymnasium. We're out for a little while, but Coachella - can't wait for that."

Followill played Friday night's show with his arm in a harness, but certainly didn't hold back in attacking his drum kit. Kings of Leon pretty much split their set list between their 2008 album, "Only By the Night," and their current CD, "Come Around Sundown." In fact, the cover for "Come Around Sundown" - featuring a pair of palm trees - seemed to foreshadow their Coachella gig. As the last notes of "Black Thumbnail" reverberated on stage, dozen of palm trees swayed in the distance to the desert breeze.

soundoff (66 Responses)
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  6. sassie

    Cee Lo is going to be one of the judges on the new show The Voice starting April 26.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Feeniegal

    I'm glad I discovered CeeLo Green and "The Lady Killer" this year. I truly love that cd. I do not want to see any more live shows..for any artist..nothing but disappointments last five years.

    April 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. derek

    Cee lo's microphone was cut off. Someone finally figured out how to make this guy enjoyable!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. B lo me

    Look cee lo hasnt been entertaining since he left goodie mob he wasnt the lead with them

    April 18, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tif

    From past articles I have read about Ms. Lauryn Hill, she has a tendency to be late OFTEN! Hmmm... that is messed up that she did not get unplugged, but Cee-Lo did. IDK! SN: Cee-Lo and Ms. Lauryn Hill are electic. I love it. They make great music.

    April 18, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • paul

      No, they don't. Their music appeals to people with limited taste in music.

      April 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rebel Yell

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ceel lo, lauren hill? IT should no longer be called Coachella but better yet Yawn on the Lawn!
    This once cherished festival has turned into the cr*p fest of festivals overnight!

    April 18, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. B lo me

    @ B lo me: yo mama is so fat she uses a circus big top for a mini-skirt! yo daddy is so dumb he thought condoms was water balloons. das how you got here. DAMN! burned you again!

    April 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nate

    Kings of Leon played a concert in Austin on Tuesday, so how is this their first show since February? Or was it the drummer's first show back?

    April 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. toes

    yeah ! i just tooooted ! take a good deep breath ! niiiiiiiiiiiiiice and smelly !

    April 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cherub


    April 17, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  16. getabrain


    April 17, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  17. B lo me

    @ the fake b lo me does your mother know you're on blogs making gay jokes and slurs or is she already heart-broken b/c her baby-boy wears thongs

    April 17, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  18. B lo me

    I'm a panty-loving cross-dresser. ooh I'm a dirty girl!

    April 17, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  19. Who Who


    April 17, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  20. B lo me

    ooops, I just pooted! oh my goodness! I left a skidmark in my pretty pink panties. Boo Hoo!

    April 17, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  21. Mort

    Not enough Odd Future in this article. Free Earl. Swag

    April 17, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  22. @Midget Girl

    Did you mean t.w.a.t? It would make more sense..corn in the t w a t. But that sick that u as a woman would say Have you all gone

    April 17, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  23. Midget Girl - Corn in the T.w.a.t.h

    Never heard of this guy. I googled him and I don't know who he is or any of his songs. He is a big guy thou. He should of gotten there on time. I guess he thought he was too important and he wanted to make a grand entrance or something. That's something my aZz-h0le does pull.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  24. Bite Me

    They pulled the plug on him? what a shame! I guess they were fed up with his cRAP. I don't blame them one bit? Racism? No. Public Service to get rid of his pants-draggin azz!

    April 17, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  25. Tara

    @ Mike.. position not

    April 17, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  26. Cindy

    I like his music also. I can't believe some of these comments on here. Just plain nasty and hateful.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  27. will

    I LIKE THIS GUY! I love his music. Don't be a hater!

    April 17, 2011 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  28. battergrl

    Kx3-obviously this stands for "KKK". Please return to the rock that you've climbed from under. Also, don't forget to brush your "tooth" before you go to bed, redneck racist...

    April 17, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  29. getabrain


    April 17, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  30. Hungry Man

    All this talk about cornbread is not helping this hungry man. I bet it would taste good with a little stew chicken and some gavy just like how my mama used to do.

    April 17, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  31. Mike

    Roflmao!!! Thomas you are right about spell check not being able to pick up pone. PONE is the cornbread and is also used in cards. Is the player on the dealer's right side. PRONE is the lying postion. You got pone and prone mixed up but it just could have been a typo on your part. Thanks for the laugh though.

    April 17, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  32. Hungry Man

    It's raining cats and dogs here! I'm hungry

    April 17, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  33. Mastermind

    Why is it every time some thing happens to black people they make it a race issue? Do they really think that everyone is out to get them?

    April 17, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  34. Thomas

    Spell check won't have picked up prone because it is a word. Prone is a cornbread and the word is also used in cards. The dealer and the non-dealer (the prone).

    April 17, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  35. Trush

    Racist?? Isn't Lauren Hill black too??????

    April 17, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  36. Where is the talent?

    more crap for people to pay good money for, only to be disappointed. too many artists get popular for the wrong reasons. crap will always be crap. sometimes you have to alert the people they are wasting their money. feed the poor instead of supporting crappy artists who don'+ deserve your respect.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  37. YO


    April 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Johan

    What the heck is a Cee lo?

    April 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  39. keecka

    there could have been a number of factors that played into why the performance was cut short.
    why is it that certain people are quick to pull the racist card? ugh its 2011, grow up! racism is a joke and people need to see past the exterior! secondly music does not play a roll in the coruption of minds, its your parents fault! you cant blame someone who just happens to make a living by sharing their talents with the world. everyone just needs to start taking responsibility for their own actions and stop being so quick to point a finger.

    April 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Beautiful Vixen

    Lmao!! I meant p o r n. Typing from my phone.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  41. l

    @Beautiful Vixen..
    What is "watching pone"?
    Is "pone" something that needs to be watched? Should a security guard be hired to watch "pone"?
    Spellcheck. Look into it.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  42. L.A. Lakers (fakers) biggest hater

    Maybe he got unplugged is because his music sucks! like snow at the beach!

    April 16, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Beautiful Vixen

    @Christren, you are a dumb a-$$. Because people listens to Rock and Roll, you think that makes them a bad person. Think before you speak because you look like a fool. Do you walk on water? If these blogs/comments offends you, why do you come on here and read them instead of picking up your bible? You come on here to throw your hate and you think that makes you better than us. You are as much a sinner as anyone else that walks this earth. You come on here throwing your stones but you are the type that would be sleeping with your bestfriend's spouse, watching pone, drinking, gossping, etc..(get the point)?

    April 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • l8kseid

      @ Beautiful Vixen

      See pr0nto's above response to a similar comment like yours:


      April 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Bri

    I just want to know why they cut the audio on cee-lo, who was 30 minutes late but allowed lauren hill to finish her set after she was 20 minutes late if it was about time?

    April 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  45. T

    the explanation for the Cee Lo incident is simple: The Audio went out. Cochella pressures the lowest of low bigs on their support packages. This is do know first hand. Things are 100X more likely to go wrong when the host cheaps out on those things and waits until the last minute.

    I dont blame him for stepping off. He went over his time as it was.

    It a shame the artist is being blamed by the media for what was probably poor planning.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |

    These pop and hiphop acts think they are above everybody. if cee-lo caught a plane the night before he wouldnt have had that problem. if ur scheduled to perform at a festival be sure to be at the festival hours before your set. I would have cut the plug on him and any other artist thats late.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Whiz1

    I guess Cee Lo gave the organizers a big "F You"...LOL

    April 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Larry

    As far as being from Atlanta, all I have to say is Coachella is obviously against Southern artists in general.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Mike

    CNN, It must have been because of RACISM that they pulled the plug on Cee Lo, right? I'm anxiously awaiting your next article confirming that it WAS because of racism.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  50. B lo me

    Maybe THE BIG Nb had a point the racist comment is gone. Ce lo was beter wih goodie mob

    April 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  51. snj

    Ms.Hill and Cee-Lo! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |

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