The Corona Capital 2023 left an indelible mark on the memories of many. In total – 3 days filled with music, emotional reminiscences, and unforgettable moments that will resonate with an entire generation. Despite some challenging scheduling conflicts on several concurrent major acts, we were able to fully enjoy this festival that brought back many memories. Undoubtedly, the emotion that struck us thee most was nostalgia.
With five stages, we were able to experience a lot of things over the three days. Starting on day 1, we enjoyed an excellent show with Mother Mother (indie-rock band from Canada) at the Corona Cero stage. On the main stage, Two Door Cinema Club performed—a band that has headlined the C.C. music festival in years past. It’s always amazing to see them on stage. Emotional songs including “What You Know” marked the peak moments of the night. One of the most painful scheduling conflicts on day 1 was Alvvays and Phoenix. So we split our time between both stages. We started at the Nivea stage with a bit of shoegaze-vibes (alt-rock with distorted vocals/guitar/effects) with Alvvays. The group played famous tracks like “Archie, Marry Me” and many other songs from their new album, Blue Rev. They also played other tunes including “Pharmacist” and “Very Online Guy.” And at the Vans stage with Phoenix, what a surprise – León Larregui (from Mex-rock band Zoé) came up on-stage to perform “Artifact” with the group.
In the evening, the Sweden-rock group, The Hives, delivered one of the most iconic shows from day 1. The lead singer (Pelle Almqvist) surprised all of us who had never seen them live by his witty canter to talk to the audience in Spanish and being unfazed throughout the set. Then, we became melancholic while listening to “Pulp”. We finished day 1 with another scheduling conflict – Arcade Fire and Hot Chip, two incredible live bands. We decided to see Arcade Fire, who delivered a dreamy setlist. They opened their performance with “Age of Anxiety II” and moved us with emotive songs of “Rebellion,” “Afterlife,” and “The Suburbs.” A very special moment was when they played “Reflektor” as the vocalist (Win Butler) looked up to the sky in remembrance of David Bowie. The night closed with everyone united, shouting “Wake Up” at the top of their lungs.
We started day 2 with Black Kids (an indie-rock group from Florida, USA) and then followed by Neil Frances (the LA-based alt-rock group) at the Viva Tent stage. The group surprised us with a very unusual show including a kissing booth that brightened everyone’s day. We had a moment at Kasabian with an excellent setlist and then returned to the Viva Tent for Kimbra. The night began with Parcels, a band we had never seen live before. Their distinctive sound made us dance through their entire repertoire, including their classic songs like “Tieduprightnow,” “Overnight,” and “Lightenup.” We couldn’t miss Metronomy and the party they always bring to a festival. Iconic songs like “The Bay,” “Reservoir,” and “The Look” echoed loudly on the Corona Cero stage. We caught the last minutes of Jungle’s setlist at the main stage, then rushed to the Vans stage for The Black Keys, who finished their setlist with ‘Lonely Boy’ while the stage was filled with dancing fans. The UK-rock group, Blur, closed out day two with a setlist that, in our humble opinion, started a bit rough, with noticeable timing issues, but song after song, they improved. Classic songs like “Coffee & TV” or “Girls & Boys” echoed throughout the Corona stage and thus making all the brit-pop lovers feel nostalgic. Their last three songs were emotionally overwhelming, starting with “Tender,” then “The Narcissist” from their new album, The Ballard of Darren, and ending on a high note with their popular hit, “The Universal.”
Day 3 began with us at the Corona Cero stage with The Happy Fits, a band that captivated us from their first song, featuring a very emotional and dynamic lead vocalist (Calvin Langman) engaging the audience. Then, we moved through Feist and DEHD. The night started with The Lumineers, who delivered a very emotional performance. We dashed over to the Viva Tent to enjoy Zhu, an incredible artist with a stage filled with good vibes. And we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see half of Oasis: Noel Gallagher and his band High Flying Birds, who closed their performance, moving us with the classic “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” The Vans stage felt too small for what The Chemical Brothers brought—a visual spectacle, in our opinion, the best visual show of the entire festival. They started with their classic “Go,” and followed by “Hey Boy, Hey Girl.” They also featured songs from their new album, For That Beautiful Feeling including “Feels Like I’m Dreaming” or old hits like “Swoon.” Last (but not least), we had another dilemma to our plans. Do we choose to see Pet Shop Boys or The Cure? So, after The Chemical Brothers, we had to rush to catch the last moments of Pet Shop Boys’ performance. And ended the night with The Cure, who gave us one of the best festival endings we’ve experienced – an everlasting 28-song setlist in their two-and-half hour set. Reminding us of the good old days with tunes of “Just Like Heaven,” “Friday I’m in Love,” and moving us with “Close to Me” and “Boys Don’t Cry” – this band does not disappoint.
Undoubtedly, highlights of this festival were the fantastic headliners and the emotionally-charged energy of the audience. Perhaps – better scheduling of the majority of the headliners is a better help in future years.
Photo Credits: David Brendan Hall & Debi Del Grande