Setlist History: Coachella 1999

One of the world’s most popular music festivals is only a week away. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival started in 1999 and quickly became a leader for music festivals all over the country. Before the festival began featuring a wide variety of genres and artists, the festival had a few of the hottest rock bands of its time over the course of two days. Now the line up features 100s of musicians and has TWO 3-DAY WEEKENDS out of the month of April.

In honor of Coachella month, let’s take a look at what it was like to have attended the very first Coachella in 1999. The location has always been at the Empire Polo Club in Indio since that very first festival 24 years ago. It was born on the tails of the failed Woodstock ’99. The intent of this new festival was to create a more “high comfort” festival experience that featured up and coming artists along with the bigger ones, the way Europe had already been doing for years. In those days, it was dubbed the “anti-woodstock” because they were focused on booking bands based on artistry rather than radio popularity.

Coachella 1999

The inaugural festival took place October 9-10 and the tickets for each day were a mere $50… I know, we are crying on the inside too. The two-day event saw headliners that we would still be ecstatic over if they were to repeat it today: Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Tool, Morrissey, Pavement, Moby, A Perfect Circle, Modest Mouse, Spiritualized, and Rage Against The Machine were all a part of Coachella history. Below we’ve listed some of the top acts from the year and even dug up their setlists from our archives to help you relive Coachella in its youth, and party like it’s 1999.


In 1999, Beck was already the hottest pop-rock musician of the decade. His setlist for this Coachella would make any current Beck fan gasp in amazement because it’s a dream setlist that will probably never be repeated. Although Beck is good about playing his classic hits, it’s not the same as being at a set where they were just HITS and not classics. He even played “Nobody’s Fault But My Own” off Mutations, a song he hasn’t played since 2005. Check it out the setlist below.

Beck Setlist


This English space rock band doesn't tour as much these days, but in the 1990s they were all over the map after Spacemen 3 disbanded and the co-frontmen started Spiritualized. Best known for their critically acclaimed album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, released two years prior to the fest, their set was dominated with songs from the album and even included a Spacemen 3 cover, a treat that not every set has.

Spiritualized Setlist


Morrissey playing at a festival can be hit or miss without the full support of his very dedicated cult following. But at Coachella 1999, Morrissey was in high spirits. He played three Smiths songs and a few fans even managed to make it onto the stage, (that could never happen at Coachella today, by the way.) He made sure to let his fans know several times over the course of the hour-set how much he loves them.

Morrissey Setlist

Rage Against The Machine

Rage were the headliners of the festival that year and although their setlist was shorter than usual, they still put on one hell of a show. They played mostly bangers like “Testify” and “Killing In The Name,” but they also played unreleased songs off their album The Battle of Los Angeles which was set to be released weeks after the festival in November 1999. They gave the crowd a special surprise toward the middle of the set when they performed “Know Your Enemy” with Tool, another headliner from that year.

Rage Against The Machine Setlist


I saw Pavement perform a reunion set at Coachella 2010, but if I had been old enough to catch them during their 1999 Coachella performance I would have been floating on cloud nine. The setlist wasn’t as stacked as their reunion show sets; it featured mostly songs from the very last album they put out as a band that same year, Terror Twilight. But they still managed to squeeze in tracks from all their other studio albums, except Slanted & Enchanted. They also threw in a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover… Of course.

Pavement Setlist


1999-era Moby is my favorite Moby. Coachella goers from this year got to hear some of his hottest tracks to date, “Porcelain” included. They also got to soak in the stars because at one point he made all the stage lights turn off to properly take in the atmosphere with the music. Classic Moby! Fun Fact: in an interview to Rolling Stone, Moby admitted that he never expected Coachella to work when he performed that year. Silly Richard.

Moby Setlist

If you’re attending Coachella this year, make sure to submit the setlists for any epic acts you’ll be catching to the site. Have fun, be safe, and happy ‘chelling.

[Editor's note: This article was first published in 2018]

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Last updated: 1 Dec 2023, 00:24 Etc/UTC