The clouds had just started to surround Randall’s Island when HAIM hit the stage in a fist-pumping frenzy.
There were signs the rain was coming: Mac Miller began the Prince tributes earlier in the day with a passionate cover of “Purple Rain,” and a vibrant mural of the artist’s considerable bone structure stood 15 feet high along a main walkway. He was flanked by The Thin White Duke.
Still, the rain had held off until the sun was already low in the sky. But if there was one band at this year’s Governors Ball that could truly call forth the spirit of The Purple One, it was HAIM. They are some of the many working artists inspired by Prince’s legacy—the sisters Haim are still ripping guitar solos and playing the hell out of their instruments, wringing excellent heartfelt songs out of pop structure.
So when Este Haim mentioned their next song had doubled as “therapy” in recent months, a responsive rumbling from the storm clouds was both eerie and oddly appropriate. And when the band launched into the first euphoric chords of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” the first thick raindrops started to fall.
Este’s voice quavered with emotion at every chorus, and the cover was flawless. The performance infected its surroundings, with what I can’t say. But regardless of your belief system, something supernatural happened on that Gov Ball stage. The sisters played like a band possessed, and the rain responded with pea-sized drops that aimed for the eyes. HAIM roared through hits off 2013’s Days Are Gone that had a thousand hands flinging rain back into the sky. The energy peaked at “Forever.”
And best of all: there was new music. It’s been three long years since their last album, and new material has been regularly featured in their recent live sets. Two new tracks sounded especially sharp: “Give Me Just A Little of Your Love” and “Nothing’s Wrong.”
— Pusha Bi. (@BiancaEnRogue) June 4, 2016
— Pusha Bi. (@BiancaEnRogue) June 5, 2016
By the time HAIM’s set wrapped, the ground had started its slow march towards mud. The rain became overwhelming, and sent most of us towards the shuttle buses that would take us over the bridge, back into the city.
The concert’s third day was cancelled this morning. There was simply too much rain the night before, and more thunderstorms are supposed to hit by sunset. If this all happened because HAIM woke up Prince’s ghost with their incredible set, let me go on record: it was worth it.