I’ve escaped from New York for the weekend to spent 72 hours in the middle of the desert with 150,000 hipsters.
My hotel wifi is nearly non-existent, so the scores of poorly shot performance videos will have to wait until Monday. And sitting in a dark hotel room seems like a shame when its 10,000 degrees outside and there’s a hotel pool, so I’ll be brief:
After a 430 cab to JFK, a 6am flight to Phoenix, 2 hours nearly comatose in the Phoenix airport (but free wifi – the first time I’ve ever experienced that in an airport), and another flight to Burbank… I was on the very travelled road to the desert, with the usual signs of Americana that never fail to amaze me (the photo was taken from a moving car, so excuse the palm tree – but I figure you can make sense of it despite):
We didn’t make it to the Coachella grounds until 6pm or so, which was still enough for a rushed itinerary of Franz Ferdinand (who put on a fun, energetic and non-pretentious show), Conor Oberst (who was fantastic, but I couldn’t help but wish he played a few Bright Eyes songs), Morrissey (who, frankly, was a huge disappointment – his new stuff was performed well but I was really in it for The Smiths, which he did a few rounds of but seemed totally unenthusiastic as if he was being forced into it or something. that and he kept bitching about the smell of meat in the audience – “that better be human flesh” – to which I gladly held my hamburger up in the air in solidarity with the people who spent hundreds of dollars getting there and another $20 on their shitty food, and did not want to be consistently bitched at by Morrissey for enjoying their chosen culinary identity), Girl Talk (which was PACKED with half-naked eighteen year olds, and though full of an incredible energy made me feel a) old and b) nostalgic for seeing GT in a smaller space that was more fitting for that energy), and Paul McCartney (who, like Morrissey, played a bit too much of his new stuff – especially since there were rumors it was to be a Beatles set… however, watching him sing Hey Jude with 100,000 people either dancing or crying or holding hands while fireworks went off into the desert sky is pretty much as good as it gets).
The highlight of the night – “Hey Jude” aside – was Leonard Cohen, who attracted the biggest crowd other than McCartney and gave me intense national pride as I watched the coolest 74 year old, the coolest Canadian, and perhaps coolest man alive belt out a fervent, awe-inspiring set that had people around me that had basically just shown up for “Hallelujah” whispering to each other about how fucking amazing it was. It was 75 minutes of chills, despite the 90 degree weather.
Cell reception was the lowlight of the night because it led me to lose my friends and spent 75% of the night wandering around solo, which ended up not really being so bad as it led me to have this totally me & the music kind of spirit and I was totally in control of who I saw/how I saw it.
Anyway.. I’m off to enjoy the heat.. but here’s five photos I could upload before getting too frustrated with the desert wifi: