April 18, 2011

Coachella: Day 3. Celebrities…and Marley & Nas, Kanye, Ratatat, Duran Duran, National, Phantogram, Strokes. {Video, Photo}

Saw a bunch of celebs today, mostly in the VIP area. The dude with sideburns from Gossip Girl, I haven’t seen it but friends I was with were huge fans. He was a nice guy, I said hello. Lindsay Lohan, with mini-entourage. Met Jim Merlis, great publicity guy for Bonnaroo, Railroad Revival etc. The dude from OC with the sarcasm. Kirsten Dunst, in line next to me for lunch. Rosario Dawson, getting dinner. The lady from this movie. Lotsa other celebs I missed, ’cause I wasn’t looking for ’em…I’m not a People or US reader and don’t really care, my idols/heroes are “celebs” like Yvon Chouinard, President Obama, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Jaime Oliver, Robert Redford, Muhammad Yunus, folks making a happy diff in a world full of suffering.

Okay, starting with the morning.

We slept like the dead, Bobby my buddy and I. Read our guide to Coachella here, my Day 1 here, Day 2 here for background.

So, soooo tired. Woke up, felt a bit down re personal life stuff, and intimidated by another long day ahead. Showered hot, water in face, breathed deep, meditated outside and air dried, got my mind together, finished meditating inside as flies were out of control outside. We went off to work at Starbucks on wifi/laptops, phones for two hours, get coffee. Constant stream of hipster music party kids in and out…all talking about how tired they were, which made me feel better. Talked with a few of them, Bobby very social and wanting to connect, just the two of us at this big fest, though I had a few random friends here and Bobby did too. We finally drove over to Coachella around 2? 3? Parked his “Kit” Mercedes in VIP, your Boulder bicycle boy feeling in lap of luxury, walked dusty VIP trail right into Coachella, past fancy courtyard where VIPs hand, and after a few minutes on a flat square giant ottoman/couch went over to the VIP terrace where you can watch the music. Nas, Damien Marley were going at it, I think—great show, great meaningful political lyrics. At some point Bobby and I started walking all over, super hot and sunny, I’m in tank and shorts, pretty much as much clothes as you can handle at Coachella. Lots of swimsuits, boys and girls, and bare feet.

I don’t remember whole sequence, it’s 2 am at time of writing, but I saw Ratatat, that rare band I actually know ’cause they’re easy to work on my laptop to, no lyrics, and danced crazy and fun and outgoing and had a great time, even when I was tired I felt relaxed about being tired. Jumped up and down, friend guy of mine said “You jump high, man!” And, later, something like “This is best day of my life!” Music is only half the show—light show and your immediate crowd and emotions and in-the-momentness is the other half. Kept drinking tons of water. Stopped by this eco thing where folks could bike or whatever and power a DJ’s turntable and speakers….talked with them and will write them up at some length tomorrow on elephantjournal.com. Hope to support them in future—they were popular, made being “eco-responsible” fun and interactive, simple, engaging. At some point I went and bought some Sambazon acai and granola and banana in the VIP section, which is when I saw Kirsten Dunst, looking relaxed and human, as opposed to self-conscious and famous.

Had good time at The National, and had a few drinks (first drinks of festival) at beer garden—a teeny glass of overpriced wine and a sip or two of someone’s vodka. Folks smoking pot all over, but I’m not personal fan, so abstained as always…though of course have little moral problem with the stuff.

Got double espresso, ran into Bobby, which is amazing considering there’s 75,000 people in the place, just about as many as in all of Boulder, Colorado, where I’m from.

Duran Duran was fun, everyone really into ’em, but I didn’t stay too long. I’m just-too-young to have listened to ’em back in day, and didn’t really care that much though again the song or two I listened too were fun. Loved the Strokes, dancing with some random friends of friends, playing air guitar with some guys, posing for fun facebook photos, taking photos of other groups of people who asked me to take their photo, continued to be very open and social and folks were loving me…as opposed to first two days, when had fun but felt isolated, a bit virginal, in awe of the whole thing. Today I felt like myself, much more relaxed. Strokes were great, making fun of crowd, talking about flying in on their diamond-encrusted jet…sounded great, powerful, iconic, raw, new, old…they’re back.

Maybe I’m forgetting stuff, but Kanye was the final show.

Kanye West Concert at Coachella Festival, Indio, CA, USA
Setlist on April 17, 2011

H.A.M. (Intro)
Dark Fantasy (with Justin Vernon)
Jesus Walks
Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Hell of a Life
Monster (with Justin Vernon)
Flashing Lights
Good Life (With P.Y.T. Intro)
Love Lockdown (With Bulls Entrance Music Intro)
Say You Will
Swagger Like Us (Jay-Z cover)
Run This Town
We Will Rock You
Through The Wire
All Falls Down
Touch The Sky
Gold Digger
All of the Lights
Runaway (with Pusha T)
Lost in the World (with Justin Vernon)
Hey, Mama

Fireworks, no one else got those. Tons of dancers, ballerinas, stage sets, costume changes, Act One Act Two Act Three…the guy puts on an event, a spectacle, and every move he makes is awesome, he keeps the energy and the crowd, the only time he seemed off was when he wasn’t singing/performing, but talking about how he appreciated us loving him despite everyone being against him and some typical Kanye blahahahahbhbbla, which is still charismatic in its own cutely neurotic way. Most of the last part of the show I was alone…er, I was in the middle of a crowd of say 30,000, just packed. No idea how many, but packed.

Fun. It’s been years since I really took time off, had any fun, and it came back naturally and I just stepped on the shoulders of the energy and movements of the crowd, and felt so good. Kanye over, met our various friends and friends of friends at the ferris wheel, then Bobby and I walked through deserted huge vast grounds, the mandala dissolved as suddenly as it had arisen. I drove home to our dingy motel (which, however, has lovely advantage of being just 2 minutes away). On way we talked about delaying my flight, me wanting to just get home and back to work, Bobby not wanting to wake up super early and drive 3.5 hours, for some ungodly reason. Oh, yeah, we’re exhausted.

And, I should add, grateful to be alive beneath the light beams and moon and led balloons and ferris wheel and planes that hover over Coachella. It was perhaps, today, one of the best days and nights of my long, short, precious, heartbreaking life.


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