Even though the it was 106 degrees outside, Wesley and I tried to be stingy and stood in line for free water. This wasted our first 45 minutes. We decided from that point forward to spend a lot of money on food and drink to prevent heat stroke. We were still able to catch the Silversun Pickups and Arctic Monkeys. We also "found" a new hip hop artist named Busdriver, who put on an awesome, animated show. We passed on seeing Friday's headliner Bjork, to head home. We were too tired from being dehydrated and the stress of trying to navigate Empire Polo Fields. Plus, we knew we'd get our share of random, non-sensical lyrics from Regina Spektor the next day.
For Saturday, we had a game plan. We went to breakfast with my grandparents -- much more nutritional than the maple bars we had before Coachella the day prior. We left earlier in the day and packed more water bottles to fill when we got there. Friday was just a warm up (literally) anyway.
We saw Pharoahe Monch ("Simon says get the fuck up!") put on an awesome show, but left two songs through the Fountains of Wayne set. Those guys sucked. focuspoint was supposed to play at Coachella, but we had a scheduling conflict, so Fountains of Wayne had to step in. (Read with: sarcasm)
We saw Regina Spektor. My thoughts:
- She has a great voice, no doubt, but I really don't care for most of her music.
- She has a great rack. This comment was made by many, men and lesbians alike.
- Her band comes in at really random times. I don't know if the band was even necessary.
- Everything I said in my previous post about Regina Spektor's target audience was confirmed by the attendees of that show.
- Everything else I said about Regina Spektor in that post is entirely true, especially the fact that she shouldn't be played on 107.7 The End.
- The closing song, Samson, was the highlight of the set even though she had some technical difficulties.
After getting some food, Wesley and I sat in a shaded tent to get a break from the sun and saw the Nightwatchman (Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello's solo act). He basically sounded like Bob Dylan. The tent was packed. Loved it.
We decided to stay in the shade and heard the Decemberists from afar. Eh, they were OK. Finally the sun set and we walked over to see Ghostface Killah (of Wu-tang fame). In typical misogynistic rap fashion, he called a bunch of girls out of the audience to dance on stage during songs. It was a fun set.
After Ghostface Killah we headed over to catch the end of the Arcade Fire set, which was very impressive. That is one big band with a big sound. They had a large draw, partly because the Arcade Fire is very popular and partly because the Red Hot Chili Peppers were on after them.
The Chili Peppers kicked ass. I'm seen them be not so great before, but they really rose the occasion for this show. Flea was doing some gnarly stuff on bass. I was suprised by how few songs they played off of their new Stadium Arcadium double album, but still had a great time. We were exhausted after that set, went back to the condo and crashed.
Sunday was the BIG DAY. Wesley and I prepped like we had the day before. The day was much cooler at just 96 degrees, which helped a lot. We started the day off seeing Lupe Fiasco, who put on a lively set for a "two MCs and one DJ" set. We then headed to a tent to get out of the sun and see The Kooks. They were a typical poppy, English band. We got some food and then headed back over to the mainstage to see The Roots. I liked them better at the Showbox. They played WAY too many covers at Coachella. I felt like I was listening to a hip hop Top 40 house band. I will say that their new guitarist, Captain Kirk, is just stellar.
We dug in from there on to be in position for the Rage Against the Machine set, which was scheduled to start at 10:20. Mind you, The Roots ended their set at 6:00. The Blue Scholars always refer to "The Long March." This was "The Long Wait." We sacrificed seeing Lily Allen, Amos Lee and Damien Rice, but knew it'd be worth it.
Willie Nelson was up next. I was impressed by how active he was. I mean, he basically spoke through songs, but he was really working the guitar. The crowd adored him. How could you not?
After Willie, Crowded House came on. They're a VH1 "Where Are They Now?" kind of band from the 80's that had a few hits and were reuniting at Coachella. No one cared. This was evident by the crowd chanting for Rage during their set.
Wesley and I tried staying in the pit for Manu Chao, but it got too packed. I couldn't move my arms and couldn't see anything, including the stage. We decided to bail. This proved to be a smart move.
We were dumped out of the pit into a very nice spot, stage right about 35 yards back. This was an improvement from being nearly 100 yards back during the Chili Peppers set the previous night. Manu Chao won over the crowd, which took a break from chanting forRage during their set. Picture Ozomatli but more punk rock and minus the horns. Give them a extra points because their bassist plays the same bass I do.
FINALLY, Rage Against the Machine came on. Holy shit. You could feel the anticipation and energy surge through the crowd. Zach de la Rocha came on and said, "Good evening. We're Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California," and then the band launched into "Testify."
Total chaos ensued in the crowd -- we're talking about more than 60,000 going apeshit crazy. Remember me saying our desicion to leave the pit was a smart move? This was confirmed when people went running for their lives out of there during that first song. I cannot begin to explain the pandemonium. I took video, but you'd get motion sickness watching it. All of these dirty, sweaty people, who had been in that pit for hours and hours turned into a stampede and that shift of some 10,000+ slamming into each other was quite a sight -- and hurt.
After the first song, people settled into places where they felt more comfortable and safe, and, while the crowd didn't lose its enthusiasm, there were fewer instances of people getting pushed around and trampled.
Enough about the crowd. The set was amazing! Rage played:
- Bulls on Parade
- People of the Sun
- Bullet in the Head
- Down Rodeo
- Guerilla Radio
- Renegades of Funk
- Calm Like a Bomb
- Sleep Now in the Fire
- Wake Up
- Killing in the Name
"Wake Up" was a highlight.
And the show ended like this:
Pictures from Coachella are here.