We wrap up our coverage from our writers, Bill & Laurie Fanelli, who are now sunburned, tired, and sore, all from a breathless, three day weekend in Indio, California’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival.
Sunday was by far the hottest day of the fest. After a night with Prince, we were so exhausted that we started the day off by sitting in the shade at the Gobi Tent, where Brett Dennen kicked off perfectly, creating morning fest music. His song writing style was similar to Mason Jennings and his vocals reminded us of Paolo Nutini, which isn’t too shabby. It was some good music to sit back and relax to, which was more than necessary at that point.
Linton Kwesi Johnson followed him up with a poetry reading, which focused on past racial injustices in the United Kingdom. Much like Dennen, the poetry reading was a nice change of pace.
One name that had been popping up since the schedule was released last week was Sean Penn, who we were definitely intrigued by, so we had to catch that, just in case Eddie Vedder showed up. Well, Sean Penn was really just that… Sean Penn. He was promoting his bio diesel bus trip down to New Orleans, but he was also a bit of a “Debbie Downer”. He got the crowd going by asking, “Who saw Prince last night?” and then somehow proceeded to blend that question with images of glaciers melting and baby’s dying because that is going on in the world at the same time. In all honesty, the crowd really didn’t know what to think about that. Everyone just kept hoping that Eddie Vedder would show up.
The next act we saw was Stars, a solid band, though one could detect a bit of a Morrissey influence in the vocals. Gogol Bordello took the Main Stage next, and you knew that we had to see them. They put on another high energy show and had the crowd jumping. Seeing Gogol Bordello at a fest is great, but if you can see them in your home town, that’s definitely the way to experience their show.
We had a set list from Bordello’s Chicago show, so we wanted to get that signed. While we were waiting we listened to Kid Sister and A-Trak. A-Trak spun for about 20 minutes, before Kid Sister hit the stage, warming the crowd up. Kid Sister came out like a champ and we’ll probably start to see her name more often. Also during this time we saw Elijah Wood outside the signing. We even snagged him away for a picture and ended up being a really nice guy.
After the run in with stardom, we headed back to the Main Stage for the end of My Morning Jacket. Despite being an incredibly talented band, for some reason we just didn’t get into their songs. In fact, we’ve probably seem them about four or five times now (at festivals, or as openers) and we keep trying to like it, but to no avail. But, that’s just us. Most of the people that we talked to were really excited about MMJ and its apparent that over the years they’ve picked up a lot more fans.
Finally, it was time for Roger Waters. Our expectations were low because I saw him about eight years ago and thought that the show was decent, but ultimately forgettable. Well, he’s certainly come a long way because his show was phenomenal. After opening with “Into the Flesh”, he continued to play Pink Floyd hits off of The Wall, Animals, and Wish You Were Here, along with his solo work. Waters was in top form and he had an incredible band to back him up, to most importantly cover the vocal duties that were once Gilmour’s.
The stage was amazing, featuring a giant screen with images of a depressed young man, allusions to war, and even a personalized comic strip. The props were unlike anything that we had ever seen. He had a floating astronaut, a giant hot air balloon shaped as a pig, with images of Uncle Sam holding butcher knives, that made its way through the crowd before finally being set free. All of this stage work and it was only set one!
Set two was the advertised Dark Side of the Moon, played in its entirety. It was flawless. They had surround sound set up, so you could hear different noises from all angles. Everything came to a clashing climax with “Eclipse”, complete with a giant prism, spewing rainbow lights that floated high off the stage, emulating the cover of the landmark album. And just when you thought that Waters was finished, they came out for an encore, closing with “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” and the hard hitting “Comfortably Numb”. The crowd erupted as fireworks shot off behind the stage. In a sentence there is only one way to describe it, really: It was amazing.
Unfortunately for us tired concertgoers, the night was far from over. Now the entire mob walked over to the Sahara tent to check out Justice. Because there wasn’t enough room for a single additional person to squeeze in the tent, the crowd was body to body, even outside of the tent. In all our festival experiences, we have never seen anything like it. We only stuck around for one track, because we just saw Justice here in Chicago and we both felt like their live show leaves something to be desired, though we are definitely in the minority because people loved it.
As a whole, this year was a fabulous Coachella and we will be posting our full coverage and photos tomorrow, but beforehand, we need to sleep for about eighteen hours. Good night!
Stay tuned for photos from Bill and Laurie Fanelli’s trip!