For those of you who haven’t ever been to Coachella you should give it some serious thought next year. Every year I have a group of friends that goes and every year I say “Maybe next time”. Well this year I said yes. I hadn’t even been to the Palm Springs area before this trip so I decided to make it a good one. Many of my friends went for the whole 3 day experience but as I was a newbie I thought I would take it easy and just attend one day of the concert.
So my girlfriend and I loaded up the car and jammed down the 10 East. We made a stop in Cabazon to hit up the outlets. After a few hours of walking around, some new shirts and some tired feet, we resumed our journey to our home for the weekend. We rented out a condo on one of the golf courses that we would be sharing with some friends arriving the next day. It amazes me that people would even rent out these condos to during this time. Coachella = rock concert = drugs/alcohol = bad decisions = broken stuff. But I guess in this economy money is money and an empty condo makes no money. I guess that’s why they also double the security deposit.
So we get into town and stock up on all the essentials (food, alcohol, water, etc.). As I said our friends were showing up the next day so we had a nice quiet dinner on the patio facing the 11th fairway of some golf course I will never play on. The next morning we wake up and have breakfast on the same patio. Egg scramble, fresh cantaloupe and mimosas. Nothing like getting your morning started off with a beverage.
Our friends are in route from LA so we decide to welcome them in style. We arranged a table with a welcome sign, a bowl of Chex mix and a bucket of Miller Lite. Everyone knows that Chex mix and Miller Lite means you have style. In the meantime we are just enjoying what the condo has to offer. I would go back and stay there just to hang out for a couple of days and have breakfast on the patio contemplating life. Our friends finally arrive and the Chex mix/beer welcome wagon is well received. Let the party begin. Some other friends who were staying close by decide to come over and hang out. So the party grows and the drinks are flowing. My girlfriend being the kind (see: drunk) hostess that she is decides to make shots for everyone. She incorporated Bacardi, beer, champagne, and some OJ left over from the mimosas. Sounds disgusting but was actually decent. Everyone else agrees and the drink is simply referred to as “The Coachella”. Everyone is in good spirits. We all believe that this is the greatest day on Earth and we will live forever.
We break camp after our impromptu house party. Some went back to rest. My group went to go check out a pool party before we would enter the actual concert. We arrive to the party and everything is great. Open bar, dj spinning tunes and the overall impression that everyone in attendance is there to have nothing less than a great time. Except the fact that I now realize my girlfriend is wasted. Well when that happens it is like dealing with a hungry and tired 3 year old with a poopy diaper. Nothing you can say or do will matter. So I sit her down and search for a non-alcoholic beverage to give her. She seems ok for now so we enjoy the party. We all decide it is time to leave after a few drinks so we begin to head to the concert. The tired 3 year old comes back again and is demanding to be taken back to the condo, is too hot, blah blah blah. My friends see that this can be a huge problem. It is at this moment that I begin to realize I won’t live forever and this may have been a horrible idea to even have come in the first place. But me being the steadfast soldier I am, I push on. I tell her she is going to have to suck it up and I didn’t come all this way to not enjoy it. It takes a little coaxing and prodding but we are on the move. My friends would later say I deserved “Man of the Year” for the patience I displayed. We finally make it through the dirt parking, the masses of people and the heat. And we are in!
Once inside it appears as an amusement park for adults. There are numerous stages of musical acts with performances at all times. There are funky art installations all around the grounds. Beer gardens, food vendors and just thousands and thousands of people to watch until your heart is content. We developed an area we referred to as “Home Base”. That way we had a place to meet up if we got separated or wanted to discuss battle plans. Some of us were eating and drinking. Others were off discovering the next big band. The sun was going down which made the desert a little more enjoyable. The girlfriend was coming around so that made me a little more enjoyable.
After eating a bit and getting some rest we started watching some acts. We went to Home Base. Discussed important stuff. Then went off for more exploring. As night fell upon us it seemed as if the environment changed. Not in a bad way but in a different way. Everything seemed more intense. The music. The people. Everything. A few friends and I wanted to go check out the Chemical Brothers for a bit. We left Home Base and wandered through the sea of people in the darkness or through what I was referring to as “Armageddon”. It seemed like we were walking through the set of “Mad Max”. There was a weird mash of music as the night air carried the notes from one stage to another. There was a giant metal dragon that was breathing fire. I was ready for Mel Gibson to descend from the Thunderdome at any moment with a chainsaw. To saw the least it was surreal. After bouncing around to electronic beats and laser lights we decided we had enough and went to meet with the rest of our friends. Then on the way back we saw a couple in the grass having sex underneath a blanket. In almost any other situation I would have been shocked. But instead I just looked at my friend and said “What time to the Killers come on?”.
The Killers were the final act we saw. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of theirs but they put on a great show. I also loved that their drummer looked just like Jeremy Piven. It was killing me. But I felt like it was the perfect group to end the day. There we were in the grass dancing around like it was our duty. Our duty to the band, to ourselves and to each other. Our duty to live forever.