On the Goe: Take energy to Coachella
“Coachella! Make some noise!” DJ’s, front men and hype men riled up the booze-and drug-fueled 96-hour party, providing the soundtrack for this year’s first major summer music festival.
Party people from around the globe, including my five-person crew, descended on the Empire Polo Club, rolling on everything from Red Bull to God-knows-what for a four-day party featuring more than 140 bands.
Coachella is a music lover’s wet dream. Everywhere you look there are art and light installations tempting a lucid mind and drum and bass beats for literally miles.
In the colorful Sahara tent, where a blinding light show matters just as much as a massive beat and Molly is an atmospheric condition, international DJ superstar producer David Guetta debuted a new stage show specifically made for Coachella. It took the Saturday night dance party to the next level.
The packed crowd, myself included, completely lost its collective mind when Usher joined Guetta on stage to perform their mega hit “Without You.”
A$AP Rocky, whose entire album is basically about getting high, asked the Gobi audience if they had any “purple” to share, prompting a number of joints and even a small bag of cocaine to be thrown the rapper’s way.
Fellow marijuana aficionado Wiz Khalifa joined kings of the chronic, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, on the towering main stage to close out Coachella Weekend 1 in an epic cloud of smoke.
This full-on West Coast gangsta party featured special guest appearances from Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar and the ghost of Death Row legend Tupac Shakur. Through the magic of CGI and not hallucination, a 3D hologram ‘Pac joined Snoop for “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” Incredible. Swag.
The California desert can be a punishing place. Just ask the dehydrated ravers who stayed up for Swedish House Mafia’s pyrotechnic Friday night set. The morning after car camping site looked like a scene from a George A. Romero flick. Zombie drones shuffling in all directions.
It’s easy to get lost at Coachella. Campsite parties last well into the early morning hours and about the only way to tell time is by watching the shaved gorilla crowd. They’re out playing drinking games by lunchtime, which means it’s time to grab a Pink’s hotdog and head inside for music.
Past the entrance gates, Coachella is a five-stage music oasis. Music runs from 11 a.m. to well past midnight making for one epic weekend.
My personal favorite scenes included watching Jarvis Cocker of Pulp strut the main stage in a pair of mod boots with 3-inch heels and throwing green grapes at the audience.
The Head and the Heart provided some serious afternoon heat relief, playing its self-titled album note for note under the Mojave tent, and French duo Justice tested the limits of my eardrums with its huge 90,000-plus person electronica set.
Gary Clark Jr., who may single-handedly save guitar-based music, killed at the Gobi tent, and the Black Lips gave new meaning to the phrase rock out with your ... genitals out, with a frantic Mojave tent show.
Coachella is a massive assault on the senses. My legs are broken, I’m a sun-burned mess, and border-line delirious from trekking back and forth between stages to see 28 crazy shows.
I wouldn’t trade it for a thing though. Coachella was an incredible experience.
This weekend I will be reliving my memories through the Coachella YouTube channel, free from the threat of frat boy monsters, ecstasy wizards and Jamie Kennedy — yes, that Jamie Kennedy.
My campsite neighbor summed up the weekend best. I asked him who he was going in to see.
“It doesn’t matter.”
He’s right, with a party this big, it’s all good.