We know that post-Coachella ramblings were so last week, but this was too good not to share. Good Old War put together a super epic (our new favorite adjective) journal from their time at Coachella. Read on...
It was a funny feeling arriving at Coachella. You drive through the desert, and in the distance you see a giant Ferris wheel and bizarre structures jutting out through the trees, and it’s as if you have reached a hidden wonderland in the middle of nowhere -- an oasis if you will. Then you get out of the van and realize a billion other people found this little oasis, and it’s about to jump off. My limited vocabulary will refer to this feeling as "excitement." Walking around, you are immediately bombarded with an intense heat, but are distracted away from the discomfort by sounds coming from all directions and strange people milling around. The vibe is cool, the air is hot. Most of my time was spent looking for friends and getting lost in the sea of people, walking by stages hearing music as if someone drove past you real slow with their stereo cranked up. People seemed to be winding down as the sun started to dip behind to mountains, but the minute the sun passed and the heat let up, the place seemed to explode. The second wind blew right through Coachella, and it was on again. Still looking for friends and trying to find my way was more difficult to say the least in the dark, but it was a different experience, intoxicating and pleasant, neon sculptures lit my path onwards toward oblivion.
Waking up at 7am in a tent in the sun in the desert is different. Somehow I was the first one up, so I emerged from our sauna of a tent and looked around at the remnants of what was clearly a wild night. I picked up an orange on the ground, peeled it and ate it under a canopy, putting the pieces together from the night that was. The fragments I can muster assure me that I had a good time. I take a shower, which consists of me dumping water on my face, and wait for the day to start.
On the second day I vowed to keep my bearings and know where I was located at all times. Although the promise I made to myself was broken several times throughout the course of the day, I managed to get around relatively easy and saw a bunch of great music. Here We Go Magic was a nice afternoon treat, Erykah Badu was beautiful and inspiring. Found the artist's area, with the help of BJ "Party Boy" Goodwin, where there was free beer. This put a smile on my face.
God knows I love paying 10 dollars for a Heineken, but something about the fact that I didn't have to made me glad. Call me crazy. Day 2 was fun because of the fact that I seemed to get my sea legs, and was almost used to the sun and chaos all around me. I could stand still and let the people pass me in all directions and it didn't cause confusion. It was like I was part of the mayhem, a member of the giant swarm of people looking for fun and great music. Almost every act on the main stage on Saturday was something I was looking forward to seeing, and the other stages were chock full of quality artists which made the schedule feel slightly overwhelming, but as I said, I was a part of the flock, moving effortlessly from stage to stage, getting lost a handful of times, but never for too long and usually because I got thirsty for a cold one and had to make my way to the beverages. Hydration is rule one in the desert. The day cruised along at a pleasant pace, the sun occasionally reminding me it was burning my skin until it snuck behind the mountains and I had nothing to keep me in check. By the time Animal Collective was on their third song I was almost passed out on the cool grass and faintly realized it was time to go to sleep to charge up for the show tomorrow. Sleep is not to be tampered with, so it was off to our "affordably hip" hotel room to prepare for legendary Day 3 of Coachella.
I woke up feeling well rested and ready to go. I walked outside and scoffed at the sun, almost challenging it to mess with us on this veritable occasion. One of the special things about this band is that we work so hard and are like a well-oiled machine, so it felt like nothing could stand in our way. The ride to Coachella was a quiet one, a slightly meditative vibe interrupted every so often with a quip or smart comment, just to keep it loose. Our set was at 11:30am so we had be there early, before anyone had even broken through the gates to get to the venue grounds and start to fill their heads and hearts with music.
We set up, had a nice sound-check and waited. Again, a quiet, contemplative feeling came over us, this time a bit more intense, with all of us going over what needed to be done and how to do it. Preparing our souls for the intense output that is playing music and giving your entire being to the moment. The calm before the storm. The time came and we were surprised by the turnout, seeing as it was before noon. Nothing gets you going quite like GOW fans and friends. It is a symbiotic relationship that grows stronger with every show and would die without one of the counterparts, one of the life forces. We all moved together, sang together, felt together. It was beautiful.
When it was over, we were all smiles, totally fulfilled, like eating the perfect meal. After the set, we were shuttled all over the grounds for press stuff that I won't bore you with, until we went to a ridiculous party off the grounds that reminded me of a Boogie Nights party. A pool overflowing with beautiful women, a dance floor full of beautiful women, a bar careening with - you guessed it - beautiful women. After a while we all picked our jaws up off the floor and remembered we were at a music festival with things to do. We left the party with my face against the windowpane, drinking in the last of the decadent sight before getting my head back in the game.
We got back to Coachella and made our way to the music. Caspa, The Strokes, Duran Duran, and RATATAT were all wonderful. Everyone seemed to gradually notice that the chaos was about to end in a little while and most people seemed to have a feeling of relief and dread at the fact that their insane weekend was about to end and life would go back to normal. People seem to need events like Coachella to lift them out of reality for a couple days and plant them in some alternate universe where time seems to lose all meaning and all you really have to do is be entertained. Punching the clock is irrelevant, schedules are only useful in figuring out priorities in who will give you the most pleasure, clothing was optional, it was like a confined space designated for freedom, a miniature world filled with people having fun, people who needed it and wouldn't go home without it. The sun set as it did the last two days and instead of it energizing people, it seemed to remind them that it was time to pack it up and return to Earth. We walked back and felt like champions, exhausted and worn-down but victorious, the tiny sparks of Coachella still flickering inside. Hopefully the bright ones will stay with us forever.