It’s 2:22pm and doors have officially opened to the first day of the Desert Trip. Middle-aged men run with their folding lawn chairs to secure a good spot before the legends take the stage. For many of 75,000 people in attendance, this is a dream come true and a rare opportunity to experience their favorite bands live.
“This is like the Halley’s Comet of Rock n Roll,” shared one overjoyed concert goer who flew 24 hours from South Africa to be in Indio, Ca for the weekend. “It’s something I never imagined happening, I mean maybe one or two of these bands playing together but The Who, Rolling Stones, & Sir Paul on the same lineup? Unreal.”
Desert Trip is the two-weekend epic rock festival created by Goldenvoice the promoter behind Coachella Arts & Music Festival, that features rock legends Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Who & Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters over the course of Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
As a 5 year Coachella veteran now, this was my first time in the desert in the fall, and this is a distinctively different experience. The crowd is much more, dare I say it, mature. The average person I spoke to was in the mid-50s, married, and needed assistance in setting up their wifi connection. The stage set-up was centralized, one stage, assigned seating, and way more security. One obviously difference was there were only 6 bands playing all weekend.
Day 1 featured the sounds of Bob Dylan & rock legends The Rolling Stones. Each group seemed one wrong move away from a broken hip yet they both surprising played great shows. Mick Jagger continued to make his moves and a few jokes welcoming the crowd to “the Palm Spring Retirement Home for British Musicians”
The Rolling Stone’s surprised us all with their cover of The Beatles “Come Together”. Mick Jagger & his legendary guitarist Keith Richards lead the crowd into the sing a long and everyone joined in unison “Come together… Right now… over me!!”
Day 2 Neil Young and The Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney graced the stage. They even partnered up for a 20-minute collaborative performance during Sir Paul’s set Saturday night. Paul McCartney blessed us with tributes to his late bandmates including John Lennon & to his late wife Linda. Shortly after he ignited the stage with fireworks, pyro, and lasers? Yes, Paul McCartney had lasers. It was all a lot to take in.
Baby boomers and millennials alike sang along and cheered as the encore persisted for a good 10 minutes.
Last but not least Day 3 gifted us The Who & Pink Floyd’s founder Roger Waters with a politically charged psychedelic close out performance. The Who rocked it. Roger Waters set called for the divestment of Israeli Troops in Palestine & he had a special message for Donald Trump.
Despite their ages, each band was met by a crowd with complete adoration and appreciation for the mastery, level of energy, and full delivery of their 3-hour sets. These bands have clearly exceeded the test of time & will live on to connect generations. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to experience first hand.
Desert Trip Weekend 2 starts up again this Friday. If you make it to Indio, I’ll be at the Activities Tent in the campgrounds, come say hi!