Desert Trip’n in Indio: Event Recap of Desert Trip Weekend 1

Desert Trip Panorama

desert-trip-676x386It’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.

img_0432Day 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.

Paul McCartney and Neil Young perform during the first weekend of the 'Desert Trip' music festival held at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, California, USA. Pictured: Paul McCartney and Neil Young Ref: SPL1370400 081016 Picture by: Smallpix / Splash News Splash News and Pictures Los Angeles: 310-821-2666 New York: 212-619-2666 London: 870-934-2666

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!