Sunday, April 29, 2007

Coachella: Day 2

Saturday was so much better than Friday. We learned from our mistakes, parking further away in Lot 5 near the exit instead of locking ourselves inside lot 1 for half the night. I was able to smuggle in even more snacks than before, and we avoided the sun by stacking recycling bins.

Jon inside our shade fort:

A few other secrets of Coachella:

--Find the backway into the port-a-john alley to avoid standing in long lines.

--Raid the recycle bins for empty water bottles. This year they gave you one free bottle for every 10 empties you turned in.

--Eat at the vegetarian Indian place. The food's fantastic.

--Bring a small flashlight for reading your stage guide at night.

We started the day with Fountains of Wayne who played a better than expected set. Regina Spektor was next. She's completely lovely and put on an excellent show.

My internet crush Sara was down from S.F. today for the festival. I don't think I spotted you, unless this is your back. She has your hair.

I stayed for Travis after, making the difficult decision to miss The New Pornographers on another stage. I hate it when two of my favorite bands are playing head to head. Travis was amazing though, so I think I made the right choice. They played all my favorite songs, and did them brilliantly. One of the best performances of the festival so far.

Then it was choosing time again, as Kings of Leon were playing against The Decemberists. I went with Decemberists, but this time I think I choose poorly. They are such amazing musicians and Colin's voice is always great, but their song selection was very weak. The show could have been so much better. I almost let them off the hook because they ended with a terrific version of The Mariner's Revenge Song.

Two things I've noticed an abundance of at Coachella: Bush haters and Pot Smokers. This guys is killing two birds with one stone for me:

I'll bet is sucks having a picture of yourself smoking weed on the internet, where it will stay for ever and ever. He better pray his future prosecuting attorney doesn't have a crack team of researchers at their disposal.

Back to the main stage where The Arcade Fire put on a solid show. We grabbed that really good Indian food after and then watched part of Blonde Redhead. Their music is better suited for solo listening on your iPod.

The big headliner of the night was Red Hot Chili Peppers. They were in top form tonight both musically and vocally. Really enjoyed their stage show, even if I was way in the back watching mostly on the video screens. Flip flops and giant crowds of drunk people don't mix.

This couple was standing next to us during the show. They looked like friend's of my parents, and I assumed they were chaperoning for someone.

The music ended on a high note, with the lesser known Black Keys under the Mojave tent. Words fail me to describe how "enter highest praise adjective here" this band was. By far the best performance of the festival. Two guys, one on drums, the other on guitar, sounding like a full band of blues rocking musical wizards. They had the crowd mesmerized from start to finish. You HAVE to see this band live.

Hobbled back to the truck. My legs feel like they've been beaten with fence posts. Can't believe I have to endure one more day of standing. Stay tuned for Day 3, featuring Rage Against The Machine.

Coachella: Day 1

Or as I like to call it, Revenge of the Parking Lot... but we'll get to that later.

Coachella can be overwhelming to the senses. Hundreds of bands, tens of thousands of people, art displays, the sweet smell of pot, excruciating heat, and of course, these guys:

I started off the day with The Noisettes, which heated things up in the Mojave tent. I stood motionless watching the show in the shade, but sweat was still dripping off my body from every pour. Good set.

I took a seat in the Gobi tent to watch part of the Comedians of Comedy show. The headliners, Patton Oswald and Brian Pusehn, were great. I was amazed at how many people turned out for this portion of the festival. Maybe it was a chance to sit in the shade.

I caught the first part of Tilly and the Wall.

They are a fun band to see live, and I wish I would have stayed longer instead of heading over to...

Of Montreal. A great band, but I feel they are better sounding on CD than live.

Back to Gobi for Amy Winehouse's show. Wow, she's a spunky little performer. Fantastic voice too.

Ran over to the Outdoor Theatre so I could get a good spot for Peaches. Watched the second half of Stephen Marley and Jr. Gong while I waited. They put on some killer reggae.

Peaches was likely the most spirited show of the day, to put it lightly. Ron Jeremy did the intro:

Jon left for the Jesus & Mary Chain show after two songs. I wanted to go with him, but since I had previously seen them at Lollapalooza, I decided to stay for the Peaches show. While I regretted missing Scarlett Johansson helping out with Just Like Honey, I at least got to see Jessica Alba watching Peaches from the side.

Wow - standing next to Jessica, Peaches looks like she got hit by a cement truck.

Here are a few pictures I snapped from the crowd. This band is not for everyone.

From there I checked out Peeping Tom who wasn't really doing it for me, so I wandered over to Brazilian Girls.

They weren't as good as I hoped either, so I caught up with Jon to watch Sonic Youth. The time I saw them at Lollapalooza was so much better than tonight. They played lesser known songs and went off into their trademark distortion jams.

We ended the night with Bjork, who is always entertaining, except that she played more of her recent stuff which I am less familiar with, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. We left before she ended, hoping to get a jump on the traffic.
Boy were we mistaken. It took 3 hours to leave the parking area. We moved half an row in two hours. It was a total nightmare. Bed sometime after 3:00 am.

Jon has a better camera and has taken some awesome photos. When he gets them uploaded, I'll post some on my blog. I mixed in a few shots from across the web above. If it's really clear and close up, odds are it's not my handiwork.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On my way to Coachella 2007

Flew out from SLC this morning to Ontario, CA, where I'll meet up with my friend Jon driving down from Bakersfield. We are both first timers to Coachella and have high expectations for the weekend.

I'm using Marriott points this trip for our hotel rooms. At the Residence Inn Ontario Airport, they upgraded me to a penthouse suite. It's no Wynn suite or anything, but still a lot nicer than a standard room. Thanks to my job, I earn a lot of Marriott points, which earned me Platinum status. I've noticed they treat you much nicer when you flash the platinum.

A few pics of the suite:

Checked in early and then changed into my running clothes. I had Googled a thrift store location and planned to run there and check it out. But first, I stopped by a Yoshinoya joint for some quick fuel. It's 1:00, and this was my first meal of the day. Yoshinoya is a Japanese fast food place that serves up cheap rice bowls in a delicious sauce. I got one with chicken and vegetables. I had slipped a credit card and $20 in my pocket for purchases.

I literally ate and ran--out the door and into the Rancho Cucamonga area. On the way, I passed a lady sitting at a bus top. She yelled out "What are you running from?", something people say when they are trying to be funny. She didn't wait for a response, following it up with "Pansy!"

I kept running without proffering a comeback. What was I supposed to do? Stop and kick her ass? Besides, she rides the bus. That's its own punishment.

I had a printed out map in my other pocket, and eventually found the store about 5 miles out: Assistance League Thrift Store.

I was a little embarrassed, since I was sweating profusely when I entered the store. I probably didn't smell too good either. I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but then I happened upon a mint condition vintage Adidas jacket.

Of course then I had to run back to the hotel with a bag in my hand. The sun was beating down and I was pretty tired when I got back. Showered and caught up on work e mails and a few calls. I’m never really completely off duty, especially tonight with 7 meetings going on.

The nice thing about Residence Inn’s is that in addition to the free breakfast, they now have a free social hour from 5-7pm where a light dinner and drinks are served. I was surprised to see wine and beer on tap included. I didn’t partake, but the gentleman around me were throwing them back like it was free. Oh wait, it was free.

I washed my salad and burritos down with some Dr. Pepper. I had a debate in my head for a minute about how I shouldn’t be drinking soda while training, but Dr. Pepper and his year’s of medical experience made a great case. I had no choice.

Back to the suite to watch game 3 of the Suns vs. Lakers. Jon arrives later tonight. It’s been a great beginning to the trip. Hoping it only gets better from here.