Coachella | 04.25-04.27 | Indio, CA

Sunday :: 04.27

Stars :: Coachella 2008 by Dave Vann
We left the campground to relax in a salt-water pool in Indio, followed by drinks at the GQ lounge at the Viceroy in Palm Springs, before meeting my buddy at his dad's McMansion in La Quinta and another pool session. This is the other side of Coachella, and we embraced it for a day. People really drive all the way out to Palm Springs just to be seen or hang out at these parties and houses!

My friends thought we were nuts for trying to get to the festival before the sun went down, but I wanted to catch Stars. I missed 'em, so thank goodness for YouTube. We caught the end of Autolux, which was nice and watched as Gogol Bordello turned the freak knob to 11 and high-jacked the Main Stage the way that gypsy punks tend to do. Gogol Bordello's set last year was one of the most talked about of the weekend. I'm not sure any other band has gone from a small tent to the Main Stage in a year before. They showed why and then some, absolutely causing pandemonium on the polo fields.

Bob Dylan was playing on the PA – perfect set break music – as I started to move towards My Morning Jacket when Sean Penn walked out onto the stage to a smattering of applause. He was on the schedule for a 15-minute set and we all wondered what he was up to. A short acoustic set perhaps? A jam session with Into the Wild collaborator Eddie Vedder? It turned out to be none of those things, and the start of something even cooler that you'll read about soon right here on JamBase! In a nutshell, Penn asked for volunteers to ride to New Orleans with him for Jazz Fest to volunteer in the Lower 9th Ward, where people are still picking up their lives after Hurricane Katrina. He said he was leaving Monday morning and would have us back in ten days. All you need to know now is that I got on the bus.

M. Ward & Jim James (MMJ) :: Coachella 2008 by F. Reda
My Morning Jacket only had an hour-long set, and they burned through it with the energy of a headliner. From the opening riff of "One Big Holiday," the band blew down doors and opened minds. Jim James is a rock-god and he has the boots to prove it. They brought out M. Ward to jam on acoustic guitar for "Off The Record" which raised the energy even further. MMJ's new stuff sounds as good as the old and we'll be enjoying these guys for years to come. The only complaint I heard was that it wasn't long enough. It was exhilarating music to say the least and the Roger Waters' fans that came early were blown away.

Jack Johnson and Prince had inventive, gorgeous backdrops but Roger Waters had the largest HD screen I've ever seen at a concert. I realized that the lights and the sound that seemed so big this year were probably for him. I talked with Paul Tollette from Goldenvoice the next day and he confirmed this. During Waters' first set, I kept thinking how cool it was that he was headlining Coachella and how all the people there made it possible for Goldenvoice to spend the money to have the best festival venue in America with amazing sound and visuals.

There will always be people clamoring for a Pink Floyd reunion tour, and I wish I could have been at Live 8, too, but seeing Roger Waters in 2008 is better than seeing Floyd in the '80s because production values have improved so much. I have seen Roger Waters three times in the past decade, including a performance of Dark Side of the Moon, but nothing compared to this show. Things started out on a high note with "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" and never came down.

Pigs :: Coachella 2008 by F. Reda
It was a combination of the location, people, production and set list. Waters performed songs from every Floyd era including a choice "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" that featured footage of the original band members on the screen behind him. "Wish You Were Here" was a magical sing-a-long and I wondered if the promoters watched Rodrigo y Gabriela perform the song last year in the Mojave Tent, with the crowd singing every single word and slapped their foreheads, "We should get Roger Waters to play next year!"

Many of the songs had updated video companions. The inflatable Pig was back during "Dogs" and floated away from its tether, true to its message: "Don't Be Led to Slaughter." After the first set career retrospective, Set Two was, as advertised, a brilliant reproduction of Dark Side of the Moon with the best sound and lights available, on a scale never before experienced. There simply aren't many albums that can be played in their entirety. Songs like "Us and Them" are universal anthems for the young and disenfranchised and "Time" will always speak to those who fuck around too much. Dark Side of The Moon is best experienced with friends, and perhaps outside in the desert at Coachella. If that wasn't enough, "Vera" and "Comfortably Numb" were played as the encores and anyone who hadn't already shed tears left with wet cheeks. A dream weekend was over and we were left wondering how Coachella would top itself next year.

Of course the festival really wasn't over, Justice was bumping in the Sahara Tent and we walked over for the after-party. The vibe was still going strong. No one sleeps at Coachella and the song that they were playing summed up the weekend: "We are your friends/ You'll never be alone again."

Continue reading for more images from Coachella 2008...


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