Desert Trip in Indio, California was one of the largest music festivals in history and for two weekends in a row, fans of some of the most iconic performers and bands in the world were treated to a magical, musical journey.
CCTV’s May Lee was there and shares her experience.
I was lucky enough to be one of 84,000 people who trekked to Indio the second weekend for three solid nights of incredible live performances starting on Friday with Bob Dylan, who was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, the first for any songwriter. Dylan only sang. He didn’t utter one spoken word and, oddly, not one single camera showed his face on the giant screens across the stage. Intentional? I’m sure.
Next up on Friday night, the Rolling Stones. Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie were at Desert Trip to play and play hard. Their 2 1/2 hour set included Brown Sugar, Sticky Fingers, Sympathy for the Devil and Satisfaction. With so many hits over nearly six decades, how do you even choose what to play? At one point, Mick poked fun at the event, which had been dubbed “Oldchella” given the fact that the average age of all the participating artists is 71, but Mick coined the phrase “Catch Them Before They Croak” tour. I laughed out loud as did everyone else.
Saturday, Day 2, started off with Canadian artist Neil Young. As the full harvest moon was rising at dusk, Young sat at an old rickety piano and sang several classics…Heart of Gold, Old Man, Long May You Run and Harvest Moon. The combination of the natural setting, the appreciative crowd and acoustic Neil Young brought tears to my eyes.
Second performer Saturday night…Paul McCartney. From classic Beatles songs like Hey Jude and Hard Days Night to Wings tunes including Band on the Run and Live and Let Die. At one point, Rihanna joined Paul to perform their hit from last year, FourFiveSeconds. I was moved throughout Paul’s set, but the most powerful was when he closed with the Beatles song The End…”And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Tears again.
And then came Day 3, Sunday. Legendary band The Who hit the stage with fury and didn’t let up for over two hours. Pete Townsend still plays the guitar like he’s in this 20s and Roger Daltry still twirls his microphone like a pinball wizard. The set included My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again and Quadrophenia. The Who’s still got it.
Final performer of Desert Trip and, perhaps, the best use of visuals and sound…Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd. His use of every inch of the giant screens for maximum visual impact and the incredible surround sound system that whipped music and sound effects around the entire outdoor venue, made for major sensory overload for everyone. Waters performed Pink Floyd classics including Money, Another Brick in the Wall and Comfortably Numb. At times, I felt like I was listening to the original album. It was that good.
Final act of Desert Trip…Roger Waters “Another Brick in the Wall”
I’ve been to a lot of concerts and music events around the world, but I can confidentially say, Desert Trip was the most epic musical experience I’ve ever had and it was worth every minute of lost sleep and dust inhaled, without a doubt. Rock on boys! You make getting old look really, really good!