Coachella 2007: An Epic Entry in Which a Midwesterner Visits the West Coast and Finds God in the Desert. Among Other Things. (Day 1)

Posted on May 1, 2007 by


Why go to Coachella at all? It’s far, expensive, it sells out so fast, it’s hot and tiring — but there’s nothing in the country like it.

Coachella 2007

You spend three days of non-stop music in a California polo field, where you can strip to just a bikini if you want to and walk barefoot, drink beer and listen to all the bands in your iPod, live. You can’t even leave (no ins and outs) but that’s OK because why would you want to?

Dori Wenzel from WMSE (91.7) has gone every year since 2005. “It’s for the true music fan,” she said. It takes real effort to go, and you’re isolated in a polo field with just a bunch of music heads from all over the world — who are just like you, she said.

I’ve been going to Coachella since the Pixies reunited in 2004 and Radiohead said they were a band because of the Pixies. It was a moment of music that changed my life; it was then that I became a real, true music fan. I saw how bands can bring 60,000 people together, and bring friends who lived in Asia, Europe and the East Coast to Indio, Calif.

Coachella 2007

Now that I live in Milwaukee, it’s more like an annual reunion for me and my friends — with a really good soundtrack. Quark Henares, a director and DJ from Manila, Philippines, arrived Thursday night, like me. NocheLatina’s Araceli Cruz flew in from New York. A few other friends from Orange County and San Francisco were there too.

DAY 1: The Day of Chill Out

Coachella 2007This year is the first time the festival is three days long, and it was great because for the first time I wasn’t running around chasing one band after another on five different stages. I was able to totally chill, check out the art, make fun of the Cat Power-wannabes and the Napoleon Dynamite white boy ‘fros. I wondered what it was like for the bands who performed in the heat though.

On the right is a photo of Of Montreal’s singer finding a solution.

Coachella 2007Now for the music:

The Band I Was Really Looking Forward to Watching Live The Arctic Monkeys, the only new band I liked in 2006, blew everyone away because they were so cute and talented.

Bands I Missed Because of Scheduling Conflicts Gogol Bordello, Amy Winehouse, Julieta Venegas and Sonic Youth.

I Wish I Saw More Of… Rufus Wainwright. He was intense. I only stayed for a few songs because I wanted to photograph Jesus and Mary Chain, but the way he played the piano in his priest-like robe gave me the chills.

Coachella 2007

Great Reunion act with The Celeb Surprise The Jesus and Mary Chain. They had all the 40-somethings in the crowd risking knee injuries — and Scarlett Johansson guest singing on “Just Like Honey.” (My friend thought she sucked and ruined the song.)

Coachella 2007

Musical Discovery Jarvis Cocker (former lead singer of Pulp) was an uber-charming performer. He gave kudos to co-Sheffield natives Arctic Monkeys during his totally photogenic set.

Coachella 2007 Coachella 2007

Too Cool for School Interpol, of course. They sang a couple of new songs from their upcoming album, “Our Love to Admire,” coming out this summer. They sounded great, too. But there was hardly any banter from them.

Coachella 2007

Coachella 2007

My Big Dream Come True I finally got to watch Bjork perform live. She came out wearing a crazy mushroom-headed outfit/coat, then removed it to reveal a dress with a skeletal bodice and grass-skirt-like sleeves and skirt. She also had prayer flags decorating the stage and an orchestra of nyphs backing her performance. After Day 1, I felt like they could cancel Coachella and I would totally be OK, because I witnessed Bjork, my deity of choice, in action.

— Lille Bose

Coachella 2007

Coachella 2007

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