Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Coachella Day 3 (The day Rage returned to California)

The day many of us had been waiting for ever since the rumors started and for some even longer. Those that wondered if one of the seminal bands of our generation would ever return to the stage. They are like the Led Zeppelin of our time. Just something to behold. Of course I'm talking about the Lemonheads...hahahaha. I felt so sorry for any band that was playing during the Rage Against The Machine time slot. Before I get to the end of writing about this day let me just say that I was in the thick of it and looking around and all eyes in the entire Empire Polo Fields were facing towards the main stage as if they were Muslims looking toward Mecca.

Got a late start but had a good reason. We caught lunch before hand at this Mexican place that escapes me right now. I know sad considering I'm a restaurant blogger. What makes it doubly sad is the place had realllllllly good Mexican. My loss and yours as well. Over the weekend we lived off of water and gatorade...there really wasn't much time to eat cause you wanted to catch all the bands! Amazingly we didn't suffer at all and hunger never even approached our minds.

It being the last day and the blockbuster of the weekend we took the same route and though we got in to park in a decent time we had to walk like forever (let me tell you when you've had a long weekend and you're walking back from one of the most intense shows of your life that walk seems to last forever on the way back to your car). We get in to see the last little bit of Tapes N Tapes who were living up to the hype. The lads did a great job rocking out and the sound in there was really sweet and clear.

We got out from the tent and thought about what we'd see today and what we'd turn down in order to position ourselves for the shows. Many people of course would sit in front of the main stage all day long just to be close for Rage. We were not them thankfully as the temperature topped out around 110 or so. We did head that way nonetheless to catch Explosions in the Sky. Before coming out here I checked out the bands online that I didn't know to get a vibe for them.
I remember going ehhh when I heard them online. When we caught them I felt more like it was one song called Explosions in the Sky that had movements. I can't say it was good and I definitely can't say it was bad but it was memorable to watch for sure. They destroyed their instruments practically.

Stayed at the same stage to catch The Roots who I've been trying to catch for the past I don't know how long. It's been stupid. I've always been close but couldn't make it for one reason or another. I finally catch them and they don't let me down...except for one thing. The band included an amazing friend of the theirs who played sousaphone. Now don't get me wrong their was nothing wrong with that at all...it was actually pretty freaking sick. The one complaint was that they introduced a side project that they were working on that included the sousaphone player, their guitarist Kirk Douglas and Questlove. They did a rendition of a Bob Dylan tune that rocked out and was all over the place but we came to see the Roots so let's see the Roots. Not only that it was a long song...like 10 minutes at least. Come on already! Let's get back to the original "Roots crew...no additives no perservatives". Other than that I can dub them my favorite party band that also happens to be my favorite hip hop act hands down.

We strolled over to catch the Kaiser Chiefs before the Roots were up. Possibly at the hottest point of the day I was proud of them as they gave 100% of their energy when they played and the crowd loved it. It was awesome cause they knew that despite their popularity lots of people don't know them or their songs but they encouraged everyone to have a great time and just get into it.

Not having the ability to stay still we moved on and caught one of the coolest non mainstream acts at the festival. This was an awesome sight to behold. We had heard a party in the Gobi tent going on and Konono No. 1 was playing. Okay everyone in the tent was dancing to this amazing band who hails from the Congo. Probably no one in there knew what they were saying but the music felt so good and just made you want to move. The lead instruments were the thumb piano and percussion. The vocals had the cool chant sound going and it was just mezmerizing. It made everyone just feel good and it was a joy just to see that.

We opted out of catching Willie Nelson and Crowded House (figured I hear it "Don't Dream It's Over" somewhere on the field for sure cause the main stage was so loud anyways) and opted to instead catch the beautiful artistry of Jose Gonzales and then catch Lily Allen. Jose was beautiful. The sounds actually soothed the day and even though on occasion he had feedback it was feedback that magically sounded good in the songs! He and his band really were a nice interlude to the day. A calm before the storm if you will.

Missing Air was a tough decision but I'm glad for two reasons. 1 was that they were SUPER late. I heard they started like half an hour late. And 2 was that Lily Allen was so worth the sweaty fest that it was. She packed it out as far as you could see and she said she totally wasn't expecting this kind of turnout. We were close to the front and here was the view behind us:

She came out and looked adorable in her trademark puffy dress and sneaks. She seemed a little nervous and smoked a cigarette about 4 songs into her set. One thing that was off was the fact that she forgot many lyrics to her own songs. This she attributed to not having done anything at all bad that day except smoking a couple of fat spliffs before the show. Despite this which almost doubled her cute girlieness, her set was awesome, the band was tight and and the crowd sang along the entire time. Thanks Lily for a memorable one!

Herein lies one of the tragedies of scheduling. We had to miss Damien Rice to get prime positioning for Rage. So we lost out on that one but Manu Chao was great and was a good warmup act for Rage. The pulsing punk bursts got the crowd ready for the mayhem that would ensue.

Here it is. What all the hot sweaty sun drenched days were for. Rage Against the Machine hit the stage and here's what you can see initially. You see them approach the the stage and every camera pop in the air like gophers looking for enemies:

Zack introduces themselves and the downbeat happens...

Honestly thought there was no chance in the world I would be walking out of there with my camera after that first song started. It was amazing!
Had to shoot clips in super small tidbits or I could have loss a vertebrae:

But I was able to position myself further back from the pit which I was in for a huge portion of the set (by the way one of the best pits I've ever had the exquisite pleasure to be in) and in getting further back it was slightly calmer so I could snag a slightly longer clip:

How'd the set go? I would say that it wasn't their tightest but after 4 songs all the cobwebs were shook off and the rage in Rage had fully returned. The rants of having president Bush and his administration shot over what they've done were in full effect. Initially also the sound mix was not as great as it could be as well but a couple of songs into it was spectacular. Zack wasn't sporting the dreads but was rocking a curly fro that suited him well. He intially didn't seem like he knew what to do with himself like "How was it that I used to move on stage all those years ago?" but his memory was quickly jogged. The band kicked it so hard that in the end everyone was relieved like something they had locked up they got to get out of themselves by seeing Rage and in the end you couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Like I said I felt bad for any band playing when Rage was cause I can only imagine their shows being near empty. One of the top 5 shows of my life hands down.

We walk back and everyone is talking about how awesome the night was and there's a bit of sadness it over. But it was awesome all around that it did happen at all.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice wrap up, Im happy as a clam, rage is back on the stage. I saw right before the break up in san diego. got close thanks to a small arena and they reek of awesomeness!

May 1, 2007 at 10:41 PM  

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