This year I couldn’t avoid it. All signs of synchronicity were pointing to me being there. First, our friend Michael Christian, an amazing metal sculptor from Oakland, who is known for his rad pieces at Burning Man, was doing an art installation there. That insured easy backstage access and an adventure in camping in the Coachella Art colony area with all our friends from up north. Then in another stroke of coincidence, a friend practically gifted us with tickets and VIP passes 2 minutes after I put up an ad on Craigslist looking for last minute tickets. The final lure…. Paul McCartney was playing Friday night.
Now, I’ve always loved the Beatles, they define classic. But I’ve never been chomping at the bit to see McCartney live. My better half Dan, however, reminded me that this might be a historic event. We shouldn’t miss it. He was right.
Paul played for an unbelievable 2 1/2 hours and it wasn’t just a really great concert. It was the best show I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve seen a lot, covering live concerts for David Bowie, Eric Clapton, The Police and Madonna as a filmmaker. So it takes a lot to rock my boat. Friday night a tsunami hit me!
The desert air had cooled to a sweet 65 degrees, the air mellow in the crowd of what I heard was 35,000 people, but some reports say was 75,000 strong. The mood could only be described as high in the crowd, with ages ranging from 14 to 64. And it wasn’t just from the smell of ganja floating in the air.
Paul started off with songs from Wings, then segued into “Baby You Can Drive My Car”. Things got a little moodier when he did an enthralling rendition of “Long and Winding Road”. He then told the crowd it was eleven years ago to the day of Linda’s death in the desert of Arizona. Despite the crowd, it the most intimate performance I’ve seen. He choked up on his tribute to Linda during “My Love” and then swung back into action with a myriad of Beatles tunes and songs from every part of his career, including his new album he’s releasing. He did a tribute to John and then sang a capella with a song on the ukulele that George Harrison gave him.
All in all, it was a massively impactful performance, blew every other act at the festival away. The crowd had a beautiful ride, dancing singing and cheering way past the witching hour of midnight. We definitely got our money’s worth… and more.