Coachella Music Festival Day 2, April 14, 2012

Day Two. I jumped out of the hotel bed and the first thing on my mind was BON IVER. Nothing else was of any importance. After a quick stop to acquire fuel for the car and fuel for myself (namely a 12-pack of beer) we hit the road once again on our 70 mile adventure back into Indio. But this time we were much more prepared, we had a cooler full of delectable snacks which Josh and I planned to consume in the noonday sun and wait an hour or two before going onto the festival grounds. The 12-pack got past security, as did we, so we parked the car on the camping site and sat on our blanket, playing music and chugging beer. There was a girl next to us who came to Coachella alone so we helped put up her super complicated tent-and by help, I mean Josh built it, as I guzzled a Natural Light and danced around to Janis Joplin with the wind blowing through my hair.

I swear there were more people there on Saturday than there had been on Friday. It sure felt that way as we maneuvered through the crowd of hipsters and half-naked jocks to make our way onto the grounds. Of course, we were searched again and I passed right on through due to my excellent technique at hiding electronics.

This is where the day gets a little fuzzy. You see, I love Bon Iver, so Saturday was “my day” to get as trashed as I wanted to because Josh was to be the designated driver to get my arse back to the hotel room safely and I was to return the favor the next day, on the count that he adores Florence + the Machine. So, that is exactly what happened. We sat down in the grass for a bit and then decided to go thrash around to some bands.

I wanted to see The Black Lips and fIREHOSE, but we arrived at the festival much too late. We squeezed in just in time to see Manchester Orchestra but after that, I don’t know how time elapsed so quickly-it was around 6pm when they ended and somehow, we end up walking to the car and finally getting back in (after another pat down of course), at about 9:00pm for Bon Iver and Josh went to the Sahara tent to see David Guetta. Mind you, by the time the sun had vanished back into the sea, I had already consumed about 10 beers. Or more. I made my way to the main stage, pushed through the crowd and landed myself in a rather shitty spot; then the band came on literally 10 minutes later.

I actually shed tears when Bon Iver played, I held in the water-works pretty well for “Holocene”, which they performed second, to my great surprise, but I cried a river during “Hinnom,TX”.  Justin Vernon is one of the most talented people I have ever seen and he (and his band) definitely deserved both of the Grammy’s that were won in February.  Vernon sung with such eloquence and grace that it was no wonder that the audience responded with an equal amount of intensity. He performed his signature vocalizations: executing high notes too shrill to be emulated by even the best dog whistle. By far, the best aspect of the performance was the raw emotion when he sang; he allowed the pain and meaning behind each song to fill him, and be translated to the crowd using his trademark stings of melancholy. Their stage set-up glowed in florescent greens and purples, with billowing fabric that looked like boat netting, that dangled from the front support beams. The entire stage was illuminated and occasionally the colored lights would burst forth with renewed brightness to punctuate guitars rifts and drum solos; the show was a visual and oratory masterpiece.

After the last haunting song and a gracious thank you, the band left the stage and within 60 minutes, was replaced by Radiohead. Their record, In Rainbows, is the only album I own of theirs (a vinyl copy!) and I listened to obsessively last winter; so once again, I found myself in tears when front-man, the hard-featured but elegant, Thom Yorke, belted out a rendition of “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”, the 7th track from that record. His vocals were on-point and the band was perfectly in synch as I gazed in awe, at the blazing colored squares that changed colors with the beat of the music. I did not stay long, for I didn’t want to use the port-a-potties again, and therefore knew it was time to leave the venue.

As I walked (stumbled) to the car, I rambled to Josh about Bon Iver for the entire 15 minute walk. I bet he wanted to slap me, as he was trying his hardest to get in a word about David Guetta, I was so happy I could not stop chattering. All in all, I was happy with the second day of Coachella; and after humming, “Hinnom, TX” for a while, I fell asleep on the car ride back to the hotel and dreamt wonderful things about my favorite band from Wisconsin.


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