Dispatches from the Polo Field
Thu, Apr 23, 2009 (midnight)
Root, root for the home band
Since Vegas doesn’t have a pro sports team, local musicians have filled that community vacancy. So, in order to obtain my official Las Vegas local status, I was required to watch The Killers headline Saturday night at Coachella. The first song, “Human,” transported me to the casino floor of the Hard Rock, the one place where I have heard the song repeatedly.
I appreciated the Vegas-style audacity of decorating a stage with fake palm trees at a festival surrounded by real ones. The Killers definitely had a certain star power, but they just didn’t seem ready to be elevated to the same level as the other nights’ headliners, Paul McCartney and The Cure. Whereas the other two headliners played multiple encores lasting well after midnight, The Killers ended at 12:08 a.m., leaving the stage before the last fireworks.
In the end, the lesson learned was that the need to root for the “home team” is a worthy one. But Vegas would be richer if we helped other local bands reach Coachella status rather than dwelling on the one that’s already made it.
Every step I take
Held on the green fields of the Empire Polo Club, Coachella is approximately 200 acres, not counting the sprawling parking lots. To judge exactly how much walking/dancing that equates to, I bought a cheapo pedometer. It was neat to see that I made about 2,000 dance moves during the Black Keys’ set alone. At the end of Day 1, my tally hit about 14,000 steps, which is only 4,000 steps above the recommended goal for office workers. Considering that my body felt broken, I think the pedometer was off. Little matter—shortly after I checked my tally, the pedometer disappeared into the crush of people exiting the post-McCartney fest. I’ll just have to judge distance the old-fashioned way: Tally my blisters.
The look of Coachella
For those of a certain persuasion (hipsters too cool to call themselves hipsters), Coachella isn’t just a music festival; it’s a fashion show. I tried, tried, tried to compete. But I lost. You see, I made provisions for grueling heat, crowd and noise. I wore a hat that actually protected my face from the sun. Comfortable shoes. My only attempt at irony—a hot pink fanny pack with matching sunglasses—was fundamentally functional, and thus a misfire. Next year, I don’t care if my skin burns off and my feet fall off, I’m going to look cool.