This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Coachella Music Festival in California. It was an amazing adventure with some good friends.
The question I keep trying to answer is: "Who was the best show?" And there really isn't a clear answer.
Festivals are not like the concerts for I normally write reviews (disclosure: the reviews are how I get paid!). The atmosphere, the venue, the scheduling, everything about a festival is different than attending a regular concert. Concerts have a single headliner that attracts and to some degree homogenizes the crowd. The point of a concert is to build the audience up for the headliner, give them a ride through the big performance, and then usher them out the door sated. Festivals don't build and peak and then stop. They build and peak, build and peak, and build and peak. They are an endurance race, compared to the sprints of a single show.
The best experience for me then was sitting on an overlook dancing to Tiesto. It was after Muse had played and at the end of a very long, very satisfying day. But the crowd definitely peaked. When the beat dropped, the crowd was illuminated for one long moment and this seething mass of gyrating bodies simply exploded. From where I stood I felt the music crashing through my bones and the only thought my mind could hold was that finally I understood the definition of bliss.
Of course, Muse was amazing and Jay-Z was fantastic. You don't go through either of those experiences without being changed. The cathartic chanting chorus during Uprising went beyond inspiring becoming an irresistible force capturing the crowd. Every line that Jay-Z rhymed tilted the world and righted it again in a single breath.
There were many other notable experiences and I learned a ton about the proper way to enjoy the festival, providing a whole new chapter for the upcoming World Experience & Travel Guide.
No write-up would be complete without a shout out to my good friends D & C who made the weekend more than just fun, they made it truly unforgettable. You guys are the best!