A big part of the Coachella experience is traversing the grounds, stepping over prone, likely unconscious bodies, while darting from one transcendent live music experience to the next. That’s totally fun. Even more fun: not doing that at all.
Don’t be overly impressed by the term “VIP area” — judging from the thousands of people wearing wristbands allowing access to this cordoned-off acre of cash bars, food kiosks, and misting fans, it seems that all you really need to qualify is a wrist. Here, day one of Coachella is less about running from stage to stage and more about watching the main stage, generally on the Jumbotron. As great as it is to watch Jesus and Mary Chain playing together for the first time in a decade, tearing through “Head On” and “Far Gone and Out” before bringing ScarJo (!) on for “Just Like Honey,” it can barely compare with the sight of Paul Simonon wearing a gray pinstripe suit and porkpie hat in 100-degree heat like the coolest man alive. Or Danny DeVito rolling six-deep in a posse and shaking hands with every artist he can find. Or pissing in a clean bathroom without waiting on a line.
Not that I’m above leaving the friendly confines to mingle with the MIPs (Merely Important People) — up close, Arctic Monkeys seem to be getting better every time they pick up their instruments, and the drum intro to “Brianstorm” sounded like a herd of buffalo; Jarvis Cocker optimistically suggested that his set might cure sunstroke as he ran through post-Pulp songs like “Fat Children” and the masturbation ode “One Man Show.”
But that was yesterday. Today, I’m going to stick to my schedule and hit every stage to take full advantage of everything Coachella has to offer: the panoply of acts and fans, the artwork, the geodesic dome…the beer lines…the porta-potties…
Hello, wristband! STEVE KANDELL