The festival of the century. Bucket list fest. Call it whatever you want, but I feel incredibly privileged for having been one of the 75,000 people that attended the Desert Trip festival in Indio, CA on “weekend one” (Oct 7-8-9).
There have been a lot of age-jokes about the festival, which I guess is to be expected when you put all these legends on the same stage three days in a row:
The Rolling Stones
Even Mick Jagger himself made a few age-jokes when he entered the stage the first evening.
It’s funny though, cause I never saw “old men” on that stage.
I saw young guys stuck in the wrong bodies.
Every time I see Keith Richards smile that rascal smile of his, I see a rebel kid that lives inside a wrinkly body, and you see it in his eyes too.
It’s not an old dude. He is just badass, maybe even more now than ever before. He’s earned it.
Being young is not always an advantage. Respect and reverence is something you can enjoy when you’ve invested YEARS into whatever it is you do in life.
There is not a 20-year old on the planet who comes even CLOSE to being as cool as Keith Richards. When you’ve done something your whole life, proving time and time again that you’re not only a survivor, but also a winner and you’ve paid your dues a long time ago, it just puts you in a position that younger musicians can only dream of.
Check out Mick Jagger. Most young guys couldn’t do what he does – he doesn’t stand still for five seconds, he works the biggest stages in the world and he doesn’t even stop to catch his breath. What “old dude” does that? It’s all about the energy that you’re projecting, not the packaging you’re stuck with.
Paul McCartney always had his boyish charm, and he’s always looked like a young man, dispite the inevitable signs of aging. His spirit shines through everything he does and all he is.
He’s a young boy with a talent that he’s blessed the world with.
When he entered the stage at Desert fest, I wasn’t prepared for my own reaction. I thought I was going to be all smiles and partyyyy during his set. Instead, his very presence made me cry like a baby for almost 2 hours straight! I simply couldn’t stop it. That’s how powerful that experience was.
It was tears of joy and like a “movie” rolling inside my head that took me to different places and emotions throughout my life, that were somehow connected to whatever song he was playing. First love. First heartache. Days in school. Growing up. Life. Friendships. Career. Every single song is strongly connected to something that has touched my heart. I could barely hold on to my camera when he sang “Here Today” (tribute to John Lennon). Just totally lost it there.
That wasn’t a concert. That was a religious experience. And going back to that age thing, I can’t recall ever having one of those super-emotional experiences at any 20-year old’s gig. Not even when I was 20.
Wrote this in a private Facebook update that night:
“I’ve used superlatives about concerts and artists in my life, but that was compared to what I had seen, heard and experienced up until then. THIS was not just on another PLANET, it was a totally different GALAXY. I’ve never seen anything that powerful in my entire life and I’ve seen a lot.
The whole thing just moved me to tears, I was bawling my eyes out while smiling up to my ears all at the same time, because I really didn’t know what else to do with everything that I felt during that show.
I’ll have to process it a little first, but, man… that was just… they would have to come up with another word that’s stronger than “amazing”, “fantastic” or “out of this world”. Paul McCartney in concert – on a stage this size makes EVERYONE ELSE look like freakin AMATEURS!”
The Who… Oh yeah, when you hear Pete Townshend talk to the crowd, it’s easy to tell that he’s still a loud rebel at heart with a whole lotta attitude! And he did slide on the stage on his knees too!!
When Roger Daltrey swings his microphone like a maniac, I suddenly realize who Sebastian Bach got that move from. :)
In short: These guys wrote the book! The book of rock’n’roll. They had something to say, they had visions, they just went ahead and changed the world.
So to me it wasn’t just an “old dude festival”. Far from it.
My closing words in a private post on Facebook that night were:
“I leave the US this time with my mind full of impressions which will take a long time to process, but it was something extraordinary that I’ll remember for the rest of my life“.
There is a LOT more to say and post from the festival, but I just wanted to share some of my first reflections on that age-thing – cause in this case, age is a measure of your coolness.
Cause when you’ve worked yourself up to this level, there is NOBODY that will EVER get close enough to even try kicking your ass! :) And that calls for some respect.