Coachella Diary 2017
Technically, our house is one mile from the polo fields, so you wouldn't expect the Uber ride to take 40 minutes. None of us are actual *influencers* and therefore don’t have access to the secret underground air-conditioned walkway to the festival (seriously how do they wear SO MUCH CLOTHES and walk the fields carefree and sweatless?!) – so thanks to the high temps, by the time we got dropped off and made it to the Green Path entrance, we looked like we just stepped off Splash Mountain.
For years, Tyler and I have somehow skipped riding the Ferris Wheel. This year would be different: it would be our first stop. Weeks earlier, part of my Coachella prep included a special trip to Cartier in Beverly Hills for a particular engagement ring. Ben and Max helped me pull things off -- a regular Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes snuck the ring into the festival and sat adorably in the passenger pod next to ours (mainly for the air conditioning), cameras in hand -- and my dear friend Ashlyn was at the exit to snap our first picture. Bring on that cycle of life and evolution symbolism! (Btw, he said yes!)
The VIP Rose Garden is basically heaven minus the parts about religion, gods, angels, death and location -- traditionally depicted as being above the sky. Instead, think Tier 1 prep school on a sunny day with fresh cut grass, a menu curated by the Food Network's Bobby Flay, fashion freedom, and -- the best perk -- being Sahara Tent adjacent.
When this year's line-up was announced, BROODS were the first on my hit list. To no surprise, this brother-sister duo's good genes and skillful musicianship came into prominence at the Mojave Stage and in fluorescent fashion. Contrary to singer Georgia Natt's initial comments towards the how big the stage was and how small her legs are, along with the overall desert heat, you'd quickly forget any of those conditions were a struggle. The lyrics from "Free" put the entire weekend vibe in perspective: "When I didn't care was when I did best." *immediately embraced my "cake in the rain" look*
Mac Miller in the Sahara Tent? Count me in. If the routinely EDM-centric stage is going to serve up a heavy dose of hip-hop, they booked the perfect artist to pull it off. The Pittsburgh rapper -- who was welcomed with a resounding applause from the tightly packed crowd -- first plucked "Cinderella" featuring Ty Dolla $ign off his latest LP The Divine Feminine to open his set. While subdued, it was the merely the lighting of the wick of a large stick of dynamite. The figurative glass slippers were quickly flung off -- his jacket to follow -- before his more popular underground anthems came into play. Although we didn't get to hear "Party on Fifth Ave." it was definitely a party that left me feeling like someone spiked the punch and stuck a lampshade on my head.
#EatAtCoachella is the official hashtag for Coachella’s first-ever Instagram food portrait series. Food vendors, chefs and foodies participated by uploaded their most mouthwatering, behind-the-scenes, VIP food content to Instagram and Instagram Stories. Check out this fun online interactive Instagram grid -- but there's no question, the spicy pie (pizza and jalapenos) is the real headliner of Coachella.
Multi-color dynamics, swathes of cinematic hues, and sunshine-soaked synth tones overfloweth from Capital Cities. This past weekend's set did not disappoint. We're talking gusto and groove in the form of an 11-song set that included covers like Pink Floyd's "Breathe" and Porno For Pyros's "We'll Make Great Pets" to new songs such as "Swimming Pool Summer" and "Just Say When" and their undeniable smash hit "Safe And Sound."
You know those movie scenes where someone's lost in the desert, crawling, dehydrated, and the camera zooms out to an aerial shot revealing miles and miles of nothing? This was the walk home. Charles M. Schulz's "Pig-Pen" realness ready to be sponsored by Clorox Bleachable Moments. Settled for a chlorine rinse in the hot tub and Oreos.
When Ben asks, "Want to stop by Revolve's party on the way to the festival?" and your outside voice replies with "No" while your inside voice says "I'm going to eat all your Pizza Bagels." Double revenge points hearing that Ben, Max and Katie were "forced" to roller skate, though I'm confident they were happy to channel their inner Olivia Newton-John circa Xanadu. Exhibit A:
Against my better judgement, multiple S.O.S.'s and desperate maydays, the rest of us somehow ended up back at the damn Green Path entrance. Nothing highlights Day 2 struggles than walking through the camping grounds. So many questions that I didn't want answered and still trying to block from my memory.
After what seemed like a hike up and down Mount Everest, we kicked things off with one of my favorite sets by Gryffin. Accompanied by his DJ rig was a standup piano and electric guitar which he transitioned to and from seamlessly, further showing how evolved the Sahara Tent has become. Highlights included his recent remix for Sigrid's "Don't Kill My Vibe" and his newest original track "Feel Good" featuring a surprise cameo by GRAMMY-winning singer Daya.
Back to the VIP Rose Garden to refuel where we gave the lush landscape a run for its bloom. Pros: Among crossing paths with Gryffin and Daya, I ran into the fam Evan Bogart and ZZ Ward, and also reunited with my long lost friend Torri who I hadn't seen for over a decade! Tears were shed, friends were introduced for the first time, drinks were cheered. Cons: Someone let Corrine from the Bachelor in who while asking us for a lighter also asked if we were Artists or Regular People. Answer:
Landed back at the Mojave Tent for Mura Masa’s set. If the sounds of this Guernsey-born DJ, electronic music producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist wasn't already enough, imagine if both A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX stopped by. Well, they did. Mura Masa's name, taken from Japanese sword-smith Muramasa Sengo, was never more appropriate -- he slayed it.
First place trophy for the weekend goes to Röyksopp. Luckily, the rumors that iamamiwhoami aka Jonna Lee would be joining the Norwegian electronic music duo on stage were true. Imagine the most mind-blowing audiovisual mirage come to life and times that experience by 100. Or just imagine seeing a unicorn. Or the opposite of the Green Path entrance. You get the gist. The temperature, tightly-packed crowd, peripheral noise, you name it, all disappeared. The set opened strong with "Monument" and closed even stronger with "Do It Again" -- two Royksopp and Robyn covers -- and featured six more songs, four which also included Jonna Lee.
Spicy pie: Round 2. Also, group challenge: Will beer before liquor really make you sicker? Results varied but at that point I think any liquid substance was quickly sweat out / helped. Unintentional drink of the weekend: Moscow Mules.
I'm sure Spotify can confirm that I've listened to NAV's "Some Way" featuring The Weeknd more times than any other subscriber. Probably more times than NAV and The Weeknd combined tbh. By some miracle, during our journey to the main stage for Lady Gaga, lo and behold, guess who we crossed paths with performing at the Mojave Tent and what song they were performing?
What can I say? Mother Monster Lady Gaga dropped a monster 19-song set for her headlining performance on Saturday night. Renewed classics, acoustic versions of recent hits, a David Bowie cover, and the live debut of her brand new single "The Cure" all graced the Main Stage. Left at home were Gaga's outlandish costumes and shock values, replaced with a more subtle variety of denim and leather ensembles with her blonde locks worn down -- still, paired with her stage presence, she definitely shocked and awed the appreciative crowd that stretched out for miles.
Couldn't leave without seeing a glimpse of the Classixx. Unfortunately, by the time we made it back to the Mojave Tent, that's all we saw.
Woke up to an egg and sausage English muffin from Starbucks. IT WAS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER TASTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Better than finding ALL the eggs on Easter morning! Turns out, it was delivered with evil intentions. My 7 housemates needed an 8th to even out teams for Flip Cup. This was the definition of "Hair of the dog." And by dog I mean a Great Dane with elephantiasis.
Pool time! During, we enjoyed a visit from an unidentified flying drone. There was nothing subtle about this drone. It flew directly above our property and parked in the sky -- specifically the pool which added an extra element of creepy. But fear not, Katie stepped up to the plate, threw down her wrap-around skirt and sent it flying away at warp speed after exposing her giant leg bruise. We don't know how Katie got the bruise but what we do know: Unidentified Flying Drone 0, Katie's bruise 1.
Our final Uber ride was chauffeured by a "Sweet Home Alabama" loving driver. Something tells me he couldn't stand to hear anymore conversations from anyone Coachella-related. At this point, our crew was transforming into the cast of The Walking Dead meets the cast of Evita, so Katie requested "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," and the driver reluctantly obliged. The joke ended up on us though because after giving the driver precise instructions to drop us off at the VIP entrance, out of nowhere, he flipped a U-turn that landed us at fucking Green Path entrance.
Pulling out an emergency cash for bicycle rides to the gate was a failure. The odds were definitely not in our favor as we trekked two thirds of the way before it was even an option. How vultures didn't circle overhead, pick me up and fly me to my death is a mystery. I wouldn't have put up a fight.
Congrats to Anna Lunoe who not only announced her pregnancy this weekend, but also brought out Skrillex who assisted the popular Australian-born LA-based DJ, vocalist, songwriter and producer during her Sahara Tent takeover. The best word to describe her time on stage is ELECTRIC. Highlights included live performances of her new songs "Godzilla," "Bullseye," and "Stay Awake."
Long time listener, first time Sofi Tukker audience attendee. The NY-based musical duo consisting of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern gave Day 3 of Coachella and the Gobi Tent a freakin show! The GRAMMY-nominated "Drinkee" makers served their contemporary pop sensibilities on ice sending fans into a dancing frenzy. To top things off, not only did the we witness the debut of their new song "Bat Shit," which I basically went when Scissor Sisters’ singer Jake Shears popped out for a surprise cameo.
Waiting for Kiiara after convincing my whole crew to make the trip back to the Mojave Tent.
Left the Mojave Tent with no sign of Kiiara, and no word why she left the crowd waiting nearly 1/3 through her set unacknowledged. Bummed!
Everything happens for a reason, right? Fate led us to the ultimate soundtrack for a desert sunset in the form of Porter Robinson & Madeon's main stage performance. Their performance marked the second to last show -- of their Shelter tour -- before the two parts ways. Porter shared a tear-jerking moment when he told the crowd, "this is the best night of our lives." Unexpected highlight: Coachella has a funny way of bringing people together. Shot out to one of the sweetest and talented journalists in the game, Kat Bein, who I ran into and danced with till the last drop of the set.
I really tried, Hans Zimmer. You have to understand, you're up against the reality that is Sunday evening / Day 3 of Coachella. While I'm a fan of your cinematic scores such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, and Inception -- and a fan of Pharrell -- I just couldn't appreciate the live orchestra so did everyone around me a favor and removed myself. It wasn't an easy task. Hans brought one of the most congested audiences to the Outdoor Stage. I will say, that if the same show came to The Hollywood Bowl, I'd be there in a heartbeat.
New Zealand singer-songwriter, Lorde, came out with guns blazing -- her driving force focused down the barrel of a camera lens as she entered from stage left. Her voice complimented her smoky, shimmering glare, her eyes so knowingly staring into you -- through giant screens framing the stage -- providing a compelling, scintillating performance. And let's be honest, Lorde's dance moves are almost as good as her songs, and they're infectious. Her 13-part set covered everything from older hits like "Royals" and "Tennis Court" to newer songs such as "Homemade Dynamite" and "Green Light." For an artist who spent most of her stage time unaccompanied, the Kiwi sure knows how to fill an audience's heart.
Meanwhile, there was a distracting performance happening in the lawn of the main stage VIP trying to steal Lorde's spotlight. Two determined girls had us in stitches laughing while they attempted to blow up an inflatable Pouch Couch. It's looks so easy as TV, but live, like an SNL skit.
Capping off another Coachella for the books, enter: Kendrick Lamar. Being a headliner is in the hip-hop legend's DNA, so starting his set with a live debut of "DNA" seemed fitting. Tired beyond recognition, we only made it through a few songs before slipping out the back exit.
Bittersweet walk home with my best friends. At this point of the weekend, I'm confident I walked at least thirty miles, but boy did I not want it to end. One more dip in the hot tub with Tyler talking about our Coachella highlights. Top of the list: everyone was home safe and sound, no hospitalizations, no missing belongings. Well, until moments later when Tyler got a phone call from a stranger who found his ID and debit card. 🤦♂️