Desert rock

Back in our May 26 issue, I mentioned the Desert Trip Festival in Indio, California., the superstar confab of Rock Gods, starring Dylan, Stones, Who, Neil, Paul and Roger Waters. My initial reaction was, Yeah, maybe I should go to that one. Then, I saw the prices for the three-day pass (Friday, Dylan/Stones; Saturday, Neil/Paul; Sunday, Who/Waters) were $600-1,500 and sold out in a day. Both weekends. Gone. OK, fine. I reckoned maybe I’ll just watch it on pay-per-view.

But then—weekend passes for $200? OK, now we talkin’! On Thursday the 6th, the day before opening night, I took a look on StubHub at their tickets, just for a laff. And holy guacamole, Foley, the prices were plummeting. Getting dumped on the open market mucho cheapo because the legalized scalpers had too many tickets on hand, and they were getting burned, and they had to get what they could, and oh, my, this is getting interesting and hell, the trailer is out there ready to roll and—.

The next thing I knew, I was entering the amazing venue known as the Empire Polo Grounds.

It’s a totally new and different concert experience for me, a concert that is completely dependent on its video screens—its gigantic video screens. So we’re out there paying big bucks to essentially watch guys rock out on TV, and I know that sounds like a total “No, thanks” but I now realize that this massive production of rock can actually be quite terrific in its own way, especially when all six performers were seriously ready with their own video presentations that were at times historical, informative, dazzling.

And the sound for 75,000 people—75,000!—was not just good but downright nailed. Completely impressive.

Here are my scores for each. Bob—10. Stones—10. Neil—10. Paul—10. Who—10. Roger—8. Waters gets docked, not for his production, which was extraordinary, but for the onslaught of bleak, paranoid tunes that define the late-era Floyd (Animals and The Wall) that kind of rubbed against the grain of this nostalgic Good Time Party in The Desert. You know, Neil’s “Out on the Weekend” and Paul’s “Hey Jude” just happy-grooved a bit better than “Run Like Hell.” But still, Roger had plenty of fab moments. They all did. Our beloved Electric Septuagenarians all gave performances befitting their legendary status. Wow.

If you’re reading this on Thursday the 13th, you, too, can take this awesome Desert Trip. Just so you know. There are floor and grandstand seats—much better than GA—going for $200-300. Hustle like hell!