[If you missed my Coachella Preview, Day 1 of #CoachellaBingo2014, or Day 2 of #CoachellaBingo2014, feel free to click links accordingly. Also, if you are curious as to why it took me so long to keep writing about Coachella, I do my best to explain it here.]
Pain. Joy. Exhaustion.
Pain. Joy. Exhaustion. Bingo.
Ray and I rally and get two dozen donuts for ourselves and our neighbors, as a way of saying thank you for the generosity they have shown us in the form of pancakes the previous two mornings. They are delicious, but the day is still difficult.
Pain. Joy. Exhaustion. Donut.
Ray and I sit in near silence for close to two hours drinking beers and smoking cigarettes. I play Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper in its entirety and express again how hyped I am for his set.
Around 1pm, we head towards the festival grounds, stopping briefly to say hi/goodbye to Paige and her friends one last time. I was super grateful for their bingo support throughout the festival. While there, Paige’s brother Matt informs us that we have to go see Fishbone, as it will be a party. I have no idea who or what Fishbone is, but they are playing at the same stage as Chance and I trust Matt’s opinion on music. So Ray and I leave for the grounds a bit earlier than expected to see what Fishbone is all about.
As we continued our walk, I spied a dude with a Jamaican flag in the distance. Ray and I had come across a few flags over the weekend, but none of them Jamaican. Today, it was the first one we saw. Bingo was off to a brilliant start.
Ray snagged a picture, I colored in the appropriate square, and after handing them a few bingo cards, we carried on.
It turns out that Fishbone is an all-black alt-rock-funk-ska band with a full horn section; Ray and I are immediately on board. A skanking circle breaks out and I skank as hard as I can for two laps before I realize that I am way too tired to properly skank in a way that would do justice to the killer show that Fishbone is putting on. I stop my skanking out of respect and attempt to get closer to the stage.
Around this time a group of kids behind us start murmuring that Chance has cancelled his set. I don’t trust murmurs (they are too close to rumors), so I conduct a Twitter investigation and am deeply saddened very soon after.
Fuck. My boy Chance. I couldn’t even be mad, I just wanted him to feel better.
I love you Chance.
Heartbroken, I turned my attention back to Fishbone and attempted to dance my sadness away. But as I turned, I noticed that there was another person dancing, a person whose dancing seemed to garner much more attention than the band on stage performing.
There, only feet away from me, was André Benjamin aka André 3000 aka André Three Stacks. One half of the minor Outkast. In the flesh. Just dancing like a dude that was really into Fishbone.
I did my best to play it cool. I don’t like freaking out about celebrities, and I definitely don’t want to be the guy that bothers André 3000.
Still, I couldn’t fully resist my fanboy impulses. I pulled out my phone and immediately started taking pictures, knowing that I might only have two or three “André 3000 dancing” sightings remaining in my lifetime. Also, “Run Into a Celebrity” was on the bingo card.
The universe was once again working in my favor. This shit was meant to be. I watched intently, hoping for a moment where I could possibly grab his attention without being an asshole. I definitely didn’t want André 3000 to think I was an asshole.
As I watched, it seemed he was really enjoying himself. He had a beautiful woman at his side, and they laughed together from time to time. André acknowledged the lead singer and received a nod and a smile in reply. Security moved Three Stacks out of the way whenever a crowd surfer came in too close. It was amazing to watch; this was a guy that was raised to a level of mythic existence in my mind, and there he was, living, dancing, and dodging crowd surfers.
Then it happened.
The girls standing to my immediate left held a phone over the rail that separated us plebeians from the VIPs. They struck a pose indicating that a #selfie was imminent, and André jumped right in. The girls thanked him and he shook their hands and struck a pose for another picture.
In one moment, André had broken the #selfiebarrier and I was emboldened. Fishbone ended another jam and I made my move.
He turns. I hold out my phone, hand shaking.
“Can I snag a picture?!” I excitedly plead.
He grins and leans in. I hit that little circle on my iPhone as many times as my thumb can manage in my anxious state. After a moment that felt infinite, I thrust my phone back in my pocket and hold out my hand.
Bro shake. Bro shake with freaking André 3000.
I decide to go for it one more time. Fanboy Tyler can’t resist.
“Thank you for Bombs Over Baghdad”
Then he replied.
“Nah man, thank you.”
Or it might have been, “Ah man, thank you.” It was hard to tell in the moment and it doesn’t matter anyways. André 3000 had recognized my existence in reality and nothing hurt.
He went back to enjoying the show and I proceeded to tweak out a little bit. I turned to Ray who was about six or seven people away from me in the crowd, making a face meant to indicate my emotional state of “WHAAAAAAT!!!!!” Then I just started dancing.
André ducked away in the middle of Fishbone’s final song. The show ended and I cheered and found Ray. We reviewed my photos. I did my best not to be an asshole gloating to Ray about how I had gotten a selfie with André 3000, although I knew full well that I would immediately be uploading this picture to Facebook so I could gloat to EVERYONE about how I had gotten a selfie with André 3000. I’m sorry. But also, whatever.
When you get a selfie with André 3000, you tell people about it. HE EVEN THREW UP DEUCES FOR ME.
I colored in the square for “Run Into A Celebrity” and Ray and I left to cool off, much less bummed about the lack of a set from Chance than I had been just minutes earlier.
We sit in the shade of the Gobi Tent Stage and enjoy the music of Courtney Barnett more than we thought we would. After her set, we eat and wander and hydrate for around an hour and a half before finding a spot to sit on the lawn for The Naked and Famous.
While making a big show of taking my picture at The Naked and Famous, I meet Alex, Eliza, and Julia. They ask about the cards and I give them cards and again, they are super excited about the markers. They cross me off as their “Meet Someone New”. Julia asks me if she is allowed to count me for more than one. I say she definitely can. I wonder to myself if she is implying that I be her “Kiss a Stranger”, possibly even her “Male Frontal Nudity”. Part of me hopes for neither, part of me hopes for both. I ask to snag a picture with them and they agree.
But just as my mind is running away in lustful festival fantasy, The Naked and Famous kicked into gear and Alex, Eliza, and my fair Julia got up to join a crowd of dancers that was quickly forming. I was surprised that this many people wanted to dance to The Naked and Famous; my relationship with the band was solely influenced by Radio 104.5. I was confident that I really liked one of their songs and was at least familiar with two others, but I had no idea what those songs were. It is the same relationship I have with Twenty One Pilots and Bleachers.
Then the music kicked in and everyone started dancing. Together. Like a wedding floor full of electric-sliders, us Coachella kids rocked back and forth, cross-stepping and clapping in a line dance before pivoting on the downbeat. It was this spontaneous force of positivity that seemed to immediately sweep over the 100 foot radius surrounding me.
It was magic. I danced and jumped and teared up twice I think. There was a Rockettes-esque line of kicks as we embraced whichever stranger happened next to us. At one point, people made a rush for the center of the dance floor and everyone jumped together. I wanted the moment to last. I wanted to remember how connected my soul felt to this place and these people and the universe. I took a #selfie.
Also, at one point during the set I spotted a guy in a penis costume. The universe had granted me “Male Frontal Nudity” in a way I had never anticipated. Kudos universe, way to keep me guessing.
The Naked and Famous closed with “Young Blood“. I start freaking out to Ray. “THIS IS THE NAKED AND FAMOUS SONG I KNOW?! I LOVE THIS SONG!”
I do love that song. I just never knew who it was. Radio 104.5 plays it enough that I never have to look for it elsewhere. It was the best surprise. The song plays and I dance. The song ends and I cheer. Ray and I walk off towards Neutral Milk Hotel.
We find a spot to sit and settle in. Sitting was a bit of a theme for the day, as the collective energy of Ray and I had been thoroughly sapped by the previous two days of festing. On Friday, we tallied hearing “Turn Down for What?” on thirteen separate occasions. On Sunday, we didn’t hear it once. It seemed that most of us had found one or two reasons why turning down is necessary from time to time.
Neutral Milk Hotel opens with “King of Flowers“, the song that Sean references in their designated Bingo square. Ray snapped the above picture just as Jeff Magnum belted “I love you, Jesus Christ!” and wished everyone a Happy Easter.
I continue sitting, my back to the stage. Eventually I lay on my back and the amazing music continues. I think about everything. I realize that this is how I usually listen to Neutral Milk Hotel.
The set ends and I stand in order to give the band a proper ovation. Then Ray and I run to Beck.
Beck plays “Blue Moon” early in the set and my body tries to start crying (sorry, this happens a lot at shows) but I don’t have enough water in my system to produce tears. He tells a story about seeing Arcade Fire in a local bar ten years ago, and reminds us all that we are capable of great things. He teases “Rebellion” and then goes into a cover of “Billie Jean”, during which he pops, locks, and moonwalks. He closes with an eight-minute rendition of “Where It’s At” during which he introduces every member of his band and gives them each eight bars to solo.
I firmly believe that Questlove currently holds the title belt for World’s Coolest Dude, but Beck is undeniably the World’s Coolest White Dude.
He leaves the stage.
At this point, I am one square away from Bingo – “Run Out of Cell Battery”. I have 5% battery life left in my iPhone, mostly due to my constant checking on the amount of Likes my #AndréSelfie has accrued. When Arcade Fire takes the stage I am down to 1%.
After opening with “Reflektor“, Win Butler announced that they had some very special guests with them tonight, and two men wearing robot helmets that I am intimately familiar with strutted out onto the stage. If you read my stuff on a regular basis, you know that I am essentially the boy who cried Daft Punk. I sent out tweets before Kanye’s set at Governor’s Ball last summer. I wrote a whole article theorizing that Daft Punk would show up for Kanye’s musical guest stint on last year’s SNL finale. So when two guys dressed as Daft Punk came out on stage, I was simultaneously jubilant and suspicious. I screamed and lifted Ray in the air. “IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?!”
I didn’t know if it was. I immediately compared the evidence in my brain.
Theory A: DAFT PUNK IS ON STAGE WITH ARCADE FIRE
- There are two guys on stage with Arcade Fire wearing Daft Punk suits
- Last year at Coachella, Daft Punk surprised announced their forthcoming “Random Access Memories” with a teaser trailer – showing up here would bring things full circle
- Pharrell had played the day before, meaning both “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance” were in play.
- Daft Punk hit Coachella in 2007 during their Alive tour
Theory B: I was being tricked into thinking “DAFT PUNK IS HERE” for the third time in my life
- When Ray and I saw Arcade Fire in Philadelphia a month earlier, the band played tricks with those big paper mache masks they’ve been wearing during this tour, making the audience think they were onstage only to later reveal that those onstage were impostors and the real Arcade Fire were running alongside the crowd. The lesson: Arcade Fire plays pranks to start their shows
- The helmets the Daft Punk guys were wearing were closer to the design of their last tour, and their suits were black and white, as opposed to black and gold which the cover art of Random Access Memories implies it would be
- They had been on stage for almost 30 seconds now and still had not started making beats
I decided I needed to let the world know what was happening, just in case it was legit. I pulled my phone from my back pocket and began constructing a tweet: “There is a chance that Daft Punk is at Coachella right n”
My phone died.
Yes, Christoph Waltz, that was in fact a Bingo.
It also meant that it was possible that Daft Punk was right in front of me and I couldn’t report the news to the rest of the Internet. I began freaking out, turning to Ray “What am I supposed to do? I’m going crazy that I can’t tweet this shit right now.”
“Just don’t worry about it. Enjoy the show man.”
So I did. I just closed my eyes and got tranced for a while. After a while it became clear that that wasn’t really Daft Punk and it made it much easier to calm down. My eyes remained closed and I crawled deeper into my subconscious, attempting to get the most of my final moments of the natural universal connection that is Coachella. Ray would later tell me he was a bit concerned, but didn’t disturb me for fear of ruining a moment of Nirvana. I went to some dark places. I went to some darker ones. And others that were bright, but faded.
Arcade Fire does that to me.
The set ended with a whimper, not a bang, as Arcade Fire unplugged their instruments and wandered the crowd singing “Wake Up” a capella before they eventually wandered backstage.
Ray and I walked back to camp. I ate chili cheese fries again.
At camp we sat exhausted. I had one cigarette left, and we had to hit the road right when the festival began allowing it at 2am in order to catch our flight home. Before packing, I sat in my broken lawn chair and pondered the night sky with my final smoke. And I still don’t think Ray believes me, and it’s totally possible that my state of exhaustion was causing hallucinations, but I fucking swear I saw a shooting star.
I made a wish just in case.
We snag a picture with our neighbors Mike and Chris before saying our final goodbyes and rolling out, moving Coachella from our present state and beginning to formally shift the experience to my memory.
I want to thank everyone that helped and supported me with the process of #CoachellaBingo2014. My friends and family for supporting my silly ideas. Thank you again to Leah, Sean, and Amanda for designing my bingo cards. And most of all thank you to Ray Sheerin, my partner in crime. He took every picture I needed him to and was always down for whatever the festival called for us to do. I really couldn’t have done it without you man. Thank you.
And to the reader, thank you for following along, and my apologies for taking so long. I promise I’m done bothering you about Coachella until next year’s lineup is announced.
I hope you enjoyed what this process produced. If you did, stick around – Bonnaroo is less than a month away.
Until then though, #CoachellaForever.