Music Update: Desert Trip

This week I wanted to share my experience at Desert Trip with all of you! Desert Trip was a three day music festival put on by Goldenvoice, the same company that puts on Coachella and Stagecoach. The festival was held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio and took place from October 7th to the 9th and October 14th to the 16th. If music festivals fall on two weekends, I usually like to attend weekend one for the celebrity appearances, hyped up artists, and bragging rights, but I attended weekend two of Desert Trip and let me tell you, I was not disappointed in the slightest. The weekend was filled with incredible performances, killer food, and rock ‘n’ roll history in the making. In order to fill you in about the entirety of the weekend, here are the days broken down:



Friday night: Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones

The main difference between weekend one and weekend two with Bob Dylan’s performance was the fact that Dylan received the Nobel Prize for literature after weekend one, making him the first songwriter to ever receive the very prestigious award. The 75 year old played a pretty mellow set that included songs such as “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Make You Feel My Love,” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.” I spent the majority of my time sitting down and listening to Dylan sing as his performance was a little more subdued than some of the other bands performing that weekend. It was a nice start to the festival and allowed me to sit back and really enjoy every note of Dylan’s music. This was my first time seeing Dylan perform and I greatly enjoyed his set! His raspy voice remains iconic to his singing and according to my parents, there are usually some times that you cannot make out his words while he is performing and speaking to the audience, a classic happening with the singer. This performance was one of his better ones in recent years and his enunciation was clearly stronger. His music and voice enchanted the crowd, but I do really wish he would have interacted with the crowd a little more. All in all, being able to see Dylan perform was an event that I had been looking forward to since I was a kid listening to his music.



Following Bob Dylan was The Rolling Stones which was the highlight of my Friday night. Mick Jagger was a fireball on stage, interacting with the crowd, and supplying incredible vocals along with Keith Richards. Going along with the comic theme of “Oldchella” for the music festival, Mick commented “I still refuse to do age gags, but, welcome to the Catch ‘Em Before They Croak Festival.” The Stones played top hits such as “Sympathy for the Devil,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Paint It Black,” and my personal favorite, “Start Me Up,” which was accompanied by an incredible fireworks show behind the stage. The band was extremely engaged with the audience, keeping the crowd pumped up throughout the entirety of their set. From the people in the pit to the general admission seating in the back, Mick had the whole crowd singing along while he showed off his forever famous dance moves on stage. Electrified, passionate, and iconic are three words that I would definitely use to describe the performance put on by The Rolling Stones. Still to this day, they remain high on the list of bands that truly dominate rock ‘n’ roll.

Saturday night: Neil Young and Paul McCartney

Saturday night was definitely one that I was looking forward to as I had seen Paul McCartney in concert two years ago, but I had never seen Neil Young live. I was anticipating a performance with incredible vocals and timeless songs and Young was sure to deliver. The stage was set with teepees and desert night inspired graphics on the massive screen that served as the backdrop for the stage. Young began his set and mesmerized the audience with songs like “Old Man” and “Harvest Moon” as the almost full moon slowly rose in the sky behind him. His band, Promise of the Reel, supported him in a phenomenal set that included songs such as “Rockin’ In The Free World,” “Cowgirl In The Sand,” and “Heart of Gold” which was accompanied by Young’s harmonica. The most unique part of Young’s set was the moment he took to speak about a California law which he proclaimed benefits big seed-selling corporations and hurts local farmers. The law prohibits farmers from selling their organic seeds unless it is at a location that is within three miles from their own farm. He gave a small speech on the subject and then proceeded to break the law by throwing packets of non-local seeds into the crowd. It was an interesting twist on the set that I was not expecting. The only disappointment I have with Neil Young’s performance is the fact that he didn’t sing “Sugar Mountain,” a personal favorite of mine, but besides the lack of one song, his performance was one for the books.



An intermission occurred after Young’s set and after 45 minutes of waiting past the posted start time, Paul McCartney took the stage. Even with this late start, McCartney did not disappoint. He played for three hours and never once did he fault. Paul McCartney’s set was magical, inspiring, and brought tears to my eyes numerous times. He opened his set with The Beatles hit “A Hard Day’s Night” and continued the night with a mix of The Beatles, Wings, and his own songs all sung with Paul’s rhythmically soul capturing vocals. McCartney was a sensation with the crowd and sung his heart out as this concert was the last stop on his One on One Tour. “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Blackbird,” “Queenie Eye,” and “Eleanor Rigby” were just a few of the songs McCartney sang throughout the three hour set. In the middle of his performance, McCartney brought out Rihanna, “the queen of Barbados,” and they sang FourFiveSeconds. My heart just about stopped watching this performance live in front of me. He was also able to collab with Neil Young on a few songs, making for one memorable stage presence. Bringing the night to a close with “Live and Let Die” accompanied by a fireworks show and “Hey Jude,” Paul McCartney made my Saturday night one that I will never forget.

Sunday night: The Who and Roger Waters

The final night of Desert Trip was ended on a very high note. With the second weekend of the music festival being the last stop on their 50th tour, The Who brought extreme energy to the crowd, traveling across the entirety of the stage and delivering soulful rock ballads. I had seen The Who twice already and was excited to see what they would bring to this performance. I was definitely expecting high energy and a spectacle of a show and The Who certainly delivered that to me. Lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and singer Pete Townshend accompanied by their band delivered an incredible show with popular hit songs from various albums. The band even delivered some songs from Quadrophenia, the sixth studio album and second rock opera released by The Who. “Love, Reign O’er Me” was my favorite song from the Quadrophenia set as I feel that it really showcases the rock opera’s sound and feeling. It never lets up and it’s full of passionate sound and vocals. Other favorites from The Who’s set include “Baba O’Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Eminence Front,” and “Who Are You.” Daltrey and Townshend’s amazing stage presence really brought their show to life. They filled their set with electrified songs, “Oldchella” humor, and an energy that can only be described as emotional and historic.


Roger Waters was the close to the three day music festival and he definitely wrapped up the weekend in an iconic way. For about fifteen minutes before the singer took the stage, surround sound speakers provided sounds of low flying helicopters, dogs barking, and machine guns accompanied by panoramic visuals. The introduction of the show included a surround sound of a heart beating which provided anticipation and really set the stage for the show to follow. Waters played “Money,” one of the most iconic Pink Floyd songs, and amped it up with both saxophone and guitar solos. “Wish You Were Here,” “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Time,” and “Another Brick In the Wall” were also among the top songs of the night. The stage played an integral role in his performance, transforming into an industrial building complete with smoke stacks for part of the set. The set was very well rounded complete with amazing vocals from Waters and Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, his two main background singers. They enchanted the crowd with numerous solo performances and bridging together the older and younger generations present at Desert Trip. The most shocking part of Waters’ performance was “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” in which a giant inflatable pig with “F*ck Trump and his wall” traveled throughout the front of the audience and was later destroyed. All in all, Roger Waters really took me to another world with his performance. It was the perfect artistic way to end the historic rock ‘n’ roll three day festival.