Concert Review: Coachella Day 3 – Lily Allen, Willie Nelson, Placebo

The third and final day of Coachella.  Really, what else can I say except that very fragment: the third and final day of Coachella.  It practically speaks for itself, and it would save me from having to go through the standard Coachella review format, “this band sucked and this band was okay and they played these songs and good lord it was hot and rock music is dead,” et cetera.  I was sunburned, tired, hungry, and was disappointed that, for the first time in the six years I’ve been going to the festival, I wasn’t able to be at the concert from the opening of the doors to the very end of the day.

There are certain things you learn going to the concert, simple things like remaining hydrated and scheduling which bands you want to see beforehand.  There are other tidbits you acquire too; like that it’s really easy to sneak in whatever you want (a friend of mine was able to sneak in a professional camera on Saturday, and I saw a ton of people sneaking in pipes and drugs) and that you generally don’t want to get too inebriated during the show.  This last bit was something I had learned some years ago when I was the designated driver for a number of highly intoxicated people.  Unfortunately, on Sunday, I forgot all about this lesson I learned, and spent the entire morning and early afternoon in a daze.

When I came to I was lying on my back in a puddle of muddy grass, all of my money was gone, I had a splitting headache and there was an Infected Mushroom sticker stuck to my ass.  It was equal parts unpleasant and hilarious.

While I was sifting through trash bins looking for empty water bottles to trade in (10 empties got you a full one, a brilliant way to get thousands of poor concert-goers to voluntarily clean up the grounds and risk a Hepatitis infection) the Roots played on the main stage and were probably the best hip-hop act I saw the entire weekend.  Everybody that reviewed this show mentioned their cover of “Masters of War,” and I’ll tell you exactly why: because it was awesome.

Afterward, Willie Nelson took the stage and sang a blend of country and folk songs with a number of his family members playing with him.  Now, I was talking to a friend about this, but where exactly did Willie Nelson come from?  It seems as though I’ve always known about him but don’t really know how he became a legend, other than he’s released a large number of albums and the well-known fact that, and I quote a nearby person who was giggling after he said it, “Willie Nelson smokes pot.”  However, he did play several songs I recognized (like “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” and a Merle Haggard song I can’t remember the name of), even though I’m not altogether too familiar with that genre.  I suppose that’s why he’s a legend; he’s just embedded somewhere deep in our cultural consciousness.  I’m just happy that I can now say that I’ve seen him play live (something I wish I could say for Johnny Cash).

After Willie I went over to the second stage for Placebo, who gave a decent performance that I can’t really complain about, but didn’t enthrall me all that much.  They didn’t play much from their early albums, which was really disappointing (“Scared of Girls” or “Slave to the Wage” would have been a nice way to pump up the crowd), but they did good renditions of “Special K” and “Every You and Every Me” and ended with their cover of “Running up That Hill.” 

On my way out I ran into a few friends that were going to watch Air play and I asked them what they had seen.  They said that Paul van Dyk was very good and that Against Me! were absolutely awful.

I then went and saw Lily Allen who, despite forgetting the lyrics to a number of her songs, put on an entertaining show.  Her music was fun and punctuated with splashes of reggae and jazz, and when she sang “Knock ‘em Out” I don’t think there was a person in the place not singing along.  It’s a bit early in her career, but she’s proving to be a spectacular pop musician with a lot of potential: like a young Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, only British and, you know, good.  I don’t think she performed quite as well as she could have, but it was still a fun set.

I’m unaware if there were technical problems, but Air, who were supposed to go on ten minutes after Lily Allen began, didn’t get on stage until well after she was over.  Because of their belatedness, they had to cut their set very short and, to once again quote somebody nearby, “A lot of people came to see them play and they all got hosed.”  They played only a few of their songs and ended with, I believe, “Sexy Boy.”  It was too bad they were cut so short.  In a previous year when they played the main stage they were spectacular and, in the impending surge of energy that would be required for the riot everybody was anticipating to follow Rage, it was lovely and relaxing after another ridiculously hot day.

This was the end of Coachella weekend, and after a long walk through a series of dusty parking lots I got on the road with some friends and headed home.  We’ve all decided, next year they should extend it to four days.  In the meantime, however, there’s only a year to go before the next festival.  I hope to see you there (I’ll be the unshaven, sunburned guy).

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.