Desert Trip Festival Day Two Paul McCartney and Neil Young Indio Report OldchellaBy Russ Allsup
One pretty cool attraction that happened after the live bands played was the ‘Silent Disco’. This was a huge dome with dance lights where everyone that entered were given a set of headphones that would broadcast the music that the DJ was playing. Everyone was dancing together under the dome but if you were watching from the outside, it looked pretty funny. Kind of a cool idea though, as many of the campers nearby went to bed after the show. This way no one was disturbed by the disco.
After walking around I made my way to my friends RV and went to sleep and recharge for Dessert Trip Festival day #2.
The next morning my friend Bill and I walked around and took in the sights and sounds. There were various food booths along with tents with clothes and different things to wear and look hip and happening in. The fest was pretty well organized, with free showers and drinking water available for anyone who in need. There were a few large camping areas set up for people that wanted to stay onsite for the entire weekend.
As the sun started to set I made my way to the general admission area to watch one of my musical heroes, Neil Young, and his band Promise of the Real. Neil’s new band is made of guys about half his age and includes Willie Nelson’s son Lucas on guitar. I’d seen Neil probably about fifteen times play acoustically with no amplifiers and once when Pearl Jam backed him up in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when PJ singer Eddie Vedder fell sick from food poisoning about five songs into the show. That show was back around 1995, so I was overdue to see Neil rock out again. He started at 6:35 and ended at 8:30, cramming many of his classic songs as well as some new tunes.
Beginning his set by himself playing some solo acoustic numbers that included ‘Heart of Gold’, things switched up after about five songs when his band came out and turned up the volume. Playing a variety of songs from the NY catalog and tearing thru favorites like ‘Comes A Time’, ‘Down By The River’ (which must’ve went for about twenty minutes), ‘Powderfinger’ and more, both mellow and heavy. It was a complete a full set, ending with the amps cranked up for a rousing run through of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’.
After Neil Young and his band gave it their all, there was an intermission that gave the crowd a chance to get a second wind and get ready for one of the best- Paul McCartney.
One of my favorite things was getting to hear the Stones go thru their hits the night before and tonight we would hear a good number of The Beatles songs- the best of sixties back to back nights.
The lights dimmed and the multigenerational crowd went bananas when Sir Paul started at 9: 20 with some some video clips and prerecorded music throughout his career. His set list ran through many years of hits and was a lesson in Songwriting 101. This was one of the very best entertainers playing song after song that my parents have memories invested in, that I do also, and maybe one of these days my kids will. My mind was blown when he opened with probably my favorite Beatles song (it’s almost impossible to pick just one) “A Hard Days Night”. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch- far from it. Song after song after song kept the audience in bliss, as evidenced by the smiles that were everywhere throughout the massive festival grounds. How can you say one of his songs are better than the others? You can’t. One has favorites of his and most folks have many.
Among the highlights for me were “Helter Skelter”, “Love Me Do”, and “And I Love Her”. Neil Young came out again, playing guitar and sing on two songs.
By the end of the Macca’s set list (at 12:20 am), the thousands of fans were left completely satisfied and emotionally spent. There was nothing left to do but go back to the RV, sleep, dream and get ready for the third and final night of the festival, which features The Who and Roger Waters from Pink Floyd.