Just about a year ago, I was on the heels of my euphoric Coachella deflowering. I told you all that I would be attending the 2010 festivities. And just like 5% of bloggers out there, I stayed true to my word. I wasted no time snatching up my 3-day pass immediately after the tickets went on sale. It would have been downright criminal for me to miss out on the joy that I experienced in that unforgiving, sweltering desert heat back in April 2009.
So there I was, fresh on the heels of my return from a month in the United Kingdom. I tried to live in the moment while there, but for the most part, I was counting down the days until 4.16.2010.
Sprinting out of my final meeting on Thursday, I hailed a cab to SJC airport. Got there 2 hours early. Had to be certain that I wouldn't be late for what could have been the most important flight of my life. A quick Jack and Coke helped me deal with the oddly aggressive turbulence being coughed up by the clear Californian skies. A wildly humorous flight crew helped me cope with the guy sitting next to me that fell asleep with his mouth open. He recklessly brandished his drool each time his head tilted to the left in my direction. After 55 minutes in fear, I was on the ground at an LAX airport filled with people just like me. Dudes and dudettes alike were bubbling with excitement.
I went to sleep early on Thursday night. Figured that the sooner I got to sleep the sooner I'd be able to wake up and go play in the desert. Unfortunately, Coachella takes place in Southern California. This means that there was a clusterfuck's worth of traffic on the freeway. While driving in a hot red Mustang was a hard-on inducing experience unto itself, the 45-year old mini van driver next to us on the 60 freeway that was belting out classic rock songs became my anti-Viagra. The road and his hideous voice were collectively grating on my soul.
After quickly dropping our bags off, we were literally minutes from the Promised Land. Or at least that's what we were tricked into believing. Because, you see, between April 2009 and April 2010, a few things either happened or seem to have happened:
- Yuppies (not unlike myself - other than the fact that they're probably non-Black and I'm very Black) told all of their friends about how cool Coachella is; all of their friends showed up this year
- High schoolers convinced their parents and friends' parents that people at this festival don't do drugs or provide minors with alcohol (fucking liars); entire high school populations were represented
- An inordinate number of people became Jay Z fans (and/or Gorillaz fans and/or fucking Tiesto fans)
- Concert organizers did away with day passes, which made the stakes of wasting this ticket far too high
As a result, we stood in line for about 2 hours waiting to get in. All the while, the little woman behind me kept nagging her boyfriend:
"I'm going to faint", "I just want to scream", "If I scream, I'll probably faint", so on and so forth. Part of me wishes that she would have fainted. I got tired of hearing her complain.
Add to that the fact that people started passing around community bottles of water. But the fucking community never offered me a sip. This was upsetting.
After finally making it into the venue, we darted off to pay for $7 cups (thimbles) of Heineken. Not really a wise investment, but we were just biding time before the Jay Z performance. LCD Soundsystem was Jay's opening act. They were humorous. Random, but humorously entertaining nonetheless. Then...BAM (an exciting, zesty BAM).
Jay Z comes out. OMG. Jay Z performs hit records. OMG. Jay Z performs more hit records. OMG. Jay Z performs "Big Pimpin". Shit - I MIGHT PISS MY PANTS BECAUSE I'M JUST THAT FREAKING HAPPY. Jay Z brings out Beyonce. ZOMG. He delivered a flawless performance. And then BAM (an ominous, pessimistic BAM), his show was over. And where last year's Friday night performance left us heartened and excited about the days to come, this year's performance just gave off the vibe that everything would be downhill from there on out.
Fortunately, that was only partially the case. There were some talented musical acts on display. Some of my favorites being: Sia, MGMT, Passion Pit, David Guetta, Ra Ra Riot and even Temper Trap. Sweet disposition, anyone? But navigation to and fro these sets was so taxing amidst the 250,000 attendees (read: 75,000) that by the time I reached a stage I was content with downing two bottles of water and watching the acts passively. A far cry from 2009 Dontae that battled a drug addict in a dance contest...and won.
Additionally, anyone that read last year's entry is probably aware of the fact that I met a pretty special girl there. Attractive. Great personality. And above all else, she wasn't walking around naked. Lady in the streets...if you know what I mean.
I normally wouldn't fess up to such things, but I was secretly hoping that lightning would strike twice. After confirming that my 2009 love interest wouldn't be there to give me a shot a rekindling our fizzled flame, I figured I'd be on the lookout for a new Coachella love affair. And I was pretty certain that I'd found her. Standing there in all of her glory, with a guy hovering just a few feet behind her.
NOTE TO GUYS: If you're a girl's friend and nothing more, please use body language that relays this message to other guys. If you're just standing there in No Man's Land, you're either going to deter my shot at happiness or force me to put you in an awkward position by asking your female compatriot why you're standing there like a jackass while she's trying to enjoy (insert activity here). This is not good for our gender. Bros should always be willing to help other bros out. Bro Code #1.5. Bro Code #1 - Bros don't care if a girl has a boyfriend, because there is no way that he can be more Brotacular than I am.
Was this her beau or was this some bro trying to make a move just like I was? All I needed was for my buddy Rich to confirm that neither awkwardly placed guy nor drunk guy that came up and draped his arm around this angel-in-wait was actually what she would call her significant other. Being the great wing man that he is, Richard asks the question and she says "No." But after seeing the wave of joy that I was attempting to surf, she quickly wiped me out by stating that her "boyfriend was at home" waiting for her.
WTF? Was this really happening to me? My one shot at true, 2010 Coachella love died on the operating table. Add onto that my apparent allergic reaction to dust, smoke and unclean campers and you'd be certain that the Gods were intentionally pissing on my Coachella experience.
Sure. I might sound a bit bitter. But honest to God, I did have a lot of fun out there. Just not as much fun as I had last year. The event organizers seriously fucked up some of the logistical stuff. The event went from being one that only the Cool Kids knew about to one that Cools Kids and tens of thousands of posers now know about. I can only pray that this festival can return to the glory of yesteryear. We can't let commercialism steal this festival. I'm prepared to do my part to steal Coachella back.
2009. See 2010. What are the odds at an event hosted in LA......?