Reflecting on Desert Trip -an amazing one-of-a-kind event just occurred here in Indio. The most amazing rock n’ roll artists still alive came together in one venue to produce a concert like no other. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who performed over two weekends at the Empire Polo Club. These legendary artists performed all of the songs that made them so famous to cheers and cries from the crowd for more.
The show was an all-ages event, with wristband access where many purchased a 3-day pass so they wouldn’t miss out on any of the remarkable artists performing. Car and tent camping was abundant as everyone vied for the best seat in the house when the shows began. But, this wasn’t all roughing it for Desert Trip guests, as air-conditioned tents went for about $10,000 a night and there were chef-created seven course tasting menus with matching wines on order. Flushing toilets and cupholders in the reserved seats ensured that this event was a step-up from the days of youth and being one with a sleeping bag on the ground. In the morning, event-goers had options to do pilates and yoga classes before the show began. On top of that, there was an organic food market, photography exhibition and vinyl record sales.
The show originally sold out in just three hours and had an estimated gross of $150 million. The great demand forced developers of the event to increase the number of reserved seats, getting the total to 35,000. Prices for reserved seats were as high as $1,599 and GA seats were as low as $399, the same as what they sell for at Coachella. General day passes were $199 and were the last to sell out. In total, the crowd numbered 75,000 people. Many likened the event to this millennium’s Woodstock, with such an incredible line-up at an amazing outdoor venue.
Mick Jagger entitled the event “Coachella for old people”, but people of all ages attended this fantastic event. At the age of 73, Jagger did not act like a senior citizen on stage and the average age of attendees was about 51. The Stones played a few of their top hits, some covers and new material as the first act on stage. These included:
- Ride ‘Em on Down – a cover from their forthcoming album (the first in more than 10 years)
- Come Together
- Start Me Up
- Gimme Shelter
- Wild Horses
- Honky Tonk Women
Neil Young was a definite crowd please and played some of his best riffs, including:
- Down by the River
- Heart of Gold
- Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders
Young joined together with Paul McCartney to play Why Don’t We Do It in the Road, a Beatles song that has never been played live. This night was pure magic for those who attended.
Roger Waters, the iconic Pink Floyd frontman, closed the first weekend with a number of politically-charged songs and diatribes. This included Trump’s head on a pig and wearing a Klan hood, while the Floyd song Pigs played.
The second weekend saw The Who take the stage, playing the same live set that they’ve been playing on tour since 2014. They played a number of their blockbuster hits like:
- Love Reign O’er Me
- Won’t Get Fooled Again
- Bob Dylan started his set around sundown, which included so many great classics like:
- Rainy Day Women #12 and 35
- Highway 61 Revisited
- Make You Feel My Love
- Pay in Blood
- Desolation Row
There is already speculation over a second show for next year: Desert Trip 2, with names like Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac filling the hypothesized bill. Many of the artists and developers of the original show weren’t sure how the concert would go, but everyone, including the show goers were very pleased to attend this one-of-a-kind event.