It's Only Rock'n Roll
Show start : 9:48pm Show end : 11:56pm
Pre-show info and live comments:
Friday October 14, 2016 : The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan
Saturday October 15, 2016 : Paul McCartney and Neil Young
Sunday October 16, 2016 : Roger Waters and The Who
Started my day at the site around 4:00pm strolling around the furthest reaches of GA to take pictures, while discovering many new food options I never knew existed way back there in the process. After pondering the many new choices, I settled on an organic wood fired flatbread with tomato sauce and three cheeses. Fresh, hot, and right out of the fire oven - it was mighty fine The nice looking California gals working at the counter may have been what initially lured me there, but it is the fantastic fresh flatbread (coupled with the gals) that will bring me back! For $10:00, it was the finest deal yet to be found, and was so happy I paid $4.00 at a neighboring stand for a large handcrafted blackcherry soda - yes handcrafted! But enough about my dinner.
The Stones brought it, and they brought it big time. They bounced back to my astonishment and beyond my expectations, and reminded me why I love the Stones - even these latter days of their career, they can still put on show worthy of their legacy. Leaning on the back rail of the PIT near the catwalk, I was in a really sweet spot - perfect perspective, great sound, and a place to lean back and rest my bones Opening with Jumping Jack Flash is always a a good sign, and it was a thousand times more exciting and invigorating than last weeks Start Me Up opener. Tonight the audience was blessed with Get Off my Cloud, Sweet Virginia, Live With Me, and Paint it Black vs, last week where I felt cursed by having to tolerate You Got Me Rocking, Out of Control, Mixed Emotions, and the lame Come Together (but I give them credit for attempting that). Hopefully those four from last week will stay off of any future setlist, as none of them compare to the four that took their place tonight. Thankfully no Prince cover - would have been a waste of precious setlist time. Mick did mention him though at one point, saying "like Prince used to say...Party!!!" - or something like that.
In addition to all that, there was a fantastic version of Midnight Rambler - almost a tour de force, as well as a blazing version of the new blues cover of Just Your Fool. Keith gifted us with a near perfect You Got the Silver, and have to say Ronnie's slide was superior on this one. It may have been the best version I've ever seen live due to Keith's sincere vocals and Ronnie's surprisingly great slide. As for Keith's playing in general, he played well enough given his age, his health, and being in the dry desert. The steely eyed look on his face before unleashing some sort of a dilapidated solo on Sympathy was priceless. Same with Midnight Rambler - he was prowling around the stage like a desert demon. He and Ronnie 'weaved' well, and when Keith couldn't finish a blues lick, Ronnie would finish it for him. Sometimes maybe it was intentional 'weaving', and other times it was Ronnie covering for Keith. The opening riff of Honky Tonk Women could have been heard a thousand miles away - it was loud and clear. The opening riff to Little T&A was seemingly concise and on target, but then I noticed Chuck hiding in the shadows and playing along to it on his keyboards in order to embellish Keith's ramshackled guitar playing. Sounded great, but would have preferred a f*cked up raw version with Keith and his guitar alone. As for Mick, he was off and on. He tried to make a joke about all the food choices - to paraphrase: "back in the old days it was a hot dog and a beer" (or maybe he said soda). "Now you have all these choices, with mushrooms being a popular choice" He was referring to magic mushrooms (psilocybin), but the joke seemed to go over most everyone's heads. Not many people were frying on mushrooms as far as I could tell (maybe some of the younger whippersnappers)- but alcohol and weed was in abundance. His vocals became nasally throughout to the point of being annoying, probably choosing to sing through his snout rather than his mouth in order to prevent the desert dust from infiltrating his throat. I can attest to the dusty atmosphere - when I got back to the hotel room I blew my nose and a cloud of dust billowed out of each of my ears!
As for Warhorses, Tumbling dice was music to my ears, as was Angie - a real beauty tonight. And then Gimme Shelter - seeing Sasha come out along the catwalk all alone, and then watching her belt out her solo was stunning - I almost had a tear in my eye. The rest of warhorses proved why they are warhorses...they're absolutely incredible tunes, and when matched with the other unique surprises tonight, they came across fresh and alive. Don't put all those warhorses out to pasture yet, as there's still alot of life in them when given the right treatment. Satisfaction indeed.
As for Dylan as opener tonight, I can only say that either you love him, you hate him, you don't understand him, all of those combined, or you don't care one way or the other. I loved it and was thrilled to be able to see him again - a true living legend.
To summarize, the Stones have set the bar pretty high for the rest of the weekend. Paul McCartney will not even come close (unless he plays a hundred songs), Neil has a very good chance, Dylan will be Dylan, The Who will certainly match them if not better them, while Roger Waters will be great but will perform an exact replica of what he did last week so points taken off for the lack of spontaneity in the festival spirit.
As for now I'm in desperate need of some sleep and will be dreaming of wood fired flatbread, black cherry soda, and an amazing Stones show. Looking forward to round two of weekend two tomorrow. Neil and Paul have their work cut out for them, and I hope they're getting lots of rest, because Lord knows they're gonna need it.
Photos by Kevin Mazur
That probably explains why the pit was packed for both performances. No one fled for the exits as they did a few songs into Dylan's set last weekend, and no one left for beers during the intermission. It was quite the endurance test, jostling for every extra inch of territory. Hopefully Saturday and Sunday won't be like that.
Now that I have four of six days under my belt, it's remarkable to note how Friday brings out the old-timers in the pit, while Saturday and Sunday sees the pit filled with kids. Do the parents slip off their wrist bands and give them to their children? Do they just not bother showing up for the weekend shows, which certainly seemed less packed?
Dylan was a different guy from the first weekend, definitely bringing his "A" game. While it is invidious to compare the two acts, since Dylan and the Stones are completely different these days, one could argue that Dylan's set was overall more satisfying, if only because expectations were so low. This time you could hear his words, and he was in a jolly mood. He even graced us with "Like A Rolling Stone" for apparently the first time in three years, a wonderful version as well. The downside was that it greatly reduced the chances of a guest appearance with the Stones.
Many idealists thought this festival would be a wonderful opportunity for cross-pollination, but it has been a bust by that measure. We got Neil and Paul last weekend, and possibly for Round Two, but that was it. Nobody wants to play with Roger Waters, for obvious reasons, and his intense Cirque du Soleil act doesn't lend itself to friendly jamming. Similarly, I don't think the Who really care about guests. The Stones bring out D-list guests at the drop of a hat, but not for Desert Trip. Quite odd.
On the other hand we did get a Stones show of historic proportions as they dug up seven songs that they didn't play at Desert Trip #1. Have they ever changed up the set list this much between consecutive concerts? Granted, none of the newbies were exactly rarities, with the exception of the world premiere of "Just Your Fool." But "Sweet Virginia" always seems like a virginal experience for me. Conversely "Get Off Of My Cloud" requires some deconstruction and then reconstruction, preferably without the cheesy keyboards.
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" is a much better way to start the show, although "Start Me Up" worked perfectly in the home stretch. Speaking of which, as I have said before, I got first-hand experience of how the so-called warhorses work for casual fans by watching my wife - and the people around us - go crazy during "Miss You," "Sympathy," etc. I have given up faking, and just face the stage, even when Mick and Sasha do their Vegas thing on the catwalk.
Oh, props, by the way, to Mick for finally ditching the silly gorilla suit for "Sympathy." Congrats to everyone for finally dressing well. Mick in various horizontal crimsons and reds and blues, Keith in blue, Charlie in yellow, and Ronnie with his purple equine shirt.
Everyone wanted Mick's opinion on Bob, and we got it: "We have never shared a stage with a Nobel Prize-winner before. You know something? Bob is like our own Walt Whitman. So I wanna congratulate him on a fantastic thing he's done."
Keith also chimed in, in a way that made you wonder if English was his first language: "I mean, hey, c'mon! Congratulations to Mr. Dylan for all his work. I can't think of anybody else who deserves it better."
Perhaps because the wind blew up and coated everyone with dust, Mick didn't chat as much between songs. Indeed he remarked towards the end, as his voice was clearly under strain that it was "like singing in a hairdryer."
Earlier on he joked, "They say if you can remember Desert Trip #1 you weren't really there." He also commented on the upscale festival food and beer, and how it was a "big AA meeting" backstage, and - semi-seriously - about how he and his like-minded Dartford pals thought they had discovered the blues. That led into "Just Your Fool," which gave us another tantalizing preview of the new album. I'd like to think they will be less stingy with "Blue and Lonesome" tracks in Vegas, but then again.
A lot of online comments about Keith's playing. Well, it is what it is. You take it or leave it. Show up and enjoy the moment, or stay home and watch video footage. I will say that "Little T&A" was a train wreck, or maybe it just paled in comparison to "You Got The Silver," which he nails every time.
A few other notes. Mick and Keith patted each other on the back after "Honky Tonk Women." The sax solo on "Brown Sugar" is now much truer to the original. Did Mick sing the same verse twice on "Brown Sugar"? Sasha's voice is way too high in the mix, especially on "Little T&A," which almost becomes her solo song. I strongly appreciate her for not singing "Woo!" at the end of each "Brown Sugar" stanza, as Lisa annoyingly did. "Midnight Rambler" was about a minute longer than last weekend, about 12:30. Again the crowd does not seem as responsive during the call-response section. But ain't that America?
Overall, a most enjoyable 1-2 punch from the Stones. They are certainly not the best act at Desert Trip, and now that Dylan outperformed on Friday, they may battle with McCartney to avoid bottom ranking. It just goes to show the extraordinary array of talent at Desert Trip - which I will gladly remember for the rest of my life. In some ways, I hoped "Oldchella" would be the last gasp of the Baby Boomer segment born during or just after WW2, but the next American president will be almost as old as the Stones, so these folks certainly have staying power, for better or worse.
Photos by Kevin Mazur
If DT was the ultimate Battle of The Bands, the consensus winner among Desert Trippers probably was Neil Young. He brought a new band, all of whom were at least 35 years younger than him (including two of Willie Nelson’s sons). The audience also loved McCartney’s generous, earnest set (including some numbers with Neil and Rihanna) and the Who’s thunderous performance. While the Stones are my favorite band and I enjoyed seeing them, I have a sense that their performance at DT 2.0 was not quite as good as these others. I just think the second half of the show—dominated by the warhorses-- is a little stale and complacent. They should reach a little deeper into their great catalogue. But don’t get me wrong. Their performance was certainly worth the Trip
A word about the event. It was extremely well organized. The sound and the video were crystal clear. It didn’t matter that you were sitting 80 yards away. The food was high quality street fare and reasonably priced. (Which was not true if you opted for the $500 per person "culinary experience”.) The staff was large, friendly, attentive and knew how to cater to this crowd. The crowd was enthusiastic and well mannered. Transportation was user friendly. Most importantly, the plentiful bathrooms were air conditioned and featured flush toilets. Very few lines anywhere. All in all, I think the fans had a great time. Expect another DT very soon.
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
While Dylan is a truly great songwriter, I have never found him to be a dynamic live performer. So my expectations were not high for his concert. But he surprised me with a pretty good set list and also that he actually looked out at the audience and smiled--twice! The sound system was the best I've ever heard. Because the Stones were to follow, I was in the pit on Keith's side about 8 people back from the stage and 3 people in from the catwalk. It was so hot and very cramped, and that made it physically unpleasant, but I still enjoyed Dylan's set more than I thought I would.
When the Stones came out, I forgot that my feet hurt and how uncomfortable I was in the heat. They looked good, they sounded good and we got to hear Get Off My Cloud, Paint it Black, Angie, Live with Me and Sweet Virginia! I was delighted with those numbers and the new Just Your Fool. The IORR intro was badly mangled, but that's part of the fun of a Stones concert. I thought they were in fine form and was looking forward to the Vegas shows.... On Saturday afternoon I met a woman who had to be 85 (she said her son is 65) and I asked her how she liked the Stones show the night before. She said she had never thought much of the Stones, but after that performance, she was now a fan. The first Stones show is always an eye opener for people.
Which brings me to my eye opening first Neil Young concert. I have always loved Neil's music. I consider Everybody Knows this is Nowhere to be in the top 10 albums of all time. Yet I never got around to seeing him live before. My loss! He was utterly wonderful. I was hoping for a long Down by the River, as that is one of my favorite songs, but weekend 1 got that. Cowgirl in the Sand was a close second for me and it was truly glorious. I have heard so many people rave about POTR and all the praise is well-deserved. They were quite impressive.
McCartney did his usual show, which was good as always. I enjoy singing along to all those great songs. It is fun to sing along with 75,000 people. The best part of the concert was the duet with Neil Young. Paul really looked good. He looked happy and healthy.
I love The Who and they were great and Pete Townsend was very emotional, which made me very emotional. The last show of their 50th anniversary show. Townsend played as hard as he ever has. Daltry missed a few notes, but hit the important ones. It was a wonderful but bittersweet performance.
The came Roger Waters. My first "Pink Floyd" concert. After standing in the pit for hours Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday, my feet were in too much pain to stand any longer. I moved the far left side of the pit and sat on the grass to watch and listen. I noticed a woman to the left of the stage who was lit up and moving her arms to the music. I was confused about her until I realized that she was in the small section reserved for hearing impaired people and she was signing for them. When there were no vocals, she signed which instruments were playing. When there were vocals, she signed the lyrics. She did this for the entire concert and must have been quite exhausted by the end. It was beautiful to watch her, but Water's visuals on the big screen soon took all my attention. And I have to say: I was totally blown away by his show. The sound was perfect. The visuals were so creative. The music was so precise and beautiful.
After the three nights in the desert, I was so glad I made it to Desert Trip. The musical experience was just lovely. So many people think certain performances were better than others, but you cannot compare the six acts at Desert Trip because to compare them is like comparing apples to oranges. Each band played a different style of music. Each band was the best there is for its style of music. Desert Trip was the ultimate line up. I will cherish those memories forever.
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
After a fantastic show in Pomona on Wednesday, I headed to Indio to get ready of go see Lisa Fischer’s concert at a resort nearby in Indian Wells.. At first, I wasn’t sure I was at the right hotel, but when I got into the lobby the first thing I heard was Rolling Stones music playing and was pretty sure this must be the place! I made my way to the ballroom where Charlie Watts walked right past me and I knew I was… Keith was reportedly also in the audience although I didn’t see him. Sasha Allen joined Lisa for a couple songs in the encore including a fantastic version of Wild Horses. Great evening.
After the concert I made my way to the car/camping area of Desert Trip to settle in for four nights sleeping in a tent in the desert. I must admit I was definitely apprehensive about the camping in the desert aspect of the road trip, but was quickly relieved by the process and ease of getting in and all set up. With a little help in the tent set-up by a friendly neighbor, I was completely set-up for the week-end within fifteen minutes of arrival.
With pit ticket in hand and no one but me to slow me down, I set out on a mission of getting to the rail for Friday nights show. While there was plenty of things to do at the camping center (food, pinball, yoga, casino, etc) this trip and especially this night was going to be focused on the music and more specifically The Rolling Stones. I lined up at what a couple of attendants told me was the closest entrance at approximately 11AM (still a dozen or so people back in line) and settled in and waited for the 2PM gates opening. I made good time to the next gate where they scanned tickets and checked bags.. Then I was off on a foot race for the rail.. It was a long run, and the heat was almost overwhelming ( I remember thinking to myself that if I kicked the bucket while running for the pit of a Rolling Stones show, there’s worse things my obit could say). I made it to the rail, the perfect spot I had hoped for, about a third of the way up the catwalk- Keith’s side, I latched on to it and didn’t move. I quickly made friends in my area (stones fans are the BEST) and we looked out for each other for most of the weekend (saving spots etc). I also was very impressed with how many young international fans where there.
Bob Dylan came on shortly after 6, and I must say, having seen Dylan a couple times over the years, I was very impressed with his set and he genuinely seemed happy. Perhaps it was the Nobel Prize, but he smiled almost non-stop that night.. was great to see and he sounded great in comparison to other times I’ve seen him.
Finally, after fighting off scammers and others trying to bully their way to the rail who arrive late and trey to scam their way to the front) I settled in for what was likely my best experience at a Rolling Stones concert. Ever. The whole concert was amazing, the standout songs for me were (I believe the first time being played live) Just your Fool, Sweet Virginia, Angie, Live with Me and a touching You Got the Silver.. Ronnie and Keith really seemed to be connected during that song. The Friday was the worst weather and dust day of the week-end and you could really see Mick struggling with it. It was no surprise to me at all when Mick announced his throat issues a few days later.. Keith’s eyes were also very bloodshot.. but that could be related to a number of things, I just remember thinking how glad I was I was able to see how bloodshot his eyes were. My spot on the rail was right where Mick, Keith, and Ronnie all made their stops on the catwalk for pics etc.. perfect. The only person between me and the stage that night, (young security dude) told me afterwords that he had never seen someone so happy and mellow at a concert.that I had stood there the whole night with just a huge smile on my face... and I’m sure he was right.. I was happy and thrilled the entire night.
The balance of the weekend was phenomenal. The standouts for me where the Who and the one act I hadn’t seen yet, Roger Waters. WoW! What a show!! I knew we were in for a treat when Pete Townsend told us that the pig in Roger’s show really does fly… It was an amazing spectacle and the music was fantastic.
Desert Trip 2 was the best music festival I have ever been to and likely ever will. I soaked in every second of the music, and was able to enjoy all the peripheral activities as well… from the photography tent to the pinball to the wide variety of foods.. The Coachella organizers really do know how to throw a party. If there is another one, I would highly recommend the camping option as it was so nice to just stumble back to the tent at night and crash while others battled the cars and shuttles. Also nice in the mornings to roll out and be right there to line up early… PS. For the Road Trip pt 2 see the Las Vegas Oct 22 reports
Photos by Mike Doran
Photos by Hauke Jürgensen
Photo by Bjørnulf Vik
This page will change over the next few days, as you and other fans send reviews, set lists and reports. Please send your e-mail to IORR. Thanks! For details and great photos from the Rolling Stones and their World Tour get the IORR magazines.