I sat down in my desk chair, opened up my computer and clicked on the Coachella live stream on YouTube. As has been my tradition the past few years, I began to pretend I was actually there. And, just by pretending, I was able to enjoy the music and the experience while remaining free of the superficial, overrated, ridiculous and annoying spectacle the festival has become.
I walked by someone who was carefully placing an ecstasy tablet inside their burrito before nomming on it to kingdom come. I thought the sign that said “chicken burrito with a kick” was referring to some peppers or salsa, but I guess I was naive. Next to the speed-y burrito eater was a girl sprawled out across the dirt with drool hanging from the corner of her mouth and the look of someone stuck in a 5-by-6 box who just really wants to get out. Poor girl: All she wanted was a good time. That’s all she wanted — a good time. But, instead, she got caught up in the less-than-glamorous nature of the festival.
Oh, my goodness! Andre 3000 from Outkast cruised right by me in overalls with his posse following close behind. Some girl with a crop top and short shorts pranced up to him and, with wide eyes and a gawking smile, excitedly exclaimed, “Dre, my last name is Jackson!” He looked at her beaming face with a disinterested sidewards glance before sighing heavily and saying, “OK, OK … I’m sorry, Ms. Jackson … oooo, I am for real,” in an exasperated monotone. She jumped up and down while clapping and then sprinted back to her sistahs to give them the lowdown on her life-defining moment. The superficiality and the desire to be able to simply say these things happened did not end there.
I was then squished between a shirtless Chewbacca from Alabama and a shirtless Fat Bastard from Scotland while waiting for the next band to come onstage. Chewy looked over to Fatty and said, “Yo, Fatty, is Lord-ay coming on soon? Dang, I’ve just been dying for some Lord-ay. She really does make me feel like a royal. Yes, like a beautiful and misunderstood royal — like Elsa.” Fatty just nodded his head — or at least I think he did, because it was hard to tell with his quadruple chin — in agreement.
I was bouncing along to Nas when Jay-Z emerged from the clouds and floated down to grace us with his presence. Unfortunately, he did not pay attention to me when I started to aggressively push my way through the crowd while yelling, “Let me be the Yeezy to your Jigga!” People misunderstood this terribly and thought I was super into Jay-Z, or something — like, “into” into. The ignorance made me tear up a bit.
I went to MGMT and wondered what witchcraft they were casting to convince us they could ride on the momentum of three popular songs over six years. I went to Pharrell Williams and someone next to me made a “Get Lucky” joke, to an uproarious reception from his friends. I went to Arcade Fire, because I was pegged as “an Arcade Fire kid” a few months ago, and I needed to keep my rep up.
Of course, I posted at least four Instagram pictures per day. Some were of the bands, some of the super rad, chillzees sunsets behind the ferris wheel, some of my nose that looked like the sun’s rays went apeshit on it, some selfies of me and my friends with the caption “Literally best weekend of my lifeeee #YOCO,” some with girls that had strands of sunflowers around their head as if they were the messiahs of Indiedom, etc.
Then, I closed my computer, hopped in a warm shower and got into my super comfy bed here in Berkeley. I nestled into my pillow and thought about all of those people down in Indio, Calif., tossing and turning in their urine-smelling, dried vomit-covered tents. I was already counting down the seconds until next year, when I could party my socks off while in front of my computer in snowman footsie pajamas all over again. Thank you, live stream.
Taran Moriates is the arts columnist. Contact him at [email protected].