Coachella 2006

In honor of Coachella this month, I feel inspired to share my story of my one and only experience at Coachella, 11 years ago.

I went to Coachella strictly to see Tool for the first time. In this post, you will see how I came upon getting the tickets. I should mention that at that time the tickets cost me $109 each for just one day.

Below is the poster of the line up. I went on April 30th.

I have described some of my experience seeing Massive Attack at Coachella in this post. Finally, in this post I describe in a general sense my views on my planning my trip to Coachella. All these little snippets made me realize that I have never shared at length the entire experience. So here it goes.

Getting the tickets was stressful because it was my senior year in high school and I had to convince not only my dad to let me go, but also my uncle to let my cousin go with me. At first the only grounds that my dad would let me go was to have my cousin drive his car, unfortunately for some reason I don't remember, his dad wouldn't let him drive. Thus I had to convince my dad further to let me drive. I had my first car at the time, a 1990 Volvo 740 that had some issues and couldn't go a speeds over 70 or so. He let me drive and we prepared by going to the dollar store to get snacks and caffeine pills and energy drinks. We reserved a room at a Motel 6 in Blythe, California the day before the concert. We left early Saturday and I drove us all the way to Blythe blasting music and having a blast. Once we got to Blythe we hung out at Denny's nearby, watched Harry Potter movies in the room and went to bed early.

We woke up bright and early the next morning and continued our road trip to Indio, California. We got there just before the grounds were opening up, around 11am or so. We hung out in the parking lot, put on sunscreen and hydrated. Everyone around was super excited and yelling out compliments about my Tool bumper stickers. The line to get in was long. Once we got in we went to find something to drink and shade to hang out in. It's unfortunate that we came to see one band, and the headlining band at that, so we had to wait about 10 or so hours until we would see them. Not the best planning at the time. It's too bad because looking at the lineup now, there are quite a few bands that I currently like and would of loved to watch. We spent the day buying expensive water and Gatorade and just walking around kind of bored. There was a lot of people watching. The thing I remember witnessing the most was a good number of shirtless guys with only one nipple ring. There were also a lot of LGBQ people there to see Madonna. I remember going near her stage but I don't think we saw her at all. We checked out the art and the food. I brought a disposable camera and took some pictures, I think. I really can't remember.

Hours before Tool was to come on stage, we hung out at that stage and got a good spot up close. We watched Matisyahu, which was entertaining since we have never heard of him before. You could instantly recognize people in the crowd that came for him. Massive Attack came on before Tool and they played an incredible show as I said in the post linked above. I only knew one of their songs at the time and they did play it which was amazing. We were so tired at that point that we sat down. The speakers were intense and vibrated every cell of our body. Just a ton of people watching at that point and trying to prevent exhaustion. After Massive Attack left the stage, a mass of people started closing in on us. There was a delay due to some lighting issue and we had to wait at least a half hour for that to get fixed. Just as Tool was about to come on my cousin started to feel dehydrated. I have to say that he is a cheap bastard and probably didn't buy enough water. Since he wasn't feeling well, he decided to walk to the side of the crowd and sit in the grass. The field is huge and I had no idea where he was, couldn't see a damn thing. They started to come on stage and I was yelling and screaming in excitement but I was also incredibly worried about my cousin so I decided to try and find him. I started walking back further into the crowd. As I was doing this I was kicking myself, I'm finally seeing my favorite band for the first time and I'm going to miss it! So I stopped where I was and just started getting into the music. I don't know if it was a mixture of my excitement, my nervousness, and the fact that I was alone, but a lot of people surrounding me were staring at me. I just ignored it and rocked on. They played an amazing show, the visuals were astounding. I was upset that I had moved further back because it was harder to see them, but I could still see enough.

The setlist for that show was:
The Pot
Forty-Six & 2
Eon Blue Apocalypse
The Patient

That was their first performance since 2002. It was a great show.

After the end, we all expected an encore that never happened. Maynard said things in between songs that I couldn't catch. The crowd was crazy and aggressively intense as they usually are in rock/metal shows. Once we all knew they were done, I immediately tried to find my cousin. I don't think we even had cell phones at the time, or maybe I did and he didn't. Eventually near the exit, I stood up on a curb and looked out for him. Thankfully he is tall and I was able to find him. He was okay and just watched the whole show from the side. We headed to the car as fast as we could through the crowd. Since we had gotten there so early we had a close parking spot which took eternity to get out of. If I remember correctly, there's really only one exit out of the lot.

Eventually we made it out of the fairgrounds and towards the highway on our way home. In hindsight, it was a disaster of an idea to drive all the way home after the show. It had to be close to midnight or later by the time we left. I didn't have a choice because my uncle wanted Ryan to go to school the next day. I was able to miss it. As I drove, Ryan fell asleep pretty shortly after we left the venue. I was able to get one caffeine pill from him which gave me energy for about an hour. I blasted A Perfect Circle to keep myself awake. I was struggling and I absolutely hate waking people up from sleep so I never did get any more caffeine pills from him. As we neared Phoenix, it was morning rush and I was crashing hard. I nearly fell asleep on the wheel, there was a point that I veered way off the road but saved it in time. At last we got to my house and Ryan woke up and got into his car and went home then to school. I went right into my bed and slept for a good part of the day. That was the first time I had ever stayed awake for over 24 hours and I don't think I have ever done it again until recently.

The next day I went to school wearing my new Tool shirt, with tanned skin, and a new view on life. It was an experience of a lifetime, I just wish it was better planned but I'm glad I went and have this story to tell.

To this day, Ryan and I have been on one more road trip to California with just the two of us. We went to San Diego for his birthday to see Adam Ant. We were of age, we planned well, stayed for a few days and had a blast. He drove that time. Before Coachella, we had gone on a handful of trips to California, Tennessee, and Mexico, but all with family. We are very close and excellent travel buddies. I'm grateful for all the memories we share. Coachella is one we shake our heads at, poor planning but amazing experiences for our young age. Ha!

For my 17th birthday I got my first tattoo, you can see it on my left arm in the picture above. It is a tribute to Tool, amongst several other things. Some time after Coachella, I got a second tattoo, the same kind on the middle of my chest. The following year I got a third on my right arm. I have 3 third eyes, that remind me of my love for this band. Remind me of my love for eyes and how the are crucial to my life. To say the least...

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