Twelve hours from now, I’ll begin a marathon weekend seeing legendary rock acts from my parents’ youth. Desert Trip, aka Oldchella, takes place over the next two weekends.
I originally had no plans to attend this once-in-a-lifetime concert due to the steep price tag. But when the secondary market began to fall drastically in the last few weeks, I looked into it. I got someone to take my Sunday shift at the NFL, which is always difficult because that’s when most of the games are played. Then on Thursday, I snagged a ticket for $130 (including StubHub fees) for a ticket that was nearly $1,000 at retail price.
First off, why did the secondary market plummet? I have a few theories. For one, the target demographic isn’t the type to go to something like this on a whim. Most of the Baby Boomer generation made plans once the original on-sale date was announced and went and got their tickets. When the second weekend was announced prior to the on-sale, that offset some of the demand that came with it.
Goldenvoice, the promoter of this event who are also behind Coachella, allowed 8 tickets to be purchased per person. This made scalpers out of regular people, thinking they’d offset the high ticket cost by selling off half their own inventory. When Goldenvoice released hundreds of additional tickets about a month out from the concert, that destroyed the demand since the event was no longer really a sell out. Costco even started offering tickets at a discounted rate to their members. All of a sudden you had tickets being dumped on the secondary market and going for as low as $100. This is insane and also why I’m going to be in Indio this weekend.
Friday it’s Bob Dylan then the Rolling Stones. Saturday, it’s Neil Young then Paul McCartney. Sunday, it’s The Who leading into Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. Of the six iconic acts performing, I’ve only seen Neil Young – back at Outside Lands in 2012 with Crazy Horse. That also happens to be my least anticipated acts.
With pulling the trigger on a ticket at the last minute, it also meant trying to find accommodations in the 11th hour. My roommate Jordan, who is going Weekend 2 with his parents, jumped on board with going the first weekend as well once the prices fell so hard. His car isn’t in top working order so we had to find a ride out there at the last minute. I hit Craigslist and put up a rideshare wanted ad, and now we are riding out there today with a total stranger when I get off work.
Jordan also found us a place to stay with a friend we are in a fantasy football league with. The place is walking distance from the venue and has a dope built-in arcade. We’re paying pretty low to crash on a couple air mattresses. This is nothing new to me having done a couple dozen music festivals the last year all over the country, often making plans last minute as far as accommodations.
I’m excited to get out to this festival. In less than 12 hours, I’m going to see the fucking ROLLING STONES. Holy. Shit. Here’s my ranking from most anticipated to least anticipated act of the weekend.
1. Rolling Stones – Of all the acts performing, I probably know their material the best. They have a new blues album coming and I’m curious what they’ll play from that. The album also features Eric Clapton. While I don’t expect a lot of guest appearances, I think at least one will happen and during the Stones seems the most likely. Tracks I most want to hear: “Start Me Up,” “Wild Horses,” “Miss You,” “Beast of Burden,” “Brown Sugar.”
2. Roger Waters – his Mexico City shows last week featured an insane setlist that has my expectations a mile high. He performed Pink Floyd favorites like “One of These Days” and “Fearless” for the first time ever as a solo artist. I also wonder how many octogenarians near me will be tripping balls during this set, it should make for great people watching. Tracks I most want to hear: “Comfortably Numb,” “Money,” “Empty Spaces.”
3. Paul McCartney – In the ultimate music query of Beatles or Stones, I lean the latter. But everyone I’ve ever talked to who has seen Macca has considered it one of the two or three best shows they’ve ever seen. I know he refuses to play certain Beatles classics so I’m not quite sure which of my favorites won’t make the cut, but his catalog is so insanely deep I doubt there’s any chance of being disappointed. McCartney also seems to love the Polo Ground after performing at Coachella in the past decade and making trips to the festival as a spectator. Wouldn’t be surprised if he has special tricks up his sleeve. Tracks I most want to hear: “Let It Be,” “Helter Skelter,” “Get Back.”
4. The Who – I’ve watched countless hours of The Who performing live on YouTube and was always blown away. They’re responsible for probably my favorite Super Bowl halftime show of all-time. They’re easily my most anticipated opening act of the weekend, leading into Waters on Sunday. I probably know their catalog as well as The Stones. Tracks I most want to hear: “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley,” You Better You Bet.”
5. Bob Dylan – Have the lowest expectations for his set but have never seen him. I heard he can be wildly inconsistent during a show. Also that you sometimes have no fucking clue what he’s playing until three verses in, even if it is a classic. Still, while I don’t expect it to be the best set, I do expect a couple goosebump-inducing moments. This will have me thinking, “Holy shit, this weekend is really happening.” Tracks I most want to hear: “All Along the Watchtower,” “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Neither of these songs he’s played this year, so I’m uneasy.
6. Neil Young – I dig Neil’s music, I really do. But his Outside Lands set in 2012 was one of the most disappointing headline sets at a festival I’ve ever seen. I left halfway through to go see Justice after he and Crazy Horse played the same single chord for five straight minutes. I’m hoping he pulls together some greatness and I’ll absolutely lose my shit if he plays “Hey Hey, My My” or “Heart of Gold.”
Still can’t believe I’m about to head out to the desert for this. It doesn’t seem real. When I’m back at work on Monday, I expect it to all seem like it was a dream.