I've been to one Coachella and that was in 2003. Although the motive behind the hellacious trek from Long Beach to Indio was to see the first Stooges gig in nearly three decades, I ended up witnessing something way cooler than a shirtless Iggy.
You heard me. I saw a train of circus elephants walking in unison across the empty field behind an area where White Stripes fans were watching their beloved duo fight through sound issues that stemmed from an unforgiving desert wind.
Coachella was hyped as some special gathering where all sorts of free-spirited mumbo jumbo supposedly takes place, but a freakin' elephant parade? This was too much.
At first I was scared. I wondered what in the hell elephants were doing at a festival and took deep breaths to counter the overwhelming sense of impending doom. But after counting seven of them and realizing that the thousands of people in attendance weren't rushing for the exits, I calmed down and, for the first time all day, got really into the Coachella vibe, man.
It's not every day that a parade of elephants crosses your path (unless you work at a circus) and the sea of people, animal caravan, beautiful music and perfect desert night was not something I could keep to myself. This tingly feeling of being at one with nature needed to be shared with my girlfriend. Unfortunately, she was way more interested in Jack and Meg White than I was, but fuck the White Stripes. There were goddamn elephants!
I turned around, tapped her on the shoulder and shrugged my head left to indicate that something of epic proportion was going down. Of the countless shows I'd been to at that point in my life, nothing amounted to this. Nothing. For a brief moment, Coachella was Woodstock, Utopia and Babylon rolled into one. There was no war, no poverty, no life-threatening diseases; just bliss. But when I once again looked left, the elephants were gone.
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Then I realized there weren't any elephants. It was the weed talking.
Like the Ghetto Boys, my mind was playing tricks on me.
I was by no means a marijuana novice by the time I hit the Empire Polo Club. In fact, if getting stoned was the National Basketball Association, I was a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate. But even I had to admit that I got too stoned that day.
Oh, and the Stooges? They ruled. Then we went home.