i was there


You start out going to concerts in high school.  Mom takes you to see the Black Crowes at the Greek for the “Higher Than The Moon Tour”.  Your love for the music starts taking a toll on the trusty bank account.  Someone tells you, in college, a press pass will solve the problem.  Hoping to score a free ticket now and again, you sign up for the photographer job.

Ten years later and you’re a Coachella veteran.

You remember the first year you went–2002–Jack Black and Cameron Diaz in the photo pit watching the Strokes.  Later that evening, Tenacious D played a small set on the mainstage to welcome on the Foo Fighters.  You remember Jack Johnson playing as the sun set behind the mountains, his corona in hand.  Rick Rubin came to Coachella to see Weezer, their new album “Make Believe” just completed.  You think of the time when Scarlett Johannsen sang with the Jesus and Mary Chain and Will.I.am climbed the front speaker and dove into the crowd.  The fervor of the crowd in anticipation for Rage Against The Machine was almost palpable.  And the exhiliration while watching the word f-o-r-e-v-e-r flicker across the stage as Thom Yorke and Radiohead left the stage.

You try to forget the time Iggy Pop’s manager jumped off stage just to scream at you one last time before threatening to stop the perfomance if the flash didn’t stop.  But you never forget Chris Martin toying with a miniature globe as he walked from Coldplay’s dressing room to the golf escort.

For all the great bands that have played the mainstage–Radiohead, Wilco, Depche Mode, Red Hot Chili Peppers, NIN, Ben Harper, Beastie Boys, Weezer, Bjork, Oasis, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, the Strokes, Rage Against the Machine, Arcade Fire, Interpol, Wille Nelson, Prodigy, Jack Johnson–you realize that Goldenvoice has spent a considerable amount of time searching for new bands, talent, and music to fill the second stage and the tents.

A Sri Lankan girl from London packed the house in the Gobi Tent, the crowd screaming along as she sang “Galang Galang”.  Her name, M.I.A., would forever be remebered as the best new artist of 2006.  She went on to win prestigious acclamin from Rolling Stone, Spin, Blender and just about every other reputable music magazine that year.  What most articles almost always mentioned was her performance at Coachella.  The festival, in its 7th year, had grown to become regarded as the inauguration of the concert season.  With sold out shows for Radiohead and the Cure, Coachella had become a staple in the festival season.

I can tell you, with certainty, that the task of concert photographer is not as glamourous as one might think.  Imagine carrying 30 lbs of bricks through an arid desert for 2-3 days.  Try to fathom leaving the show at midnight, exhausted from the day’s festivities, only to drive a half a mile and sleep in the backseet of your car and do it all over again.  The anticipation of another show is the only that keeps you from quitting and putting the car in gear to find Santa Monica 2.5 hrs away.

The experience that is Coachella can not be reduced to a single memory.  If a photograph speaks a thousand words, let this collection of photographs tell a story.

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