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POWER TRIP DAY ONE

POWER TRIP DAY ONE

Photo Courtesy of Goldenvoice

From Lisa Lynn Morgan / CoachellaValley.com

POWER TRIP – A TRIP TO THE PAST

NAVIGATING ENTRY

Getting into the festival had its struggles for everyone on this first day, including this seasoned festival attendee. The Power Trip music festival powers that be dared to do the one thing the rest of us fear – change. Perhaps it was the media wrist band that led the gate keeper of the entrance off Avenue 52 to allow us in to park  where I’ve parked umpteen times before. But had we driven up to the entrance going westbound, the large lit up sign that read, “Staff Parking Only,” would have deterred us. Instead we found ourselves in high heat walking for miles purgatory.

Upon parking deep into the grounds and feeling pretty proud of my veteran-self, our access to the “Blue Path” was DENIED, as was every entry to every access point to the concert. An hour of walking in 103-degree heat later, we were finally able to talk someone into letting us back into the staff area to get our car. My point? DO NOT try to gain access anywhere else than the designated public areas if you do not have a staff, vendor, or artist wristband. This trained staff and their managers have, as Joe Dirt would say, “No in their hearts,” and are fiercely doing the job of protecting all things Power Trip which includes the people working, vending, performing, and attending. Your access points are off Madison Avenue if you’re traveling east to west, and Monroe Avenue if you are traveling westbound. Read the signs. Believe them. There are no short cuts unless you purchased Preferred Parking. Traffic to the festival and long lines waiting for parking caused some to miss the first part of show. Give yourself plenty of time and take your time. There’s no fun in being in a rush here.

 

Photo: Bruce Fessier

ONCE INSIDE

It was clear we weren’t the only ones who had hit roadblocks and had some level of frustration trying to enter the grounds. The gates opened late (they were schedule for 4 pm), as fans waited in the sun during the hottest part of the day. One worker shared that a staff van didn’t drop staff members off on site until 4:20. If that’s accurate, kudos to the team for getting those gates open without much further delay. Those greeting at the gate did their best to keep the mood light despite the heat and added stress, and they were largely successful. It was the first day with some significant organizational changes from previous Goldenvoice events. Things will likely get more fluid over the remaining days.

Upon entering, one of the first things you literally run into is the Power Trip merchandise line. It was a city block long while the merch lines at neighboring structures, dedicated to individual bands, were less encumbered. The Power Trip merch line stayed long (likely an hour wait) late into night during both performances. Certain sizes were already no longer available in some of the more popular offerings by the time Guns and Roses hit the stage.

There were plenty of food and bar options averaging from $10 for fries to $31 for a lobster roll. Many options were restricted to those who paid for a reserved seat.

Photo: Craige Cambpell/ CoachellaValley.com

 

The most interesting part of the evening was the general demeanor of the crowd. Power Trip may have been the most “grown up” festival Goldenvoice has hosted yet. Chairs and blankets were actually lined up in neat rows allowing foot traffic to navigate north to south or east to west effortlessly (as opposed to zigzag game of chair and blanket twister experienced at the other festivals). Looking around at the crowd, there was less head banging and rowdiness than I expected. Many stood stoically, deeply focused on the performers. Perhaps they were “trippin’” on the time travel the music forced on. Back in the day, the genre of music you chose to listen to defined you and your adolescent friends and choices. It provided many with an identity that felt powerful in a world where they might not otherwise fit in. Those with any age on them (the bulk of the demographic present) might also have been “tripping” out on the vitality of these performers and likely couldn’t resist comparing it to their own. I know I was. I thought to myself, “Maybe I can have a music career into my 70s if I still sound good and keep myself in good physical shape!” I immediately second guessed that theory thinking, “But I’m a woman, so maybe not.” Case in point: There are no women in this 3-day “Power” lineup.

Unique to this gathering was the lack of stumbling drunks and “Badonkadonk” that Stagecoach attracts, or the heavily micro dosed ambivalence to the music witnessed at Coachella. The bulk demographic skewed largely 50 and over, and seemed more sober and present. It may have just been early in the weekend. But I couldn’t help but think, perhaps those who survived the era of living life through these hard rock heroes found sobriety by way of life saving abstinence or recovery programs, not unlike some of the men on stage.  The younger attendees (ages 3 to 35) were likely there by parental/family influence, doing their best to connect with the muscle music of the Boomer/Gen X cusp generation that vastly differs from its less loud and more digitally produced pop. Whatever the case, this was a pretty chill, but happy attentive crowd.

PC: Lisa Lynn Morgan / CoachellaValley.com

PC: Lisa Lynn Morgan

SPEAKING OF LOUD, I would urge everyone in attendance to wear some kind of hearing protection. Yes, I know, this music is supposed to be played loud, but this was one of the loudest I’ve ever experienced, including The Who at Desert Trip. It pained me to see small children without headphones on. According to the Center of for Disease Control and Prevention, “Noise above 70 decibels (dBs) over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise over 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears.” I clocked the dB of this first night with a phone app, Decibel X: the average reading was 99.9 and peaked at 105.9. It was never below 80 during any performance. This was not the stage volume level – this was the amplified level, and it was the highest over at the video screen next to the Micro Brew Beer station, far south of the main stage.  I’m confident the band members themselves were protected from those kinds of levels and have been for a while. There is no longevity in the music performance industry if you don’t protect your hearing. Please, even if you don’t protect your own, if you have children with you, PLEASE make sure their ears are protected.

PC: Lisa Lynn Morgan

Community is Crucial

ABOUT THE PERFORMANCES:

One might be inspired to take an Anti-Aging Master Class from these rockers (you can include Sting, age 72, who played at Acrisure Thursday night). The legendary frontman, Bruce Dickenson, who changed the trajectory of Iron Maiden when he came into the group in 1981, performed with the energy and physicality of a 30-year-old. He’s 65. His vocals showed no sign of age or loss of power for the near 2 hour set of high-volume, wide range singing. Axel Rose looked better than he has in a long time and sounded powerful. Duff McKagen and Slash I’m certain have been frozen in time. All of these guys still have their mojo, and based on the crowd response, it’s gotten better with age.

The light show was stellar. Like Bruce Fessier, former long time entertainment writer for the Desert Sun and current contributor for Joshua Tree Voice shared, “Opening night of Power Trip was oddly bombastic and chill. Comfortable padded chairs (in the reserved section), screaming singers and guitarists, Marvel Comics-level imagery.”

There’s nothing like watching a professional tenured musician doing what they love in a venue like this. You could practically see beams of light coming from the eyes of Dickenson as he reveled in his element. During a three-song encore, Dickenson shouted to the crowd to their roars of approval, “Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, tonight, we are all one!”

Axel Rose has done some work to get healthy compared to the last time he appeared at these festival grounds. His voice was strong – it seemed to get stronger as the night went on. These weren’t optimal conditions for long term power vocals – dry and dusty, but you couldn’t tell from the performances. The guitar and bass riffs went off with rapid finesse proving that musicians get better with age. The drummers brought the thunder on kits that defy reality.

It was one hell of a first night.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Fessier

Photo Courtesy of Goldenvoice

IN OTHER NEWS

The first of two preseason Firebirds hockey games was cancelled due to a power outage that as of this morning was still under investigation. I guess they don’t know what (insert pause for effect) tripped the power… (sorry)


Tags assigned to this article:
An Insider’s GuideGoldenVoiceIndioPowertrip

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