By Leighton Ginn
Living in the Palm Springs area, going to Coachella is fairly easy since I don’t have to make travel arrangements. And thank God I don’t have to camp.
So going to Coachella has become an annual event. This is my look back at 10 of my favorite shows from my first 10 times at Coachella, which runs from 2003, and 2007-15. I did not include any from the 2016 show, but you can find my recap from those shows on the links below.
I grew up loving Prince’s music, so I was geeked when he was a late addition to the 2008 lineup, bumping Portishead as the main headliner.
And he did not disappoint.
The show opened with Morris Day and Jerome doing a quick medley of “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”
Prince was decked out in white and had a funny pronunciation of Coachella that me and my friends still joke about today.
And he just killed it.
What is still talked about today is Prince’s amazing cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.”
There was also an amazing cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” by Prince’s backup singer Ledisi that blew my mind.
Sheila E was there was well pounding on the drums and also performed her hit “The Glamorous Life.”
It truly was legendary.
THE HIVES (2003)
The first show I ever saw at Coachella and they had me hooked. They have the punk rock spirit I love and it’s just great Rock N Roll.
Their logo was “Your new favorite band,” which has been true since I’ve seen them play.
Lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist at one point yelled to one of the other stages to quiet down or he would kick their asses.
Guitarist Nichoulas Arson might be the most intense guitarist I’ve ever seen and he can really shred. He also brings a lot of charisma to match Almqvist.
They would also play again in 2012, and that was a great show, where they came out in full tuxedos and their roadies were dressed as ninjas. But I got caught in a mosh pit, which I’m too old for. But I’ve seen them several times, and dragged many of my friends to catch them. They never put on a bad show.
But there’s nothing quite like the first time.
PAUL MCCARTNEY (2009)
A chance to watch a Beatle, and McCartney put on an amazing show that exceeded my expectations.
How McCartney continues to kick ass at his age is really amazing. I wasn’t blown away because he was able to perform so well at an AARP age. I was blown away by the showmanship.
He was on another level.
There were three moments during the show were McCartney dedicated songs to important people in his life: John Lennon, George Harrison and his wife Linda.
The day of the concert marked the 11th anniversary of the passing of Linda.
Later that year, there was the release of the Beatles’ Rock Band video game, and several of the graphics were used during McCartney’s show.
As the years go on, I gain even more appreciation for Paul. He was my favorite Beatle, and someone said he’s the keeper of the band’s music by performing live. I never thought about it that way before, but it’s very true.
AMY WINEHOUSE (2007)
I was captivated by Winehouse the moment I saw her sing “Rehab” on David Letterman. She was a lot of fun and had a classic sound.
This was right before Winehouse blew up, so she played in a tent, and she rocked the joint. My friend was tripping out at the male backup singers, who were a lot of fun.
I remember on Letterman, Winehouse was in this little black dress and looked elegant with her beehive. At Coachella, it was cutoff jean shorts and a wife beater, but still the beehive. Kinda awesome.
She was a lot of fun and such a great voice.
Wow, it was just special. I’ve been to Coachella 10 consecutive years, and Winehouse was the first in this run.
On 2010, there was a volcano that forced several European bands to cancel because they couldn’t get a flight.
Luckily, the French band was already in America, but their lighting people didn’t make it.
So before the show, they apologized, but said they will do their best.
Well, we didn’t miss the lights because they put on a fantastic show.
They performed on the Outdoor Stage, so this was before their 2013 headlining set.
I have always said I love energy bands, and they generate it. But it’s not overt. They intrigue me with their certain je ne sais quoi.
VINTAGE TROUBLE (2013)
A rhythm and blues band that shreds so hard, you would think they’re on a mission from God.
Not a lot of people know them, but their music is fun, fast and furious.
They’re a great live band led by Ty Taylor, a force as a front man.
It’s old school and their kind of music is the roots of everything we love.
MARK RONSON (2008)
No one had any idea what this show was going to be line. Mark Ronson was just known as the producer of Amy Winehouse’s breakout CD “Back to Black,” and wasn’t a singer.
What he put together was a stirring show of jazzy, bluesy and soulful numbers
Joining him on stage were a bunch of great singers. One that stuck with me is Sam Sparro, as it was the first time I heard his hit “Black and Gold.”
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE (2015)
I saw Florence two times at Coachella, but picked her most recent performance because of her surprising effectiveness.
I had tickets to Weekend 2, and the week before she had broken her foot jumping off the stage.
So Florence did her whole show from a chair, and was a captivating show. It’s also a testament to her voice and songwriting.
One of the surprises was her having Father John Misty as they sang, of course, “Love Hurts.”
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS (2012)
One of my favorite bands, this was their debut at Coachella. Playing on the main stage, Fitz and the Tantrums captivated in support of their debut album.
I had caught them several times, and each time, they gave a great performance. I really admired the professionalism of the whole band to insure the put on a great show each time because they toured a lot. But the energy was always high.
This was at the tail end of their touring to support “Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” their debut CD. It was during this show where they gave a sneak peak performance of “Out Of My League,” which would be the first hit from their next CD, “More Than Just A Dream.”
CAPITAL CITIES (2014)
The energy was crazy for this set.
Capital Cities came out in colorful blazers, belted out numerous danceable hits and had a trumpet player that was fantastic.
They were so fun.
Honorable mentions: CAGE THE ELEPHANT (2009), SHE AND HIM (2010), WOLF GANG (2012), TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB (2013), NEW ORDER (2013), GROUPLOVE (2012), MADNESS (2012), HOCKEY (2010), FOSTER THE PEOPLE (2014), AC/DC (2015), JACK WHITE (2015), HAERTS (2015)