Oldchella: A recap of two weekends at Desert Trip

Oldchella: A recap of two weekends at Desert Trip

It’s all over in Indio. Desert Trip, which is affectionately called Oldchella, which I called the music festival for old people ,has come to an end.

Two weekends of music from the legends of the 1960’s and 70’s was …well legendary.

In a year where the music business has lost a lot of it’s all time great figures, Desert Trip may have been the industries saving grace. You always hear that concert crowds range from 8 to 80 but that really was true here. Fans of all ages packed the desert venue to watch Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Who and Roger Waters perform.

You can find the individual sets of each act on YouTube and after spending the weekend watching them, here’s a quick take…

Bob Dylan was better than I expected. His recent tour has received horrible reviews but for Desert Trip, he played a lot of his most popular songs. His voice still isn’t much but it never was. With Dylan, it’s all about the songs. And, no matter what, he’s still Bob Dylan.

The Rolling Stones were terrific as usual. Their recent tour has received great reviews and that continued in Indio. They also kept their show fresh by performing some different songs in each show. The Stones even did a cover of the Beatles “Come Together.”
Mick and the boys still have it going.

Neil Young opened the Saturday show. Young is one of the few musicians from that era that is still making new and creative music. You never know what you’re going to get from him. He played both acoustic and electric music during his set and as usual, pulled it off great. Neil also played different songs in both shows and at one point, pulled out a chart full of song titles, ran his hand over them and when it stopped on the song “Alabama”, he played it.

I was very disappointed in the Paul McCartney show. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s getting older or if he had a throat problem but his voice was very scratchy and he had trouble hitting the notes. I’ve mentioned before that McCartney’s show hasn’t changed much in recent years. It’s almost at the point where you can predict the songs without looking at a set list. One highlight was that he opened the show with “A Hard Day’s Night”, which he started doing this Spring and is a new song for his act.

The Who opened Sunday’s show. They’re down to two of the original four members, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey but they now have a band that has another guitarist, keyboardist and drummer Zak Starkey. Who would have guessed that at a concert of legends Ringo’s son would be there and not Ringo himself. The larger band makes a fuller sound and these guys still are great showmen. Daltrey still swings his microphone and Pete does his windmill guitar strokes and jumps around the stage….just not as much as the olden days. The Who still plays all their great songs and they put on a great show.

Roger Waters closed the weekend and I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. The issue with Waters is he has very strong political views and you’re going to hear about them. He’s very anti-Trump and made it clear during the concert. He’s also been the leader of the boycott of Israel and that also came up during the show. But, most concert goers should know this about him before attending his gigs. If you can get past that, you can enjoy the music.
Water’s doesn’t have much of a singing voice, so his singers handle the songs that Water’s voice won’t let him do justice. He has a great band and always has a spectacular stage show. His set list included all the great Pink Floyd songs. When you put that together, it was a spectacular show. His was the show I originally cared about the least and turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most. You just never know.

Is Desert Trip going to be a regular event or is this a one time thing? It’s probably impossible to get these same acts together again but there are plenty of other options. Use your imagination and you can come up with plenty of combinations. I can even picture a Led Zeppelin reunion in the desert. You put enough money together and like I said….you just never know.


This is the story about the Roger Waters led boycott of Israel.

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