By Slim Man
That would be the Rolling Stones. Not the Flintstones.
A friend gave me his tickets (he had to cancel at the last second), the concert was right up the street from the Slim Shack, so I figured, why not?
It was the weekend-long festival in Indio called Desert Trip; it featured the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Roger Waters. I picked up the tickets at a nearby hotel. There was an envelope, inside were 2 wristbands. They both said “Pit”. Mosh? Arm? I had no idea.
On Friday, I had gig at a place called La Rue—but it was only until 8 PM. So I sang for a couple hours, drove back to the Slim Shack and walked over to the Empire Polo Club, where they hold all the festivals–Coachella, Stagecoach, and Desert Trip.
It was a beautiful walk, the moon was full, and when I got to the gate, the very friendly staff kept guiding me along covered pathways. I had no idea where I was going.
It was just me; the other 50,000 people were already inside. I finally ended up right by the side of the stage. There were about a thousand people standing there by the stage barricade, staring up, waiting.
So this was The Pit. I was right in front. There were tens of thousands of other people seated in grandstands on either side, and directly behind the Pit.
The Rolling Stones started a few minutes later, they opened with Jumping Jack Flash. I must admit, it was pretty exciting. I was so close I could’ve shined Mick Jagger’s shoes.
The sound was amazing. There were 3 unbelievably huge video screens that showed not only what was going on on stage, they sometimes showed other stuff—black and white footage of people dancing, video game-type graphics, collages of old photos. The light show was stellar.
The food wasn’t the usual burgers and dogs. There was Vietnamese food, lobster rolls–they even had Tater Tots! I had to try them. Sure, there was more grease on them than your average oil spill, but nothing a gallon of ketchup couldn’t fix.
The booze wasn’t the usual warm draft beer in red Solo cups. No. They had craft beers, and margaritas, and some nice wines, if you didn’t mind paying $11 to $29. Per glass. Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of drunk people staggering around.
The whole concert experience was very pleasant and impressive. They even had flushing toilets! Goldenvoice was the promoter, and they did an impressive job. But the thing that really impressed me?
Right in front of me was a small platform. And on this platform stood an interpreter, a gal who was interpreting–in sign language–what was happening on stage. There was a group of about 20 hearing-impaired folks sitting off to the side, watching the interpreter while keeping an eye on the stage.
When Mick sang, she’d sign the lyrics. When Keith Richards did a guitar solo, she’d play air guitar. When Charlie Watts had a drum break, she’d flail her arms around in the air. She was totally into it. Did a great job. I was kinda fascinated.
After the show, I asked her how she got the gig. Was there an ad in the local paper? “Interpreters needed for concert. Must know sign language and the lyrics to Sympathy for the Devil.”
She told me Goldenvoice had hired her company to provide this service for people with hearing disabilities. How thoughtful. And wonderful. I put together a little 45-second video of all 3 interpreters. You can find it on YouTube if you search “Signers/Interpreters for Desert Trip” There’s also a little footage of the Stones, McCartney, and the Who.
Speaking of the Who…
Who loves ya?
Slim Man is a singer, writer, and bon vivant. His new cookbook, concert schedule, and CDs are all on the slimman.com website.