As you read this, they’re just finishing cleaning up after several hundred thousand people who temporarily quintupled the population of Indio, Calif., a small desert city about 180 kilometres east of Los Angeles, for the annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
Coachella has become THE place for big-name reunions. In years past, organizers have somehow managed to convince the fractious Rage Against the Machine, the infighting Crowded House and the squabbly Jesus and Mary Chain to put differences aside for the sake of music, art and money. Gobs and gobs of money.
This year, though, gasp-worth reunions didn’t materialize. My Bloody Valentine is on the bill, but they’ve been playing gigs for a year now. Old news. Instead, we saw sets by Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen.
With almost everyone in the reunion business again this year, who’s there left to convince to put all the bad blood aside for a chance to top up the pension plan?
Blur would have been a good get for Coachella, but they’re not about to screw up the hysteria that’s building toward a series of high-profile appearances that have already been announced for the U.K. this summer. Blink-182? Too busy rehearsing for a summer comeback tour with their friends in Weezer. Seeing the original Specials would have been cool, but arguments with founder Jerry Dammers (“Are you in, mate? Or are you out?”) delayed that train. Maybe next year.
So what about next year? A Scottish paper started a rumour that the Stone Roses had already booked a U.K. tour, which included a stop at Coachella. Alas, that was just some wishful thinking during a slow news day.
The Talking Heads? Their name came up, but David Byrne quickly squashed that. Besides, the ex-Heads have evolved so much as musicians, songwriters and performers that none of them can see themselves in big suits to sing Psycho Killer again.
The biggest possible coup? A reunited Smiths, which would be Biblical. But if Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce were to ever step onstage and play together, the ground would surely open up and swallow all of California, creating a black hole that would in time consume the entire earth. And considering the state is already in danger of cleaving into the Pacific, no one wants to take that chance.