Just thinking about the set, and seeing the man in person, I get tears in my eyes. There are moments in life where you realize, without a moment of doubt, that you are glad to be alive - and watching Mr. Cohen sing was one of those moments for me. I stood there watching, with my beautiful daughter beside me, one of my good friends standing close by, and a few other good friends spread through the crowd, and felt amazed, lucky, and healed. Though I wish he had played my all-time favourite song, he did sing Bird On A Wire and Everybody Knows, and of course, Hallelujah. When everyone in the crowd sang along to the chorus, with him, as the sun began to set in the desert, tears were streaming down my face. It was truly my most favourite moments of the entire festival, and one of those unforgettable moments in my life. Mr. Cohen himself was so humble, genuine, and truly a beautiful soul. I still do not have the proper words to describe seeing him play, nor the coherent thoughts to describe what the experience was like. I just know that, as my friend Dale has said about the experience, my heart felt healed.
Hallelujah (live, Coachella 2009) ~ Leonard Cohen
We missed the first half, or so, of Morrissey's set because of Leonard Cohen, so I am not sure my assessment of this is all-together fair. That said, we did arrive at the very moment he was stating that the smell of burning flesh he was experiencing, how he hoped it was human. Then Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others started up, and he was visibly annoyed, and would go from singing loudly to mumbling the lyrics half-heartedly, as if he was grumbling, or struggling to remember the words. He seemed overall to be put upon being there, and perhaps he was. The highlight of the set for me was hearing him play How Soon Is Now, and I was also cheering him on when he took his shirt off, as I'd always heard he did back in the days of the Smiths, as I'm all for being proud of your body at any age. I wanted to like him, I wanted to enjoy the set, and I wanted to feel something more than let down by him. Maybe it was not fair, as well, for me to react to him right after Leonard Cohen, but it happened the way it did. He ended his set and I was disappointed in the experience, that is just how it felt for me.
How Soon Is Now? (live, Coachella 2009) ~ Morrissey
I was born into a Beatles family. There is not a moment of my life where I do not remember knowing who the Beatles were, or having their music around in my life somehow. They were the first albums I remember memorizing the lyrics to. They were the music my Mom listened to that changed her expression, that lifted her up when she was down, and that brought her to tears sometimes, too. I learned what it looked like to love a band, and would remember it later when I fell for bands myself. I remember the stories my Mom told me about the music, and her memories she had attached to their songs. And, after awhile, I started building my own memories to their music.
Julia's Dad grew up in a Beatles family, too, and he loved them as much as I did, and as much as our families did. We had every album in that first tiny apartment we shared, and when I found out for sure I was having a daughter we both agreed that Julia (named after the song, and John Lennon's Mother), was perfect. Her father sang her Blackbird when she was a baby, and we both sang Hey Jude to her on long car rides. Standing next to her singing along to both songs, and so many others, was incredible.
He played for three hours. He was amazing and emotional, and seemed to give so much to all of us. He spoke about Linda (the day he was there playing was the 11th year anniversary of her passing). He spoke about John (and played a song I hadn't heard since I was much younger, from a Paul McCartney album that I would take for days on end from my Mom and sing along to). He spoke about George (and played Something on the ukelele). He came out for three encores, and I truly believe he would have stuck around and played further into the night if the venue would have allowed it. This was the closest I'll ever come to seeing The Beatles, and I'm grateful for the experience. It was an unforgettable night, and really the best way to end my very first day at Coachella.