That there will be another version of Desert Trip next year should be a foregone conclusion. Over two weekends, the sellout gigs held on the same grounds as Coachella brought in an estimated $150 million. Why wouldn’t you do it again?
Well, a lack of acts for one. There are only so many classic rock acts on the level of Dylan, The Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Who and Rogers Waters. Still, one of the games people were playing over the weekend was “Who should play the next Desert Trip?” (Follow that thread here.)
My group played the same game, except our question was “Who should play an alt-rock version of Desert Trip? What are the alternative equivalents of the classic rock lineup? If we could convince our elder statesmen to play, who would they be?”
The rules were simple: (a) Money was no object; (b) an assumption that everyone has their price; (c) the bands had to be reasonably intact (i.e. a minimum of dead members); and (d) the structure had to be identical to Desert Trip (two bands each night over a three-day weekend).
This was harder than it sounded. Groups like the Clash and the Velvet Underground were out (no Strummer and Reed, so there’s no point). We fought over maybe including New Order and Kraftwerk. All bands from the 90s–Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, etc.–were all eliminated on the grounds that they still could play the regular Coachella show. And whoever we picked had to be capable of selling 80,000 tickets each night over two weekends.
After much discussion (mostly over a fantastic cocktail called a Paradise Mule), we settled on the following:
- Friday night: The Cure and Depeche Mode
- Saturday Night: Talking Heads and U2
- Sunday Night: REM and The Smiths
This is pure fantasy, of course, but it sure is a fun thought experiment.
What’s your dream Alt-Rock Desert Trip lineup?