Country music takes over Indio

Courtesy of MCT

With 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival just a week old, the city of Indio, Calif. saw a whole new crowd. From April 27 to April 29, everyone from Miranda Lambert to Luke Bryan kicked country fans into high gear for Stagecoach.

Fans could either drive to the show each night or camp in their RVs and party until the show started. Either way, a good mile hike was ahead of you to get into the actual festival.

Stagecoach is a unique experience. Once inside the venue, it’s a free-for-all because of the general admission setup. Some people go early in the day to get a good spot while others wait until it cools down to head to the venue.

There were three nights of great all-American dancing music. Whether or not you are a country fan, you can’t help but get sucked into music, the fans and the atmosphere.

The first night was pretty low-key. The biggest attraction of night on was Jason Aldean. He put on a great show that had everyone line dancing and rocking out in their own way. His biggest songs of the evening that had everyone on their feet were “She’s Country” and “My Kinda Party.”

The song that had everyone cheering in excitement was Aldean singing “Don’t You Want to Stay” with Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson was actually pre-recorded on a screen; one could have easily thought she was there. Alas, she wasn’t. Aldean came out for an encore with a favorite, “Dirt Road Anthem.”

The second night was the best night, by far. Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Shelton’s wife Miranda Lambert were all there. Other performers were on other stages but did not even come close to the acts that were on the “Mane Stage” (Yes, they called it the mane stage.) The Mavericks, The Jayhawks and JD Souther took to the smaller stage but didn’t draw as much attention as the main headliners of the evening.

Bryan’s music started the evening off with some good tunes and brought on the party atmosphere. Bryan let the crowd know that he was “hurting” a little bit from the night before because he was drinking a little too much when Aldean and Alabama was on stage. That did not stop Bryan from putting on a show. Some of the prime songs of the night were “Drunk on You” and “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” The best song Wilson sang Saturday night was “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”

During the song, he had the men in audience “shake it” for the ladies. Apparently, a male concert-goer caught the attention of Bryan and brought him on stage to dance for the fans of Stagecoach. Trying to keep the fan from falling off stage, Bryan thought it was the greatest thing and invited the guy backstage for a few more beers. It was an unforgettable moment.

The biggest headliner of the night, Blake Shelton, hit the stage next. He did talk a little bit more than sing. Shelton let everyone know that he was nervous because he had never performed in front of a crowd this big (more than 50,000 people) and when he gets nervous, he drinks. He sang different music from when he was growing up as a kid. He even broke out into a Cee-lo Green song. Admittedly, he did do a lot of covers.

Miranda Lambert was the last performance on the second day. Lambert had a surprise of her own and brought out a guest of her own Raelynn (who had been competing on Shelton’s team on The Voice). They sang Maroon 5’s song “Wake Up Call.” Shelton re-appeared to sing “Home” with his wife, Lambert. It was a sweet moment when Lambert sang, “We’ll be alright cause I’m going on his tour bus tonight.”

On day three, most were ready to go and many were indeed packing up and taking off. The performers of day three were pretty good; the patriarch of them all was the great Kenny Rogers.

Sheryl Crow took to the Mane Stage and her set include big hits such as “All I Wanna Do,” “My Favorite Mistake” and “Soak Up the Sun.”

Brad Paisley was the last performer of the night on the Mane Stage closing out Stagecoach 2012. By the time he was on, it was time for us to head back and start rolling out. As for Brad Paisley’s set, no holograms here but lots of lasers.

There was a lot to do and see. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it all. There were so many great shows and a wonderful get away from the hustle of everyday life. I just wish that packing everything up wasn’t so tiring.

About Maegan Castro-Flores