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Coachella 08: A glimpse at Prince's soundcheck

At last night's cool Filter party at the Corona Yacht Club, I ran into sculptor Christopher Janney, whose Sonic Forest installation will once again appear as part of Coachella's art offerings. Janney has been working for the past week to install his work at the Empire Polo Field, where the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival began today. One of the perks of being on site early are the sound checks, and Janney told a funny story from yesterday. While on site, music was carrying across the valley, which is nothing unusual this week. This was some nice sounding funk, a little unexpected considering the festival's rock bent. And then the singer stepped in, and immediately Janney realized that Prince was in the house, here two days early to work out his show. Of course Janney made a beeline to see the sound check.

Coachella 08: A glimpse at Prince's soundcheck

Christopher Janney's Sonic Forest

Janney reports that it's a big band, with three female backing singers, I think a horn section (he told me this stuff last night at 1 a.m., and I talked to a lot of people last night, so forgive the fog), percussion and Prince's acrobatic voice, which is in good form, says the sculptor. During one song run-through, recalls Janney, Prince stopped the band, motioned to the drummer's high hat and asked his sound man to tweak it. It was a little too bright, and it amazed Janney that amidst all the chaos of the band, the huge sound coming off of the stage, that the Purple Man could hone in on that high hat, could pinpoint his eardrum so precisely at one specific frequency and understand that it was a little off. But that's Prince for you.

The Filter party was pretty great, held at this ironically named yacht club in the middle of the desert. A few thousand people filled the compound, a walled-in resort with a jumbo pond, many pagodas and verandas, much Red Bull and vodka, DJ sets by Wallpaper, Cut Copy and others. (I missed the sets cuz I was wrapped up in some good conversations about schooners and Sperry topsiders.)

But, yeah, so Coachella 2008 begins. Onward to Aphex Twin.