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Stagecoach Music Festival: A Great Time in the Bowels of Humanity

paula froelichMy sister and I at The Oakridge Boys

I spent this week in the bowels of humanity. No — literally! I toodled on out to Palm Springs for the Stagecoach country music festivalCoachella‘s redneck sister — with my pal Theano and my little sister Emily.   And none too soon.

See, here’s the deal with being single in NYC. You can find your physical type, and you can find your mental type — and never the two shall meet. Trust. I’ve tried. So, being a (physical) lover of very large manly men (and you try finding big manly guys who know how to fix a tire in NYC), I decided why not just wallow in a sea of my physical type and while I’m at it — get to see Merle Haggard, The Oakridge Boys, Sugarland, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, and a whole lot of sweaty cowboys?

One word: A.maz.ing. (except for the fact that the “VIP” tix I purchased were horse shit — the Stagecoach peeps are perpetrating a serious fraud. They penned us in like cattle with sheets blocking the view — which was better in general admission). But beyond the crappy seats, it was heaven. Old men in tutus, half naked cowboys everywhere, women in bikinis and boots, people passed out face first on bales of hay, something called a “Half Pint Hootenanny”, and a whole lot of sharing (whiskey, smokes, other kinds of smokes, you know, the basics…). The crowd was probably the nicest on the Palomino stage — where Merle sang. Em and I were d.y.i.n.g. Merle just had lung cancer (note to self: stop treating body like trash heap) and went back on stage two months later — this dude is a legend and a super freak! I’m just psyched because I was just drunk enough to think he winked at me.

paula froelichHe was passed out cold two seconds before.

Em made me leave after to go see Sugarland — it was actually pretty good, but Keith Urban. Oof. By that time we were on the “Mane” stage (No — not kidding! That’s what the cheesemonkeys named it!) in the lousy VIP area — but had found our way to the top of the Homo Hay Bale. Who knew so many gay men loved country? They all had their husbands with them and started flipping out when Keith started singing, ‘I wanna kiss a girl” — because, frankly, he looks like Steven Cojocaru circa 2001, and like he’d never actually kissed a, well, girl. You’d think Nicole would let him know to ease up on the highlights, hair straightening irons and make up… but, apparently she likes that. Or maybe she just can’t move her face to tell him? (I always called Nicole Kidman the Dean of the Egyptian School of Acting — in Egypt all soap opera stars act in burqas and thus can only act with their eyes! Self-imposed botox!)

The next day, Sunday, it got funky… What do you get when you put 60,000 peeps, a bunch of booze and two full days in scorching desert sun? A whole lot of fun! At least until the second day when fun filled boys turn into pissed off rednecks! Brooks & Dunn was amaaaazing — as were the (non-original member) Oakridge Boys, but by Toby Keith, the final closing act, it got scary. Like being in the middle of the track during the last race on Derby Day. Not to mention, there’s something about Toby Keith that just makes people pissed off in a weird, self-righteous, kinda crazy way. A lot of naked cowboys donned “Yes He Can” shirts (re: Obama taking your money, not about him winning the elections) and went batshit during Toby’s narcissistic set (“Let’s Talk About Me,” “I’m not crying for you, I’m crying for me,” “She Left Me,” “American Ride” etc.) and nobody even seemed annoyed when his set opened with the cheesiest 10 minute commercial for Ford which poked fun at Jehovah’s witnesses, women and everyone who was, well, different. Course, it could be they didn’t mind as the entire lot was full of Ford F150s. It got a little scary so we had to leave. But we’ll be back — in a better section!

paula froelichUntil next time!