1. My introduction to the Empire Polo Fields (1999) Every year I cherish my first step onto the paradise-like grounds, but it’s nothing like the one I took on Coachella’s premiere day.
2. Sigur Ros’ U.S. debut (2001) The most transfixing live performance I’d seen up until that point.
3. Wayne Coyne’s inaugural bubble roll (2004) The Flaming Lips singer walked over his audience like a hamster Jesus, and the “Coachella moment” was born.
4. The Killers (2004) The first Vegas band at the fest. It underwhelmed, but a real gospel choir appeared for “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
5. The reunited Pixies and Radiohead (2004) As great a “double bill” as I’ve ever seen.
6. Arcade Fire’s Coachella debut (2005) The Montreal outfit’s raucous tribal reverie instantly joined the fest’s pantheon—and my own.
7. Daft Punk (2006) A music comeback on the level of Elvis and Tina Turner represents Coachella’s most exhilarating set.
8. Madonna (2006) We sweltered for two hours and got six songs. I still brag about it at gay bars.
9. LCD Soundsystem (2007) I was there ... when they played an absolutely bonkers version of “Yeah.”
10. Jesus and Mary Chain (2007) Never mind guest vocalist Scarlett Johansson—I finally got to see one of my favorite bands.
11. Roger Waters (2008) Flying pigs, surround sound, Dark Side of the Moon in full—this is how you close a festival.
12. The Cure (2009) Curfew is broken, power is pulled, band keeps playing and the crowd takes over on vocals. Magic.
13. My Bloody Valentine (2009) The 15-minute sonic “holocaust” of “You Made Me Realise” was oddly hypnotic.
14. Paul F*cking McCartney (2009) Three. Hours. He’s 67.
15. Pulp (2012) They played my favorite song, “Common People.” It was epic—like Coachella itself.