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Coachella backstage report

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Celebrity turnout was a bit light at Coachella 2008, perhaps because of a weaker-than-usual lineup and the triple-digit heat, which made the backstage scene kind of tame. Still, we still had a smattering of B-list actors and scenesters trolling the grounds, along with a couple of rock star offspring and one notable parent. Read on for a day-by-day breakdown…

Day 1
Things started off slow on the chillest Coachella day, with temps falling just short of 100, but Scott Speedman, of Felicity fame, was ready to party early on. He was spotted in a near-fetal position during  Jens Lekman’s afternoon set at the Mojave tent, then stumbling back to the VIP area. Meanwhile, backstage, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, flanked on both sides by two female hangers-on, was trying to wrap his head around the venue’s strict no-alcohol-past-the-gate policy. Drinks were confined to artist trailers, which Tyler didn’t have since he wasn’t performing, but seeing the Black Lips walk through with cases of beer left him perplexed. No matter, a friendly security guard (again, female) took time to explain the rule and was rewarded with a big bear hug and kiss. “I’ll never wash my face!” she yelled afterwards. (Um, really?) Food was a challenge backstage as well, since most of the vendors were outside in the common area. Festival regular Elijah Wood was spotted on line for burgers (veggie and meat) while Tegan and Sara had to make special arrangements to enter the catering tent. Another sister act, The Breeders’ Kim and Kelley Deal, took their meals to go and ate while watching the Raconteurs’ set on the big stage. There, they joined practically every other Coachella musician hoping to get a side-stage glimpse at the rock supergroup.

Day 2
As is typical of Coachellas past, Saturday tends to be more crowded and star heavy, and with Prince headlining this year’s second day, that was certainly the case. Making an entrance early in the day, perhaps to survey the venue where he’d be making a big announcement on Sunday, was Sean Penn, strolling solo in the trailer area. Shia LaBeouf, on the other hand, surrounded by a gaggle of friends, was overheard singing the praises of Philadephia genre-benders Man Man, who played the sweltering Mojave tent at 2:30 in the afternoon. Among the other actors milling about were Melanie Griffith, with her son (and friends) in tow, and Roseanna Arquette, who was shooting for the official Coachella webcast. For a ’90s fix, Beverly Hills, 90210’s Ian Ziering made the rounds with Married With Children’s David Faustino, but perhaps the most popular (and frequent) sighting of the night was the one… the only… The Hoff, who couldn’t walk four feet without being asked to pose for a picture. On the Young Hollywood end of things, Danny Masterson and girlfriend Bijou Phillips, who had been making their presence known at off-site parties hosted by SPIN and radio station Indie 103.1, committed to a full-night of music, as did Jared Leto. Kelly Osbourne, palling around with Sienna Miller and Kimberly Stewart, spent much of her backstage time at the MGMT trailer where a sizable party began to form (though she made one on stage performance — joining Mark Ronson for the Smiths’ “Stop Me”). That party wasn’t quite as big as the one near Rilo Kiley’s area, however, which was raging most of the night. Paris Hilton was spotted coming into the VIP area through the exit during Prince’s set, but didn’t seem to stick around for long. She and bestie Nicole Richie were later seen (with boyfriends Joel and Benji Madden) at the T-Mobile after-party held in an airport hangar not far from the festival grounds.

Day 3
Walking around on Sunday morning, you’d think it was arts and crafts day at Coachella. Behind the main stage, several able-bodied crew guys got busy painting a giant pink pig, while an inflatable astronaut was being prepped nearby (all in anticipation of the night’s final bow: Roger Waters performing Dark Side of the Moon — in the desert, dude). Also on hand were members of Mexico’s Austin TV, who looked like a pack of Jawas. But Sunday afternoon was really all about the Brits. Duffy left for her set puffing on an extra-long cigarette while members of Swervedriver, playing together for the first time in 10 years, gawked at the UK chart sensation from their trailer next door. The guys were still raving about the previous night’s Portishead performance, but also looking forward to British brethren Spiritualized, who were scheduled to follow their set in the Mojave Tent. Meawnwhile, Elle McPherson was supposedly somewhere on the VIP grounds, but it seemed like most of the celebs had already trekked back to Hollywood, probably to avoid the traffic.

Day 1
Things started off slow on the chillest Coachella day, with temps falling just short of 100, but Scott Speedman, of Felicity fame, was ready to party early on. He was spotted in a near-fetal position during  Jens Lekman’s afternoon set at the Mojave tent, then stumbling back to the VIP area. Meanwhile, backstage, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, flanked on both sides by two female hangers-on, was trying to wrap his head around the venue’s strict no-alcohol-past-the-gate policy. Drinks were confined to artist trailers, which Tyler didn’t have since he wasn’t performing, but seeing the Black Lips walk through with cases of beer left him perplexed. No matter, a friendly security guard (again, female) took time to explain the rule and was rewarded with a big bear hug and kiss. “I’ll never wash my face!” she yelled afterwards. (Um, really?) Food was a challenge backstage as well, since most of the vendors were outside in the common area. Festival regular Elijah Wood was spotted on line for burgers (veggie and meat) while Tegan and Sara had to make special arrangements to enter the catering tent. Another sister act, The Breeders’ Kim and Kelley Deal, took their meals to go and ate while watching the Raconteurs’ set on the big stage. There, they joined practically every other Coachella musician hoping to get a side-stage glimpse at the rock supergroup.

Day 2
As is typical of Coachellas past, Saturday tends to be more crowded and star heavy, and with Prince headlining this year’s second day, that was certainly the case. Making an entrance early in the day, perhaps to survey the venue where he’d be making a big announcement on Sunday, was Sean Penn, strolling solo in the trailer area. Shia LaBeouf, on the other hand, surrounded by a gaggle of friends, was overheard singing the praises of Philadephia genre-benders Man Man, who played the sweltering Mojave tent at 2:30 in the afternoon. Among the other actors milling about were Melanie Griffith, with her son (and friends) in tow, and Roseanna Arquette, who was shooting for the official Coachella webcast. For a ’90s fix, Beverly Hills, 90210’s Ian Ziering made the rounds with Married With Children’s David Faustino, but perhaps the most popular (and frequent) sighting of the night was the one… the only… The Hoff, who couldn’t walk four feet without being asked to pose for a picture. On the Young Hollywood end of things, Danny Masterson and girlfriend Bijou Phillips, who had been making their presence known at off-site parties hosted by SPIN and radio station Indie 103.1, committed to a full-night of music, as did Jared Leto. Kelly Osbourne, palling around with Sienna Miller and Kimberly Stewart, spent much of her backstage time at the MGMT trailer where a sizable party began to form (though she made one on stage performance — joining Mark Ronson for the Smiths’ “Stop Me”). That party wasn’t quite as big as the one near Rilo Kiley’s area, however, which was raging most of the night. Paris Hilton was spotted coming into the VIP area through the exit during Prince’s set, but didn’t seem to stick around for long. She and bestie Nicole Richie were later seen (with boyfriends Joel and Benji Madden) at the T-Mobile after-party held in an airport hangar not far from the festival grounds.

Day 3
Walking around on Sunday morning, you’d think it was arts and crafts day at Coachella. Behind the main stage, several able-bodied crew guys got busy painting a giant pink pig, while an inflatable astronaut was being prepped nearby (all in anticipation of the night’s final bow: Roger Waters performing Dark Side of the Moon — in the desert, dude). Also on hand were members of Mexico’s Austin TV, who looked like a pack of Jawas. But Sunday afternoon was really all about the Brits. Duffy left for her set puffing on an extra-long cigarette while members of Swervedriver, playing together for the first time in 10 years, gawked at the UK chart sensation from their trailer next door. The guys were still raving about the previous night’s Portishead performance, but also looking forward to British brethren Spiritualized, who were scheduled to follow their set in the Mojave Tent. Meawnwhile, Elle McPherson was supposedly somewhere on the VIP grounds, but it seemed like most of the celebs had already trekked back to Hollywood, probably to avoid the traffic.