For those passionate about the heavier spectrum of music, nothing elicits a bigger eyeroll than the stereotypical assertion, "Rock is dead".
The mass population that convened in the Coachella Valley over the weekend for the inaugural Power Trip festival would offer compelling evidence that rock is in fact, far from it.
Rather than building a full day of programming with plenty of added festival flair, Power Trip narrowed it's focus by corralling a nightly one-two punch of historic headliners in what amounted to the kind of Once-In-A-Lifetime show that had global implications.
Rock Is Dead? Hardly.
In what felt more like a World Cup Final than a rock focused-festival, Power Trip's international reach was evident as fans from all corners of the world gathered to bear witness to AC/DC's first live set in seven years, Judas Priest's surprise album announcement marking their 50th anniversary and the continued domination of Metallica who are are currently in the thick of their M72 World Tour, supporting their landmark 11th album, 72 Seasons.
Guns N Roses made a triumphant return to Indio, where GnR had previously reconvened back in 2016 for their seismic reunion that topped that year's Coachella. Iron Maiden, more than four decades into their tenure still crushed, pressing ahead with momentum from their 2021 opus, Senjutsu.
All on opening night.
Night two would offer even more highlights as the iconic AC/DC showed ZERO rust in getting back into the ring after seven years away from the stage. Making the live debut of "Demon Fire" and "Shot In the Dark" from their 2020 LP, Power Up, the nucleus of Angus, Stevie, Cliff back on bass and Brian back on the mic soared as the endless sea of fans rejoiced with the start of each song in the 25-track set.
Rock is Dead? "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" is more than forty years old and now an anthem more than ever with some 80,000 fans headbanging in unison serving as testament.
Metal's enduring champion Rob Halford proved transcendent, as Judas Priest performed a greatest hits set that was preceded by the surprise confirmation of a new album set for 2024. The news, combined with an encore that included "Hell Bent for Leather", "Breaking the Law" and "Living After Midnight" sent a charge through the crowd that again underscored the magnitude of this weekend.
Punctuating the weekend, the tandem of TOOL and Metallica was a staggering show of heavy rock's bridge from classic to contemporary. With both bands sourcing selections from current era albums (2019's Fear Inoculum and 2023's 72 Seasons respectively) in addition to their forever jams, it's tough to assert rock is dead when you witness literal generations of fans in pure ecstasy for the entire duration of each band's set.
For as much Power Trip spoke to the legacy of the six bands that anchored the bill, it also emphasized the enduring health of heavy music in a way that few other festivals could. This was indeed a historic happening, the kind of spectacle that transcended any and all divides to tap into the fundamentally human sensory experience of losing your mind for good reason at an epic rock show.
Check the gallery of images below captured by Aiden Bonecutter, Andrew Boyle, Julian Cassady, Calder Wilson and Quinn Tucker.