Remembering Ikey Owens on His Big Night at Coachella 2015

David James Swanson
Ikey Owens on October 11 in Mexico City, performing with Jack White.
[Editor's Note: This is not really a Coachella post. I'm not speaking to you as a music journalist. Or as a fan. Just as a guy remembering a friend.]

Had he been alive to see it, last night would've easily been described as the biggest night in Ikey Owens' life as a musician. As Jack White's trusted keyboardist, he would've causally strolled on stage behind his boss--shades on, suited up, looking fly as fuck. As the crowd rolled and roared like an ocean for the enigmatic, Saturday night headliner, Owens would've sat down at his white keyboard rig, flashed a quick smile, and proceeded to deliver hell fire behind the ivories. A kid from Long Beach performing for over 90,000 people during a Saturday night, mainstage, headlining set. Not bad.

In so many ways, it would've felt like an end goal of something that so many people wanted for him--recognition, praise, and love emanating for the masses, many of whom who had no idea that his genius stretched far beyond these bright lights of Indio. All of the hard work Owens put into the music business--so many years, so many bands, so many records--would've culminated on Saturday night at the biggest music festival on the west coast. And yet, despite his tragic and untimely death in Mexico last year that left Long Beach reeling, he still did make it to that stage last night. His memory was carried on the lips of his pale skinned frontman, who paused for a simple moment of reverence in front of the sweaty, smiling crowd.