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Video: Huell Howser ponders Portishead at Coachella 2008

January 08, 2013|By Randall Roberts | Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic

As was often the case, television personality Huell Howser captured the Coachella scene perfectly. Howser, who died Sunday at age 67, traveled throughout Southern California during a career highlighting its myriad cultural offerings. As such, he journeyed to Indio, Calif., with typically boundless curiosity for a segment on KCET-TV in 2008 on the annual festival. Howser's take comes near the end of the feature:

"It's just a beautiful, beautiful feeling here. Everybody is mellow and kind of chilling out here waiting for the particular group that they're here to listen to. It's all good."

Exactly.

PHOTOS: Huell Howser's career in pictures

That year featured, among others, Prince, Portishead, Kraftwerk and Jack Johnson, and Howser wanders the pitch working to understand a scene that's quite obviously a little alien to him. One particular fan explains how excited he is to see Portishead. Howser doesn't know who or what that is, but no worry. "I don't recognize a lot of these names," he confesses. "A lot of these are kind of obscure, aren't they?" When the fan says that they are, Howser asks, "Are you going to be waving your hands?"

"Well, it's slow music. Maybe waving my hands."

The segment is worth a watch, especially Part 4 of the YouTube clip, embedded above.

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Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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