P!nk 5/29/18

Pink Ticket

So P!nk’s world tour in support of her newest album Beautiful Trauma is definitely not the typical concert I would go to but Ingrid chose to take me with one of the two tickets I got her as a Christmas present this last year. P!nk just played San Diego in September for Kaaboo but Ingrid missed half of her set because Muse was playing at the same time.

I got a taste of what a P!nk show was all about when I saw her Grammy performance but that was not even the tip of the iceberg. This show was downright fantastic. I recognized some of the songs but an overwhelming visual aspect to the performance took the music to another level. The custom stage allowed her and her many dancers to spread out with choreographed routines. Two moving walkways in the middle section of the outstretched stage moved in opposite directions as she high fived people closest to her in the audience. A giant blowup of Eminem took center stage as she sang “Revenge.”

The real spectacle was when people were literally flying around the arena on some sort of pulley system. This rivaled a Cirque du Soleil show with the aerial acrobatics and is just not something seen in a live music setting. At one point during the show P!nk was dangling from one of her dancer’s arms high above the crowd without a harness on or a safety net below. High drama as she hit the high notes. The best rope pulley flying was reserved for the last song in her skin-tight glitter suit.

Even as impressive as the acrobatics were, they were nothing compared to the fact that P!nk was actually singing during all of this. Her voice sounded great and never wavered even as she was twisting and turning through the air. Her backing band was a traditional rock guitarist, bassist and drummer setup but she also had two backup singers and two keyboard players. This afforded her the ability to play “Just A Girl” by No Doubt and a delightfully surprising faithful rendition of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

In an age of no talent ass clowns that lip sync and fake their way through it was refreshing to see an artist that clearly cares about giving her fans something special and real. P!nk did not just set the bar, she is the bar.

SETLIST: Get the Party Started, Beautiful Trauma, Just Like a Pill, Who Knew, Revenge, Funhouse/Just a Girl, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Secrets, Try, Just Give Me a Reason, I’m Not Dead, Just Like Fire, What About Us, For Now, Barbies, I Am Here, Fuckin’ Perfect, Raise Your Glass, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), So What, Glitter in the Air

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Slayer/Lamb of God/Anthrax/Behemoth/Testament 5/10/18

Slayer:Anthrax

Slayer decided to “hang it up” and they chose the storied San Diego Sports Arena to kick off their farewell tour but the real reason I was here was to see Anthrax. My fondness for Anthrax started in high school when I was introduced to the Persistence of Time album. That fondness only grew once John Bush took over vocal duties on the Sound of White Noise album. After all this time and all these concerts under my belt Anthrax is a band that somehow managed to escape me.

Anthrax was just in San Diego on February 13th at the House of Blues but by the time I found out about the show tickets were sold out and going for $150 each. I decided to pass because I had already found out they would be coming back as one of the openers on the Slayer tour. Unfortunately when it came time to buy a ticket for this show I once again found out after it was sold out so was still looking at $150 for a ticket on the resale market. I heard there was a miniscule chance of the box office releasing additional tickets just hours before the show, so with nothing to lose I went straight from work down to the Sports Arena. No dice but as per usual there were a few guys milling around the parking lot trying to unload an overpriced ticket. This was right when the concert started at 5 pm and the first guy said he would sell one to me for $70. Not bad but I somehow made up my mind that $40 was what I was willing to pay and was willing to wait it out since Anthrax was not slated to start until 6:55. After another guy offered to sell me one for $120 I decided it was too early for bargains so walked over to nearby Buffalo Wild Wings for some wings and beer.

After scouring Stubhub and Craigslist to no avail I walked back over to the Sports Arena to start the same song and dance all over again. Now a guy was willing to let one go for $60 but I still had a little time. I offered $30 and reasoned with the guy that it could end up being $30 more than he might end up with otherwise. He walked away and came back five minutes later with his tail between his legs and let me have it for $30. I got in with just enough time to grab a beer and grab a spot since this was a General Admission concert.

Although the newest album to the credit of Anthrax was For All Kings they went with a heavy dose of songs from their classic album Among the Living for their shortened set. The backdrop to the stage was a nod to that album as was the shirt on Joey Belladonna’s back so I guess it all made sense. Joey was flying all over the stage still hitting the higher notes, Scott Ian was doing his stomp thing as he was crushing lightning fast guitar riffs and bassist Frank Bello was tripping me out because from a distance he was a dead ringer for Cliff Burton.

I saw two things during this performance that made me appreciate my fellow metalheads even more:

  • There was a giant mosh pit in the middle of the floor the entire time but in the middle of said mosh pit there was an island of people that were stationary. Kind of an “island of mosh” where they stood still and everyone kept doing circles around them. There were no problems, as everyone just seemed to respect one another to the highest degree.
  • Barely anyone had their phones out. This was not the crowd that wanted to try to make everyone else in the world jealous by posting where they are, this was the crowd that could give a shit about what you think. They were here to watch an awesome band play awesome music.

SETLIST: Caught in a Mosh, Madhouse, I Am the Law, Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.), Evil Twin, Antisocial, Indians

Oh yeah Slayer was here too…but I did not stick around for that. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Slayer but through a combination of being by myself, completely burned out from the week, the concert taking place on a “school night,” not wanting to sit through Lamb of God to get to Slayer and having seen Slayer many times I just couldn’t do it.

 

John Fogerty 5/5/18

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John Fogerty is a living legend. Once I found out he was still playing at 72 years old I looked into it and found out that he was doing a short residency at the Wynn in Las Vegas followed by a summer tour with ZZ Top followed by another short run at the Wynn. Seeing him with ZZ Top would have been badass but the tour was not slated to come anywhere near San Diego. Carpe Diem. Ingrid had wanted just the two of us to get away to somewhere like Vegas for a quick weekend trip ever since we returned from Aruba and when I told her John Fucking Fogerty was playing there she was over the moon. We decided a last minute trip was in order because who knew how many more opportunities the universe was going to offer to see him. After all, CCR held a special place in both our hearts for separate reasons, but also because the first concert we ever went to together was that other band touring around playing CCR songs calling themselves something very similar.

I will spare you ALL the Vegas debauchery but let’s just say that like our last minute trip, we also cut it close getting into the concert itself:

3:45 pm – Ingrid decided that she was feeling randy and proposed some afternoon delight.

4:05 pm – Me: “Do you feel that? Something feels weird.” Ingrid with look of horror on her face: “Oh shit! I forgot to take out my tampon!” Yes it took me longer than it should have to figure this out and yes we were making hanky panky near the end of her lady time but this comment immediately registered in my brain as “oh shit we have to go to the hospital to get it removed,” which was the very next thing that came out of Ingrid’s mouth.

4:15 pm – I walked around the corner to the pot dispensary to get an edible for the evening while Ingrid got ready to go out for the night. We knew we could very well be cutting it close to the 8 pm show time so had to prepare for the possibility of not coming back to our room beforehand.

4:30 pm – We grabbed her bottle of champagne and my tall boy Modelo, ordered a Lyft and requested he take us to the nearest hospital. Chatty Charlie behind the wheel inquired as to whom we were going to see and the first thing out of Ingrid’s mouth was “our friend broke her ankle…last night.” It was hard to hold in my laughter.

5 pm – We got checked into the emergency room and busted open our drinks in the waiting area. When in Vegas…

6:40 – They still had not called Ingrid’s name and I had to pick up our tickets at the Wynn no later than one hour before show time so I ate my special chocolate, hopped into a Lyft and hoped she would be able to join me in time.

7:29 – I got a text from Ingrid saying she was on her way!

7:45 – This is the time that we were supposed to show up to actually guarantee the seats that we purchased.

7:47 – We were granted entrance into the Wynn Theater. We immediately went to the only bar inside and waited in one of the five lines that were all going slow as molasses. About this time my special chocolate was kicking in so I really just wanted to get some beer and get to our seats.

8:03 – We apparently made it to our seats with a couple minutes to spare since the stage was empty save for “Fogerty” lit up in giant Vegas style letters. Our seats were awesome! We were sitting right in the first row of the balcony section not too far right of center. It was hard not to notice that this was the Alaska Cruise of concerts as I think we may have been the youngest people in attendance.

All of a sudden the theater got dark as the screen started projecting a little vignette of John riding a motorcycle through Vegas as he narrated how he felt about “Proud Mary” being covered by the likes of Elvis and Tina Turner. Before you know it the screen rolled up, John Fogerty popped up from under the stage playing “Proud Mary” and from then on it was pure bliss for roughly the next 90 minutes. The guy looked great for 72 years old and played guitar like a motherfucker but that voice…what little he may have lost with age was still unmistakably John Fogerty and still fantastic!

It was very much a Vegas show as many of the songs had added horn flourishes, keyboards and accordians but all the songs were still very much rock and roll. “Susie Q” was everything I needed it to be with the vocals progressively getting more balls out with each verse.

Almost right away I noticed that one of the other guitar players was flat out ripping it up. It turns out he was John’s son Shane Fogerty who played with him for the entire show. One very cool moment was when John’s other son Tyler Fogerty came out and joined dad and brother to sing “Good Golly Miss Molly” and killed it. He was donning a very 70’s Vegas looking red suit with embellishments and kept doing this Little Richard scream thing that was just perfect. I’m pretty sure we could be friends.

A couple of times throughout the show the smoke machines combined with our vantage point (and maybe my special chocolate) made it look as if John Fogerty was playing on a cloud, like when he took to the piano for “Long As I Can See the Light.”

Throughout the entire show there was one guy on the floor section standing up the entire time just loving it. I recognized him almost immediately as none other than Bill Walton because he is hard to miss at seven feet tall and ironically I ran into him one other time in Vegas. At one point during “New Orleans” a miniature marching band left the stage to walk down the aisle Bill Walton was in. The last person in this line was the drummer and he decided to hand Bill Walton his drum, which he happily put on and joined the band.

Near the end John ran through three of his solo “hits” and played a baseball bat guitar for “Centerfield.” It was fitting that he closed the show with a blistering version of “Fortunate Son.” No horns here. Just good old-fashioned rock and roll from one of the legends. Thank you Mr. Fogerty.

SETLIST: Proud Mary, Green River, Susie Q, Oh! Susanna, Lookin’ Out My Back Door, Lodi, Good Golly Miss Molly, Whote Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/Boogie Woogie Blues, Long As I Can See the Light, Love and War, Keep on Chooglin’, Who’ll Stop the Rain, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Born on the Bayou, My Toot Toot, Jambalaya (On the Bayou), New Orleans, Have You Ever Seen the Rain?, Down on the Corner, Rock and Roll Girls, The Old Man Down the Road, Up Around the Bend, Centerfield, Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son

CalJam 10/7/17

CalJamTicket

CalJam was billed as a “daylong marathon of eating, drinking and rocking” modeled in the vain of the famed CalJam festivals at Ontario Motor Speedway back in 1974 and 1978. Who better to bring some semblance of this nostalgia back than Dave Grohl? “In addition to 12 hours of rock and roll good times, CalJam offers camping, carnival rides, a water park, attractions, a mobile recording studio & so much more. On Friday night, October 6, campers will also experience the world’s best Go-Go band Big Tony & Trouble Funk, an outdoor movie theater and many other surprises.” Besides the great lineup I loved that this was unabashedly a rock and roll festival. No DJ’s, no bullshit, just pure rock and roll.

I convinced Luke to go after I convinced Tom to go and our camping passes arrived in a super cool paper CalJam RV with a silk CalJam flag. Unfortunately only after we bought a camping pass did we learn that for some reason unbeknownst to us in order to camp you had to arrive on Friday night by 11:30…even though the show was all day Saturday??? Once we arrived we quickly understood why the organizers made campers show up the night before. There were just too many people that would have needed to be handled at the same time as all the people that did not camp. It was extremely well organized and we were not the least bit upset with the extra safety precautions that were taken. Having been to a couple similar “camping” situations I have to say it was refreshing to have grass on our little piece of the pie. It was also a very nice touch to have Christmas lights strewn over the entire campground to light up our night and give a little ambiance. After setting up shop, having some beer and watching a small part of “Yellow Submarine” at the outdoor movie screen we called it a night because we had a long 100 degree day in front of us. I especially liked the setup Tom had which consisted of an air mattress that blew up to fit perfectly in the bed of his truck.

Much to my detriment it did not take long the next morning to re-ignite the flame from the night before. A paltry breakfast of turkey bacon and potato chips did little to equalize said flame. Our first order of business was to go down the water slides located within the campgrounds. We thought this would be a suitable equivalent to a shower and besides why wouldn’t you want to go down a water slide after drinking a little? It seems we were just a tad early so we were turned away and told to come back at 11. Fast forward a couple hours and we were granted entrance into the majestic water park where almost immediately upon arrival we overheard someone say that Dave Grohl was there and had just gone down the water slide. Someone spotted him and I took the opportunity to go fan boy and shake his hand as he was trying to escape. What a cool guy. He was walking around with no posse or bodyguards. Just a down to earth guy that everyone wants to have a beer with.

After wrapping my hand in plastic and vowing to never wash it again (I kid) and going down the water slide we went back to the campsite to chill for a bit since the first band on the bill that we cared about were The Struts who did not start until 2. It was back at the campsite that our neighboring camper decided to offer us the leftover mushrooms that she had. This amounted to several stems and a couple caps. I would say I was surprised but this sort of thing seems to find me on occasion. The idea was to split it up between three people. Hold that thought.

I knew nothing of The Struts except that the singer slightly resembled Freddie Mercury and they had quite a buzz surrounding them. They had a good energy about them but were not really my cup of tea. Since the entire affair was a rare General Admission event we were free to roam about anywhere in the crowd and watch them up close.

Next up and the first band I really, really wanted to see was Royal Blood. I had just seen them for the first time ever less than two months before this but they were awesome again. It was obviously not as intimate as the last time I saw them but their aura still translated well to the amphitheater setting. Still hard to believe all that sound is coming from just two dudes.

There was a short intermission before Babes in Toyland were to play so we seized this opportunity to continue double fisting beers on a 100 degree day after drinking since 8 am plus Friday night. *THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.* It was about this time we lost Luke. He apparently decided to break from the group without any communication to go ride the ferris wheel. Cell phone service is terrible with that many people in a concentrated area so this was the last we would see of him. I only saw Babes one other time way back in 1995 when they opened for White Zombie. This time they were playing the second stage back in an area that I did not even know existed. It could have been the beer and heat combination but I felt like there were not that many people watching them. I was very close to the stage and entranced by these three ladies doing their thing. They simply rocked.

It was around this time that I lost Tom and apparently my phone as well. Hot. Mess. Express. Although I was now without both people I came with or a phone to aid me in finding them, I did still manage to have my cookie and the mushrooms on me. So I did what any (in)sane person would do and ate it all. I do remember some of Cage the Elephant’s performance and remember thinking how improved they were over the one other time I had seen them about six years before this when they opened for Foo Fighters. I also remember enjoying the one song I actually like of theirs “Mess Around.”

Somehow this was only the third time I had seen Queens of the Stone Age and the last time had been almost a decade before. They were here in support of their newest album Villains that was released a little over a month before this and were pretty badass as expected but I felt like I watched them from outer space due to the circumstances. Even though I could have gone to the floor I found more solace in the lawn section due to my state of affairs so I’m sure I looked like a lunatic being all by myself. I remember being there but still had a “come to” moment right as the Foo Fighters came on.

This time seeing Foo Fighters was much different than the last time I saw them when Dave was literally rocking a cast from a throne. Not only was Dave mobile but they had the new album Concrete and Gold that was less than a month old. I very much enjoyed one of my favorite tracks from the new album “Dirty Water” as well as a scorching version of one of my favorite Foo songs of all time “White Limo.” Besides the new songs they had a couple other surprises up their sleeve. The first was Rick Rolling everyone with Rick Astley himself as Foo Fighters played the most rocking version of “Never Gonna Give You Up” I have ever heard. The next was bringing out Joe Perry for a spot on cover of “Draw the Line” and a cover of “Come Together” with Liam Gallagher singing. These motherfuckers played from 9:45 to midnight and I loved every second of it. Dave hinted at the possibility of this becoming an annual affair. Sign me up!

SETLIST: Times Like These, All My Life, Learn to Fly, The Pretender, The Sky is a Neighborhood, La Dee Da, Walk, These Days, My Hero, Sunday Rain, White Limo, Arlandria, Rope, Dirty Water, This Is a Call, Misirlou/Cat Scratch Fever/Another One Bites the Dust/Smoke on the Water/Day O mash up during band introductions, Monkey Wrench, Run, Never Gonna Give You Up, Best of You, Draw the Line, Come Together, Everlong

Local H/Toadies 9/23/17

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This was the fifth time I had the pleasure of seeing Local H and ironically the last time I saw them was at the same venue for the 20th Anniversary of As Good As Dead at the beginning of last summer. These guys tour relentlessly, as evidenced by the fact that they were technically still touring on 2015’s Hey, Killer. Apparently the newest drummer Ryan recently had a baby so he was sitting this tour out. I don’t know where Scott finds these guys but whomever he had behind the drum kit was the fourth drummer I have seen him play with and although I prefer having Ryan behind the kit, this guy killed it too. Even though this was not her usual scene I convinced my wife Ingrid to go with me and we were nearly front row for the whole energetic performance. I very much enjoyed “Hands on the Bible,” an absolutely blistering version of “Bound for the Floor,” and the one-two ending punch of “Fritz’s Corner” and “High-Fiving MF.”

SETLIST: John the Baptist Blues, The Misanthrope, City of Knives, Michelle (Again), Hands on the Bible, The One With ‘Kid’, Bound for the Floor, Gig Bag Road, “Cha” Said the Kitty, Cooler Heads, The Last Picture Show in Zion, Fritz’s Corner, High-Fiving MF

In another kawinkidink this was also my fifth time seeing Toadies and although it was not the last time I saw them, I did also see them at the Belly Up celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their breakthrough album Rubberneck back in March of 2014. This time they were touring for the excellent album The Lower Side of Uptown that had just been released a couple weeks before this. I did not keep track of all the songs they played (too busy rocking out) but do remember “Take Me Alive,” “Tyler,” “Happyface,” “My Sweetness,” “I Come From the Water,” “Summer of the Strange,” and the closer “I Burn.” Two badass bands that I love for the price of one? These two bands were a match made in the clouds, which is where I was the entire time.

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Kaaboo 9/17/17

2017_Comedy Lineup

Kaaboo Day 3

We had a couple of hours to get our shit together this morning before we had to catch the bus and it was quite literally the struggle bus. Two days of constant drinking in the sun on your feet will do that to a person but here we were about to do it for the third day in a row. You only live once, right?

T-Pain took the stage immediately after we arrived. I am not a fan whatsoever but he is one of those guys that you cannot really avoid exposure to unless you are living under a rock. Ingrid loved it. I do have to give credit where credit is due though and say I respected his enthusiasm and control of the crowd. There is something to be said about someone performing that looks like they are actually enjoying what they are doing.

We did run into Larry and Christina but Larry understandably did not want any part of our madness since he had to get on a 4:30 am flight the next day.

The first band I wanted to see was Live, who I had only seen one other time WAY back in 1995 at the height of their popularity when the album Throwing Copper was fairly new. I have always been a big fan and they sounded great. It must be weird for a band to go from headlining festivals to playing during the day on a Sunday at one but they took it in stride and killed it. It was an interesting choice to throw covers of “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash and “Like A Stone” by Audioslave into an already shortened set but it sounded really good.

At this point we were able to meet back up with Keith, Sierra, Keith’s friend Chris and his girlfriend to watch Alanis Morrisette. There is exactly one song of hers that I really like (Joining You) which I knew she would not play but I respect her as a talent. It was shocking to see her as a bleach blonde and playing a shimmery Stratocaster for about 1/3 of the songs but she was good. I’m sure her hardcore fans left satisfied.

The grand finale of the night and festival as a whole was none other than Mr. Tom Petty. This was my third time seeing him but the last time was about seven years before this. What can I say? He and the Heartbreakers crushed it in a way that you can only crush it from doing it as long as they have been doing it. They sounded fucking fantastic. If they sound great through laptop speakers on a YouTube video that was taken with a shitty phone camera then you can imagine how good they sounded in person. I did not get to hear my favorite tunes “Breakdown” and “You Got Lucky” but they played for a solid two hours and “Refugee” was about as good as it gets.

Once the bus dropped us off we made our Lyft driver take us through the Arby’s drive through. Three days might have been a bit much but all in all Kaboo was a success despite spending over $100 each per day on alcohol. Until next year…

 

Kaaboo 9/16/17

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Kaaboo Day 2

To avoid sleeping in the car, booking an overly expensive hotel room or paying for a surge-pricing Uber we opted for a charter bus option that Kaaboo organizers set up for this year. The pickup/dropoff location was just down the road from our place, there were multiple time options and as a bonus we could drink on the way.

We awoke to a surprise text from our friend Dave who recently moved back to San Diego and informed us that not only was he going to go to Kaaboo with us today, but he was actually outside our place. Time to put some pants on. Our missing friends from the previous day Jane and Calvin planned on having people over at their pool for a little pre-party since they live just a short walk away from the Del Mar Fairgrounds. After we were unable to convince our bus driver that did not speak a lick of English to drop us off at their place we made the hike only to find Jane getting over a sickness and Calvin looking a little pale. They powered through and soon Larry, Christina, Bob and Bob’s brother-in-law showed up. By this time our friend Dave had downed a fifth of vodka and had stripped down to his underwear to get into the pool. He met his match in the form of Bob’s brother-in-law (who I had never met before) who was on the exact same level. On the walk over to the fairgrounds Bob’s brother-in-law decided to urinate on a sign at the busiest intersection of the entire area, which also happened to be approximately four feet from a woman who was throwing up. This was at about three in the afternoon so we were off to a great start.

Garbage was the first band of the day that I cared to see. It was at this stage we met up with Kyle and Sierra to enjoy a performance that was as fiery as Shirley Manson’s short red hair. It had been quite some time since I had seen them but they quickly reminded me of why I like them.

Jane’s Addiction was next up and they appeased my desire to hear “Mountain Song” and “Stop!” Always an enjoyable band to watch. Perry Farrell is a nut and each individual musician is borderline virtuoso.

The artist that I really wanted to see outside of my usual wheelhouse was Ice Cube. I love his fuck-you attitude and the guy is a legend. “It Was A Good Day” was the first rap song I can actually remember liking. “Fuck Da Police” and “Check Yo Self” were awesome. Ice Cube lived up my lofty expectations but unfortunately my good day ended without seeing him perform “It Was A Good Day” because I did not want to miss a note of Muse, who was set to start the moment Ice Cube’s time was over and it was a good 10 minute walk to get to the opposing stage.

Muse was incredible. The opening sequence of the new song “Dig Down” from the yet unreleased new album followed by “Pyscho” and “Hysteria” had me beside myself. The production of this show was not nearly what it was the first time I saw them but to be fair this was a festival setting versus their own show. Regardless they knocked my drunk socks clean off. I especially liked when they laced in Rage Against the Machine’s “Freedom” right before they played the ending of “Reapers” because I always thought the two songs shared a common thread. It was almost as if to say, “yeah we know it sounds like that song, but we’re trying to pay homage, not totally rip it off.” This also makes complete sense because Matt Bellamy shreds on guitar right up there with the likes of Tom Morello.

Thankfully the return bus we needed to board was directly behind the stage where Muse played. Once we got home our neighbor across the hall that we had only met once came out of nowhere at 1 am with a six pack of beer wanting to party. It was weird but I let her in and left her with our extremely dunzo friend Dave while I went to the bedroom to get an equally dunzo Ingrid. The neighbor quickly realized what kind of shitshow she walked in on and promptly excused herself. Good times.