CalJam 10/7/17

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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

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Foo Fighters 9/24/15

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Dave Grohl is the shit but you already knew that or you probably wouldn’t have clicked on this post. I already figured I would end up going to this show but did not know all the details until the last minute. After buying tickets for 4 and having one person bail I ended up going with Jason who literally got into town just a few hours before the show and Tom. We got into the venue as Gary Clark Jr. was finishing up. He rips it up on guitar but I was a little disappointed because Royal Blood had opened up for the Foo most other dates of the tour.

Foo Fighters were on tour for the Sonic Highways album/show (both excellent) but the big news was that Dave had broken his leg about 3 months prior to this during one of their concerts in Sweden. He is so badass that he came back onto the stage about an hour after he broke his leg to finish the concert. Apparently when he was getting his leg fixed up at the hospital and doped up on OxyContin he concocted a “throne” that would allow the Foo Fighters to continue on with the tour. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-the-throne-dave-grohl-on-how-the-foos-saved-their-summer-20150730

Let me just say that I have never seen someone sitting down rock so hard. Dave always has a lot of energy and not an ounce of that was lost just because he was confined to sitting. They got “Everlong” out of the way right away to start the show and from that point on it was pure rock and roll that seamlessly transitioned from their hit songs to silly banter to cover songs and back again. Most of the other times I have seen them they have done a medley of just the beginnings of cover songs and then a full version of another. The full cover this time was “Under Pressure” by Queen/David Bowie. Phenomenal. Another  fun part of the show was when Dave invited a guy onstage that was dancing his ass off out in the crowd. He went by the name “Happy Feet Steve” and continued to dance his ass off onstage while the band played “Arlandria.” As a fan of all of their music I am always left wanting more of the lesser known deep cut hidden gems but these guys always play at least a solid 2 hours so I really have nothing to bitch about. I left the venue that night far from disappointed.

 

 

Foo Fighters 3/3/08

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Donna being the dear that she was bought a pair of floor tickets as a birthday present for me. Foo Fighters were touring for Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace that was released about 6 months before this. All was well until we tried to get in. The tickets were the printout kind bought off of Craigslist and when the barcode was scanned we were informed that the tickets had already been scanned…as in the person who sold her the tickets printed out multiple copies to sell to us and arrived before us, making our tickets absolutely useless. I was livid. Donna still had the phone number to the gal that sold the tickets to her and I called to light her up. She played stupid and agreed to refund Donna’s money…which did us no good in that moment. We still needed tickets. Walking around in these seeing red moments looking for scalpers I thought I saw Nick “Peeps” Oliveri walk by us. This was later confirmed by a picture I found on the San Diego Union Tribune website. We eventually found someone to sell us two tickets at the very back of the arena in seats near the top. This was a far cry from being on the floor as I anticipated but at least we were still there to witness the greatness that is Foo Fighters. Everything ended up turning out alright because halfway through their set they all came down to a smaller stage that had been set up towards the back which in effect gave us front row seats for their mini-set.

SETLIST: Let It Die, The Pretender, Times Like These, Breakout, Learn To Fly, Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running), This Is A Call, Stacked Actors, Skin and Bones, Marigold, My Hero, Cold Day In The Sun, But, Honestly, Everlong, Monkey Wrench, All My Life, Big Me, Long Road To Ruin, Best Of You

Foo Fighters 9/27/05

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A tour in which Weezer opened for Foo Fighters dubbed the “Foozer” tour. Weezer was touring for their underrated album Make Believe that had just come out in May. I think Dee came with me but I’m sure Macy came with me only because I remember she was scared shitless riding in my topless Jeep on the way home. I had only seen Weezer one other time up to this point 8 years earlier (ironically also opening up for another band) so I was pretty excited to see them again. I think 2 bands of this caliber on the same bill elevates the performance of each because I’m sure they have no desire to be outdone by the other. Weezer’s backdrop looked like a jumbo version of the one that the band stands in front of on the Make Believe album. One of the things I love about Weezer is that the music is light, poppy, and heavy all at once and that was on full display here. Several 3-minute bursts of hooky rock in rapid succession. Besides the new songs it was also cool to finally see songs from the Green Album and Maladroit performed as well.

SETLIST: “My Name is Jonas,” “Peace,” “Don’t Let Go,” “ In the Garage,” “This is Such a Pity,” “Big Me,” “Perfect Situation,” “Why Bother?,” “El Scorcho,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “We Are All On Drugs,” “Surf Wax America,” “Beverly Hills,” “Buddy Holly,” “Photograph,” “Island in the Sun,” “Undone – The Sweater Song,” “Hash Pipe”

This was my third time seeing Foo Fighters. I had just seen them about a year before this but now they were touring for the double album In Your Honor that came out about 3 months before this show. The album is one half traditional rockers (Disc 1) and one half slower acoustic songs (Disc 2). Foo Fighters flat out rocked on this night and were able to blend 4 new songs in with some of their classics. Their stage setup was a cool arrangement of asymmetric amps and video screens. I’m pretty sure Dave Grohl could have made it as a comic if he wasn’t so good at being a musician because he is a funny bastard. Besides rocking our world and making us laugh he treated us to a cover of CCR’s “Born on the Bayou.” Kick. Ass.

SETLIST: “In Your Honor,” “All My Life,” “My Hero,” “Best of You,” “Up In Arms,” “Learn to Fly,” “The Last Song,” “The One,” “Stacked Actors,” “Everlong,” “DOA,” “This Is A Call,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Breakout”

Street Scene 8/28/04

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Day 2 of Street Scene. Randomly I remember having a Chipotle burrito here for the first time with guacamole. I’ve not had one without guacamole since. This was the day there was a fiasco because the trolley ran right through the parking lot where the event was and at some point there were so many people trying to get to one of the stages that the trolley was blocked. I remember watching Eek-A-Mouse because Dee is into reggae, which worked out nicely to stake a spot for Cypress Hill. For this performance they had lost the 2 guitarists I had previously seen them with and went back to just DJ Muggs, Sen Dog and B-Real. Lots of marijuana smoke in the air but if you know anything about Cypress Hill then you already knew that. I got my fill before the main attraction for me: Foo Fighters. I had only saw them once before and had not seen them since the release of One by One. The picture of Dave Grohl in the red shirt was taken around this time period but not at this show. I included it because it invokes the main moment that sticks out in my memory. He strapped on this tuned down Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser guitar (apparently given to him by Dale Jr.) and ripped into “Stacked Actors.” Awesome. There was also a moment during their set where some guy jumped up on the stage and Dave said something along the lines of “you’ve got the balls to jump on the stage but do you have the balls to show the audience your balls?” The guy did it and Dave said “You’re awesome dude. Nice balls. Now get the fuck off my stage.” I think P.O.D. ended up not being at this show for some reason but I do remember seeing some of Jack Johnson’s set.

Snowball 12/8/99

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Apparently Filter and Bush played but I only really remember the Foo Fighters because I had never seen them before. I became an immediate fan simply based on Dave Grohl being in Nirvana but actually liked the music too. Dave Grohl is a badass and he kicked a lot of ass that night. They were on tour for the recently released There Is Nothing Left to Lose album. One memorable moment was when Dave said “I’m gonna sing this next song to Taylor” and played whatever song it was just facing Taylor Hawkins but the highlight was when Dave got behind the drum kit himself. He just went nuts and reminded everyone just how talented he is.

This was an interesting show for me because of my love life. I was hired on for the holiday season at a retail store called Meier & Frank. Working in a four level retail store at the mall was a wonderful way to meet women. The problem was that I was not interested in any of the girls that outwardly showed interest in me. I worked as a “floater,” which meant I didn’t know what department I was going to work in until I showed up for work. One day I was assigned to Men’s Sportswear and that’s when I saw her. An angelic, sweet, and innocent looking girl named Lucinda. I couldn’t stop looking at her but she wanted nothing to do with me. A day shortly after I was assigned to a department that was right next to Men’s Sportswear and I happened to work with a girl named Robin, who happened to be Lucinda’s best friend. Turns out Lucinda had a boyfriend. Not that long after she broke up with him and invited me to her birthday party. It was at Robin’s apartment, which happened to be in the same building as Lucinda’s apartment. You get where I’m going with this. I previously agreed to go to this concert with Rose but had since fallen for Lucinda harder than any girl I had ever fallen for. Rose’s friend Tyler worked at the Memorial Coliseum and I remember not really wanting him to see me there with another girl because I really wasn’t trying to be with Rose at that point.

SETLIST: Stacked Actors, My Poor Brain, Breakout, Learn to Fly, Up in Arms, Ain’t it the Life, Monkey Wrench, Alone + Easy Target, Everlong, Aurora, This is a Call, I’ll Stick Around

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