John Fogerty 5/5/18

fogertyticket

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

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Soundgarden 7/23/11

Soundgarden 11

On April 9, 1997 Soundgarden announced they were disbanding. I felt super lucky to have been able to see them just the summer before this break up. Time warp with me to 2011 and Soundgarden announced that “school is back in session” and the band was going on tour for the month of July. When that was announced it was not a matter of if I was going to go see them, it was only a matter of where. Bob and I decided The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas would be the where in the form of a road trip with our significant others Ingrid and Jasmine. It would still be over a year from this point that the band would release the comeback album King Animal.

After spending Friday at the pool and Friday night at Dick’s Last Resort where Jasmine had a hookup we were all feeling pretty capital on Saturday, especially since it was over 100 degrees outside. After an early dinner Jasmine was DONE, Ingrid decided to go out on her own and Bob and me hopped into a cab to get to the show. It was here we split up and ate the bag of mushrooms we brought with us. We were scared to each eat half the eighth because there were so many caps & stems but onward and upward.

The Joint reminded me a lot of House of Blues but it was a little bigger. We got general admission tickets and stood in the middle of the floor section the whole time. Surprisingly it was actually not very dense down there. This opened the door for some annoying drunk guy to keep bugging us when we could barely talk. We were ignoring him but he was not getting the hint. The next thing you know he totally redeemed himself when he disappeared, came back with two beers for us and then disappeared again for good.

Soundgarden ripped. It was a little different seeing them at their own show versus having a non-headlining slot on Lollapalooza. They set the tone early by opening with “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” in front of a giant backdrop of the Badmotorfinger album cover. Kim Thayil’s Guild guitar was literally snarling on “Gun” and “Beyond the Wheel,” Chris’ voice sounded fucking incredible and Matt and Ben held down some furious rhythms. One might argue that it was the shrooms, but Chris Cornell’s long hair and long beard left me feeling like we just saw Jesus play a show.

Our night was far from over after the final notes of “Slaves & Bulldozers” and so was the “trip.” My first indication was when we spilled out into the casino and the floors appeared as if they were “rolling” beneath us. Bless Ingrid for cabbing it to the Hard Rock to help us out. The three of us got into a cab and my fits of laughter were too contagious for the cabbie to resist laughing right along with me. We had him drop us off at the AM/PM across the street from the Excalibur where we were staying. I was too effed to go into the store to buy beer so I waited outside. As I did an SUV full of possible prostitutes pulled up and said “Heyyyyyyyy. You wanna party?” Hell no. Beer in hand we walked across the street and found 3 giant rocks amongst Astroturf near an Excalibur sign that we decided would be a perfect spot to drink. We seemed to be there for hours and drank all the beer. During this time we made friends with an Iron Maiden loving guy who had been quarreling loudly with his girlfriend only moments earlier. He left and in his place a drunken Irishman appeared. He loved our rock ways and said “I have to go to my room to get my whiskey. Don’t leave. I’ll be right back.” That was fine and dandy except after he left a security guard for Excalibur showed up on a bicycle and informed us the party was over…after we had already been there for hours…but what do I know? I was under the influence of mushrooms and Bud Light.

The next day we caught a movie to try to avoid some of the traffic but it did not matter. Driving back from Vegas is always hell. You feel like shit from drinking and not getting enough sleep and to top it off most of the way back is two lanes of asshole drivers that will cut you off if you do not ride the ass of the car in front of you. Getting to Vegas from San Diego is about a 4.5 hour drive on a good day. The way back is always longer but this particular time took over 10 hours! It was at that moment I vowed to never drive to Vegas again. I reasoned that if I did not have enough money to fly then I probably did not have any business being there anyway. Despite the hellacious car ride home it was worth every minute to get to see Soundgarden again.

SETLIST: “Searching With My Good Eye Closed,” “Spoonman,” “Gun,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Blow Up the Outside World,” “The Day I Tried to Live,” “My Wave,” “Pretty Noose,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Ugly Truth,” “Big Dumb Sex,” “Loud Love,” “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage,” “Black Rain,” “Black Hole Sun,” “Head Down,” “Burden in My Hand,” “Superunknown,” “4th of July,” “Beyond the Wheel,” “Hands All Over,” “Slaves & Bulldozers”