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.

 

Green Day 4/8/17

GreenDay2017

I had only seen Green Day one other time back in 2005 on the American Idiot tour but here they were again on tour for Revolution Radio that was released back in October. I was originally going to get floor tickets with a couple guys I used to work with but Kyle had his plus one bail on him and I felt bad that he got hosed on a reseller site so I just bought his extra ticket.

The couple guys I used to work with got to the venue at 6 am to make sure they were front row when the doors opened. Lunatics. I met up with them outside about an hour before the doors opened to have a couple beers and shoot the shit. Once they went in I walked over to Phil’s BBQ to meet up with Kyle for an El Toro and more beer. After a couple more beers at a brewery nearby that I had not ever been to (Bay City Brewing Company) we got to our seats about 2 minutes before Green Day hit the stage and boy did they hit it. So much energy! So much pyrotechnics! The band was very tight and played a nice mixture of old and new tunes. One super cool moment was when Billie Joe brought a young boy onstage to play guitar and then let the boy keep the guitar once he was done. Another cool moment was when Billie Joe brought a younger girl onstage to sing which ended in her stage diving. Those 2 kids will remember that for the rest of their lives so I thought that was a pretty cool thing to do.

SETLIST: Know Your Enemy, Bang Bang, Revolution Radio, Holiday, Letterbomb, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Longview, Youngblood, 2000 Light Years Away, Hitchin’ a Ride, When I Come Around, Waiting, Burnout, Are We the Waiting, St. Jimmy, Minority, Knowledge (Operation Ivy), Basket Case, She, King for a Day, Shout/Always Look on the Bright Side of Life/(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction/Careless Whisper/Hey Jude, Still Breathing, Forever Now, American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia, Ordinary World, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

green-day-revolution radio

Muse 1/7/16

Muse

In the spirit of trying to save money for the upcoming wedding, me and Ingrid decided that for Christmas gifts we would get each other tickets to go see Muse instead of paying too much for crap we did not need. Muse was on tour for the excellent album Drones that came out in June. I’m not really sure how this band stayed off my radar for so long but I don’t think I really heard them until the song Madness. I am also not sure why the show was postponed from December 16th to January 7th but this delay changed our entire experience because now our friends Larry and Christina were in town from Europe and could go with us. They had tickets in a separate section but we were able to meet up beforehand and have a few drinks. It was raining pretty heavily so we decided to pay the $20 to park in the lot but traffic at the main gate was being diverted to behind the Sports Arena where traffic was horrendous. We had skipped the opening band Phantogram and it was now getting uncomfortably close to showtime. Rather than wait for the traffic we decided to try to find street parking nearby. The closest spot was a pretty far walk so we ended up catching the shortest Uber ride in history to avoid the rain. Once we got close to the venue we realized that Muse was already playing the song Dead Inside which ended up being their second song. Shit. Not only was this one of Ingrid’s favorite songs but she also had to use the ladies room immediately after we were inside. I used this opportunity to relieve myself as well but as I stood in the bathroom they had begun to play one of my favorite songs – Hysteria. Double shit. After a fiasco trying to find our seats and then kicking people out of our seats we could finally behold the greatness of Muse.

I have never seen such a fantastic stage setup and I have seen a LOT of concerts. They used the stadium in such a way that there was literally not a bad seat in the house. Their massive stage sprawled out lengthwise on the floor instead of the traditional stage setup at one end of the arena that renders all seats directly to the side and in back of the stage useless. The best way to describe it is a circle in the center that turned 360 degrees with a catwalk on the north and south ends. The light show and retractable see-through projection screens was nothing less than incredible. Oh and the music? Flawless and phenomenal without any of the usual fluff and banter with the crowd. They played for 2 solid hours and had many visual tricks up their sleeve to enhance the experience including giant dark balloons that shot out into the crowd, pianos that came out from under the stage, giant lit up balls that hovered above the crowd and a giant rocket/drone that circled the stadium. Instant top 5 concert I have ever been to.

SETLIST: Psycho, Dead Inside, Hysteria, Plug In Baby, The 2nd Law: Isolated System, The Handler, Resistance, Supermassive Black Hole, Prelude, Starlight, Apocalypse Please, Munich Jam, Madness, Undisclosed Desires, [JFK], Reapers, Time Is Running Out, Uprising, The Globalist, Drones, Mercy, Knights of Cydonia

Trans-Siberian Orchestra 11/30/12

TransSiberian Orchestra

Laser light show! Pyrotechnics! Christmas Music? Outside of “Blue Christmas” by Elvis I am not much of a Christmas music guy. However, just as adding cheese to nearly any food makes that food better so too does adding heavily distorted guitars and rock drums to Christmas music. This was in-fucking-credible. A full on rock and roll orchestra of virtuoso musicians playing “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” “Wizards in Winter,” and “Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24” made the Christmas season for Ingrid and I just a little more rocking.

Bob Dylan 10/24/12

Bob Dylan

I wouldn’t say I’m a big Bob Dylan fan but when your future father-in-law buys you a ticket to go see a legend you do not say no. He sprung for the fancy seats on the floor with our ladies. Mark Knopfler was opening which was cool since one of the first bands I can remember liking as a young boy was Dire Straits with songs like “Sultans of Swing” and the mega MTV smash “Money For Nothing.” The only Dire Straits song he played was “So Far Away” but it was still cool to see.

Bob Dylan was every bit the legend he earned the right to be. He came off like an old coot but only because he was not much of a talker. It was all business and the business he delivered. This guy has been around the block so many times that he is basically the NASCAR race of music which affords him the right to do anything he damn well pleases. In this case that meant playing all the songs he has played 1 million times over in a completely almost unrecognizable version.

SETLIST: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, It Ain’t Me, Babe, Things Have Changed, Tangled Up in Blue, Cry a While, Joey, Summer Days, Visions of Johanna, Highway 61 Revisited, Forgetful Heart, Thunder on the Mountain, Ballad of a Thin Man, Like A Rolling Stone, All Along the Watchtower, Blowin’ in the Wind