Tuesday, September 2, 2008

30,000 Drunkard Can't Be Wrong part 2 - Journey / Heart / Cheap Trick 8/30 Bethel

Bethel Woods is my favorite ampitheatre if I have lawn seats. It's only a couple of years old and their lawn is thick and lush, the back of the seating area is high and very open for a great view and it's just beautiful grounds.

This was one of those summer shows where they did the 4 pack ticket lawn bargain. When they went on sale months ago I got the 4 tix including all charges for $99. It was my older sister's weekend and she likes all the bands and never saw Journey (neither had I) so it was a perfect gift, me, the two sisters and the bro in law.

In the months leading up to this show we discussed it with a bunch of friends and planned on getting a big crew together and doing the parking lot party before hand and it would be a great end to the summer, but then the unexpected happened...

The show sold out! I'm not exactly sure when, but I think only about a week before hand...and it seems there were alot of people who waited and planned on buying tickets right before hand because as soon as I head it sold out I went to ebay and stubhub to hopefully score at least two more tickets for two friends who REALLY wanted to go and lawn seats....I repeat LAWN SEATS were selling for over $100 a piece in the days before the show!! Holy Crap!

So, it ended up just being the four of us.

We got there about 5 (first band scheduled to go on at 7) and the main lot was almost completely filled, but we got a nice spot. Hung out had some beers and listened to Journey cranked and incredible volume by the three guy who parked right next to us and were more excited to see Journey than I thought any fella would be!

We headed inside for the Trick. and the lawn was basically completely full. They announced in the local papers that they sold 15,000 tickets to this show to make it a sell out (as well as to the Jonas Brothers who sold out a week or two earlier evidently). I think they should lower the sell out to 14,000 as it was just a bit too packed.

The sound is usually phenomenal here, but for Cheap Trick, it was only okay. Perhaps they suffered the typical opening band not getting full use of the PA, as Heart and Journey sounded great, but for Cheap Trick the volume was too low and sound a bit muddy on the lawn.

Luckily the lawn wasn't muddy - it looked to threaten rain all day, but it never did, although it got very cold for this august night, but more on the effect of that later.

Cheap Trick played a typical rockin set. I've seen them at least a dozen times and they're always great, the only lull for me was "The Flame" which I just never think pulls it's weight in the live scenario, but it was a huge hit and this crowd (which was way more female than a typical rock show) loved it. No real suprises, a few members of Journey joined them for "Dream Police". They played the biggies "Surrender", "I Want You To Want Me". All hits and over too fast, but they crowd gave them love. Personally I have to suggest if Cheap Trick play a theatre or club by you - GO! They are always great, especially given 90 minutes and a full sound system.

Speaking of the crowd. This was one of those crowds that had tons of people who don't go to shows too often anymore...maybe one a year or every too years, but when they do go...oh boy are they ready to party! Plus there were tons of groups of women...women who I think partied hard in the past and were reliving that glory tonight! This quite possibly was the drunkest crowd I've ever seen, but not mean drunk...but alot of fall down drunk!

So the sun set and the mad rush to the bathroom and drink lines happened and then the lights went down and Heart came on opening with "Wild Child". I'm not sure if other than Ann and Nancy anyone else with Heart currently have always been there or if they're just hired guns, but they were tight and solid and the voices and guitar playing of the Sisters Wilson were great. The last time I saw heart was actually about 20 years ago on the Bad Animals tour and I'd say they sounded better now! They did about an hour (with an encore break which was a waste - If you're only doing an hour, how about staying on stage and playing an extra tune) of all hits and two covers (also odd when you have tons of your own hits and only an hour to play.). The covers were an amazing "Love Reign O'er Me" from the Who and one of the encores was Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" which was good, but I thought lacking...would have preferred maybe "Dog and Butterfly" (or they're version of Zep's "Battle of Evermore" which Nancy teased in her acoustic guitar intro to "Crazy On You" the set closer). In there we also go "Barracuda", "Never", "Alone", "Magic Man", "These Dream" and "Straight On", maybe one or two others, a strong set and the crowd loved 'em.

About 25 minute break and by this time the sun is down and goddamn those shorts and tee shirts we all were wearing did not seem like enough any longer. It was a hot august day when the sun was out, but it was damn cold now - I would guess low 50's.

We saw some folks leaving right after Heart, but not many, most of this crowd was here for Journey.

Again this was not really a crowd that follows the latest music news and I would guess 75% of the people did not know they would not be seeing a Steve Perry-less Journey, but everyone would soon realize that Steve Perry is not missed.

The new guy, Arnel Pineda, is amazing. He doesn't alot like Steve Perry - He sounds EXACTLY Like Steve Perry on every song. It's amazing.

Just a huge hit filled set, but strangley what I would consider their biggest hits they played about 3/4 of the way through the show "Faithfully", "Open Arms", and the song that absolutely put them back on the charts with the younger crowd "Don't Stop Believing". I mention this because as I mentioned earlier, it was cold and after two or three songs of Journey's set you started to see people leaving because of this...about 30 or 40 minutes in, it was a good size stream, but when they finished playing "Don't Stop Believing" the crowds started pouring out, maybe not just the cold, but feeling they heard enough hits and for many it was a long day of partying.

My personal fave was "Wheel in the Sky" which came toward the end of the set and "Stone in Love" which was the third or fourth song in.

They did I believe three tunes off their new album which I have to say fit in just fine with their other songs and any hit you can think of was probably played - "Lights", "Lovin Touchin Squeezin", "Any Way You Want It" "Separate Ways" and some others I'm not thinking of at the moment.

Evidently this is one of the hot tickets of the summer/fall, so if it's coming around to your area and you want to go, get those tix now. You will not be dissapointed, these 15,000 party animals weren't.

30,000 Drunkards Can't Be Wrong part 1 - Crue Fest 8/30 SPAC

Quite a blast from the past concert weekend!

Friday was Cruefest at Saratoga. I was hoping I wouldn't have to drive and didn't as my buddy Kevin was bribed with some gas money and a free ticket. Sis Tara came along for this one as well. Before buying tix on ticketmaster or at the door I checked good ole ebay for a bargain and got one...6 lawn seats including shipping for $47 - Haven't paid less than 8 bucks a ticket in a longass time and thought I would have to fight off those who wanted to come with us, but alas the timing just wasn't right for this one and I ended up just straight up giving away the three unused tix at the door. It's amazing how suspicious people are of you when you're offering something free, but when you turn away to offer the tix to the next person in line, they speak right up. So in actuality I guess I ended up paying about $25 bucks for the ticket I used, but these days that's a bargain!

So we got started a little late and left po-town around 5ish and we were parked at spac right before 7. We missed Nikki's band Sixx AM which I haven't heard, but heard it's nice solid rock, and Trapt who I don't really care for anyway. Papa Roach was onstage as we went in - another who cares for me...caught the last 15 minutes of their set and the audience dug them, especially when they ended with Last Resort.

As they ended we decided to hit the Beer Garden. UGH - this is one of the main reasons I hate seeing shows at SPAC. If you want some drinks - and if you've read any of my past blogs or profiles, you KNOW I'll be wanting some - you have to go and drink this in a gated off area WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE THE STAGE! It's the only ampitheatre around here that I know of that does this nonsense.

Anyway, we head to the beer garden just when Papa Roach ends and 10,000 people join us...it's is backed up mob scene getting in. Kev, who's driving and would probably only have 1 beer anyway decided to get a spot to check out Buckcherry. After about 10 minutes we work through the mob to the gate where they're checking ID's (and one would think they would give you a wristband so the next time they don't have to check EVERYONE, but no) we get in and get on an actual line for beer.

I haven't been to tons of shows at SPAC, but a good few and I've NEVER seen the beer garden packed like this...just wall to wall and a very drunk crowd. At the top of the tents it lists the beers you can get and I see magic hat, so my mouth is watering and anticipating the apricotty 9 and I reach the head of my line and guess what...at the top of my line they only have Bud and Bud Light...Magic Hat is available about 5 Taps over, but it's so busy, you have to get what they got. So me and the sis each get a bud and grab small clear spot by the fence to drink it before getting on a line for actual good beer.

In the 10 minutes or so it took us to drink the beer, we saw three men publicly urinating on a tree 3 feet in front of us and the fence we were leaning on 5 feet to the right of us. I'm SURE they didn't piss on the spot I'm leaning on...right guys?!? The thing is there's about 20 portapotties maybe 50 feet away and the lines weren't that bad for those...some folks just like to wizz in public I guess.

So I had seen my annual share of man meat, but it was evened out somewhat buy the 20 year old chick who stood on the other side of the fence from us begging to be let in for beer and flashing away while she did. I found out she was 20 because she turned out to be the cousin of the wife of the guy standing next to us. And I must say it was a little uncomfortable how much attention he was paying his young wife's cousin with his wife standing right next to him. But in happy cruefest fashion his wife ended up finishing her beer and whipping out her whoppers too. Ah...the families that flash together stay together!

So about this time Buckcherry comes on. This caused at least 50% of the beer garden to clear out and the individual beer lines to dwindle down to nothing. Excellent. I dig Buckcherry, but I've seen them before and was really there for the Crue so me and Tara get our Magic
Hats and actually end up getting seats on one of the few benches by the gate.

With Buckcherry playing in the background, we were witness first to this woman in her 50's being heavily hit on by this HAMMERED dude until she yelled at him to get the fuck away from her and bother someone else as her husband was coming back.

This this guy who was surely drunk, but DEFINITELY on something else comes over and sits in the empty spot behind my sister. He's leaning on her so she gets up to go the the porto and somehow I became his best friend. He's chattering away until my sis comes back and sits down, then for some reason he stands up and goes to sit back down and totally misses the bench and lands on his ass on the grass. Oh man, I love a good beer tent.

He gets up when two babes come over and chats them up for a few and leaves.

Some time passes, Me and Tara are finishing our beers and Buckcherry is about finishing their set when perhaps that guys PCP kicked in and he comes running over to me and kneels down and gets about 8 inches from my face and for about 8 minutes he is yelling at me (not mad at me, as I'm somewhat egging him on and agreeing with everything he's saying - just talking VERY LOUDLY and EMOTIONAL like) about some nonsense involving scab workers and Unions and he runs some union and here look at my SPAC shirt and how the local radio station is telling lies about his union and he's "concrete" (he kept saying this) - I'll admit...it was a bit scary. I don't know what set him off, but just glad he thought I was a friend. So I eventually stand up and tell him it's time for the crue and it was the last we saw of him.

I've seen the Crue numerous times and this was nowhere near the best. Not performance wise though, they were energetic, sounded great, etc, more the song selection - only one song from Too Fast for Love, but we get SOS (Same Ol' Situation), Don't Go Away Mad, Primal Scream (in a row no less almost right after Tommy Lee's titty cam break which just kinda brought the show to a halt for me). But they start strong and end strong and if Crue fest continues each year I'll be back, just not at SPAC.

So that was Friday night's party with 15 thousand or so drunkards, the next night continues with 15 thousand more at Bethel Woods for Journey with Heart and Cheap Trick