Crap on a stick, people. I forgot my notebook. Well, I guess I get to A/B test using my phone vs. using my notebook to take notes. This evening, I resolved to be in line at 7:30, and despite the best efforts of inexplicably terrible downtown traffic, I almost was. This time, I was around ten spots from the front. This time, there was a coat rack. This time, I wasn't driving so this time might be a little more scattered.
We started out which a bunch of dudes my dad's age in Hawaiian shirts, otherwise known as The Beach Boys. These guys might not have been a cover band! But I didn't see an Electro-Theremin on stage so probably they were a cover band. Falsetto is hard, but they held it together. Notable tunes were "Sail on Sailor", "Don't Worry Baby", "Barbara Ann", and "Sloop John B". That last one I just figured out was about a rager of a party on a sailboat, which just sounds weird coming out of even dudes my age. Ask me about old punks sometime.
Award for best and least costuming job goes to the Red Hot Chili Peppers,who took the stage in full socks-on-cox regalia (although it's a bit of a stretch (HEH) to call a solitary sock "regalia"). That is, except for the drummer, who declined to participate. People who argued with me that this was OK are invited to look at the browsing history on my work computer (oops). THEN AGAIN everyone has to sit on that drum stool and... well... yeah. Appropriate choices may have been made. "Give it Away", "Suck My Kiss", "Aeroplane", "Scar Tissue", and "Higher Ground" were all solidly and funkily performed (though only Kiedis was brave enough to leap around). The crowd was festooned with smartphones, so I'm sure there's even video.
Best sideburns were on the lead singer of Humble Pie, who thew down hard with her Janis Joplin voice and wicked guitar chops and reminded me to pick up some old Dirty Little Heaters tracks. Starting out with "C'mon Everybody", and ripping through "30 Days in the Hole", "I Don't Need No Doctor", and "Honky Tonk Women" (and maybe another), Reese and her posse pounded the stage and the crowd.
Sensing the crowd's excitment, the Grateful Dead brought out candles and incense to tone it down a notch. Rather than taking the easy way out and playing just one really long song, they played two ("Brown Eyed Women" was one of them) and then a third that spiraled quickly into the realm of jam. I am far from the biggest Dead fan on the planet (at one point, I wondered idly why nobody had done The Band (and then I was told otherwise and of course that did happen in 2003)), but this did in fact rock and clearly pleased the ones who were.
Sporting a sweater style that hasn't been seen since 1998 and an overall-clad drummer buried under a mass of hair, Nirvana took the stage next. A small yet determined mosh pit formed almost immediately as the band tightly carried us through "Breed", "Drain You", "Aneurysm", "About a Girl", and maybe another? The crowd in turn carried the band, at one point literally when Kurt flung himself into space. Leaving us without doing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was a brilliant move.
STRIDING NEXT ONTO THE STAGE AND LAUNCHING INTO "TWIST OF CAIN" WAS DANZIG. Shouting is required because Danzig is oh, so serious. These were the most on point costumes and wigs, and the lead signer posed and preened and glowered with just the right amount of camp to make it absolutely hysterical. During "She Rides", a phalanx of corseted ladies came out to gyre on-stage (because of course), flinging stuffed kittens into the crowd at the end. Saving the best for last, they howled through "Mother" to close out the set.
I'm very nearly at a loss about what to say about Queens of the Stone Age. They were a loud, tight, super sludgy delight. They had like ten songs! The hair and costumes were understated, but perfect. Maybe if you're going to do a bald head wig, really do it instead of plopping it on your head and hoping it stays (SPOLER ALERT: It won't). I regrettably didn't recognize any songs, but my scattered end-of-night notes tell me that they lead off with "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" so I guess I'm going to have to buy Rated R now.
At some point, my body will not be able to handle four days of this, but we're not there yet!
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