So, the concert thing yesterday. It was pretty cool. As usual I drove to Millbrae to get to the city, ridiculous as that is. I arrived a little bit late, but as it turns out they weren’t particularly interested in doing things quickly, so Matt Nathanson opened just in time for my arrival. He was very, very good, actually – the song of his getting most air time right now is ‘Come On Get Higher’, which I quite like – and had a good stage presence. His bass guitarist was completely the stereotype, though – he looked exactly like a base guiatarist, and seemed bored out of his brain most of the time; there’s only so interesting plucking one string every second bar can be. :)
I ended up making my way to the front, about 20 feet from the stage underneath one of the speaker stalactites. I figured since it was general admission all over, I might as well get a good look at the performers.
The format of the concert was kinda festivalish, I guess… it was on pier 30/32, which is basically a giant concrete carpark – once upon a time a pair of piers, of course – that’s also used for big outdoor music events like this…. I guess in S.F. there aren’t too many places you can have a big loud outdoor performance, and pier 30/32 is perfect for it; you just face the speakers towards Oakland and it’s all good.
So, I just bought my ticket through Ticketmaster, which is where I discovered the existence of the event; I don’t listen to KFOG nor did I check out their website for the event. So while I was aware it was a big outdoor, unseated event, I didn’t quite realise that this apparently means every-man-plus-dog-brings-deck-chair. This meant everyone was actually really spread out, for the most part, which I guess was cool for the big family groups of thirty people that made barricades from their deck chairs, but kinda sucked for everyone else as it was a PITA to actually get anywhere, and led to stupid grievances… case in point, this random guy who’d apparently queued from 11am (the show didn’t start ’til about 4:30pm) so he could set up his little deck chair palace right in front of the stage… but apparently he wasn’t quite first, so there were people in front of him, but they got up and left just prior to the show starting. So, a big group of people whom wanted a good view took up the space, which of course completely blocked any view of anyone sitting behind. I mean, yeah, I can sympathise a bit, but, what do you expect? It’s a rock concert; people in the front rows shouldn’t be sitting casually reading a book. Which this dude was. So anyway, it was a bit funny and scary as this dude and one of the imposers nearly went at each other, but luckily nothing ultimately came of it; angry dude just stood up like everyone else, and once the music was going for a bit seemed to chill.
Still… he did try to maintain his little fortress as long as possible – rudely and forcefully blocking people from walking through his petty little domain, and subtly inching his deck chairs forward slowly, in a futile attempt to reclaim space… gah…
Anyway, that was funny. But I was interested in the music, and it was good. There was an annoyingly long break between Matt leaving the stage and Collective Soul coming on; the roadies first had to remove all Matt’s stuff, then setup half of Collective Soul’s… kinda retarded, really, given Matt was already playing with one of Collective Soul’s guitars anyway, since apparently his was blown over earlier in the day and broke.
I like how he has a song which he introduced as being “three chords removed from a lawsuit” of Jessie’s Girl… and he further played on that by interposing a verse or two from Jessie’s Girl in the middle. He covered it really well, actually. :)
So Collective Soul did eventually play, and ’twas good as expected. And they actually played quite a few of their older songs, not purely their newest album, which suited me perfectly since I like their older stuff more than their new (though ‘Hollywood’, which at first I found somewhat repellant, is growing on me). Also pretty cool was their insertion of AC/DC into ‘Hollywood’; they covered the instrumental intro to Thunderstruck, and think they also did the same for TNT. I was pretty surprised, though, it’s happened more than once now that people here have known AC/DC well. The crowd definitely loved it.
They also played ‘Gel’, one of my favourites, though not what I would have picked as one of their most popular necessarily. They also did ‘Shine’, though I figure that’s a given. :)
So yes, all very good. After them there was a break, so I wandered around for a bit and realised my back was really, really stiff and sore from having stood arched for hours. I hung around to hear Los Lobos play a few songs, and while they did seem ‘good’ objectively, I’m not familiar with their stuff. So, all that combined with the rapidly dropping temperature and a desire for real food (“fish and chips”, $8, contents: $1 chips and three pieces of something deep fried) prompted me to leave. It would have been nice to see the fireworks at the end of it all, but it was still far from completely dark, which is when I figure they would have had them, and following their plan thus far there probably would have been an hour interlude after Los Lobos finished. :(
But it was good to get back at a reasonable time, and although I was still a little too late to join F1/Ross/Tom seeing “Speed Racer”, it looks pretty crap to me and I caught up with them afterwards for our semi-habitual post-midnight TGI dinner…. where I order a real dinner dinner while F1 gets his Jack Daniels Fried Chicken Strips (admittedly, they are delicious), ribs and Guinness, and Ross & Tom drink water. :)
Well, I lie… sometimes Ross gets some kind of cocktail.. the kind that usually has fruit or umbrellas in it. :P
Nah, that was all good, though I was a bit spacey and that seems to have persisted today… though at least last night I had the vaguely plausible excuse of being a tad high. As usual for a S.F. music event, there were joints being had all over the place, though being open air it wasn’t too bad generally. But, where I was standing for Matt & Collective Soul, immobile, there were a few people indulging, including in particular this one big (as in wide) Mexican dude who produced what at first glance looked like a good size cigar. Though as soon as it was lit and producing copious clouds of smoke, it was immediately clear it was in fact the world’s biggest joint. It took him a good fifteen or twenty minutes to finish it, which I suppose in hindsight was actually disturbingly fast. He cannot possibly have known what planet he was on after that.
So anyway, a good day all in all. (said entirely without irony; the juxtaposition with the previous paragraph is honestly accidental :) )