Best. Concert. Ever.

The title sums it up. Last night (Thurs night) I went to the best concert…ever (up to now).

I am speaking, of course, of the Foo Fighters at Nationwide Arena. I waited until a week before the show to get tix. Turns out that was a good thing. I wound up getting ‘General Admission/Floor’….and in parenthesis…*No Seats.* Now, I’m no spring chicken…and the reality of the situation is this…I would be standing for quite possibly 6 hours. Still…it’s the fucking Foo Fighters. The album they just put out is just one of the best straight ahead rock albums this year (“Wasting Light”)…and they did it old school. If they couldn’t play it live with their instruments (and pedals) to tape, it didn’t get on the album. They recorded to analog tape. And you can tell…it just has that warm ‘rock and roll record’ vibe to it.

So…I wound up taking the floor. Got one of the last parking spaces in the lot and walked up to the ground floor entrance. I stopped at the main door first and saw this sign:

I thought about it later, I left my D50 at home. Because of the detachable lens (and the fact that I use it in a professional capacity, it’s considered a ‘professional’ camera. Which, according to the sign above would have been OK as they only disallowed PROFFESIONAL cameras.  Oh, and the note about Mosh Pits and (crowd) Surfing when unheeded as well.

So, they marched all us General Admission plebes in through the tunnels under the other arena seats (basically where everything gets loaded in and out).

In the tunnel on the way to my ‘standing area’, I saw this:

It all made sense later, but you know…it was a piece of rock. And I was taken back to the thrill of the Rock and Roll Fantasy camp and how shit like this just made it ‘real’.

I hit the restroom and squeezed out as much as I could possibly squeeze (since I wasn’t about to give up my square foot when I got in there). And then on the way in, stopped and picked up a t-shirt and hat. The t-shirt went on. The hat, unfortunately, was too small (it’s OK though, they let me trade up and pay the difference to get the Foo Fighters wristband and guitar picks after the show on my way out).

The first band that opened was Mariachi El Bronx from L.A.. I knew nothing about them, save they were a mariachi band (that kicked ass) and approached traditional mariachi music with punk rock sensibility…which is to say…they fucking rocked. I was a little disappointed to hear people shouting USA….USA..  Really? What country do you motherfuckers think California is in, anyway??

After they were done, I happened to look up at the A/V rig. Yeah…it’s gonna get loud later (and it did).

The next band was Rise Against (from Chicago). The non-lead-singer guitarist looked like the dude from the original Hills Have Eyes (a.k.a. the dude from Weird Science…a.k.a. the dude from Midnight Oil…a.k.a. the drummer from AC/DC).  They were good. They rocked it. I only knew one of their songs. My feet weren’t sore yet and I’d had my first whiff of sweet leaf. So, it seemed the evening was on par to rock.

 I did a quick ‘this is how many people were there’ shot (but there’s one later that REALLY gives a sense of how packed the arena was.

I (thankfully had these in during Mariachi El Bronx and Rise Against…but it seemed like it would be somehow sacrilege to wear these during the Foos performance….and it may have been….but the ringing in my ears on the way home told me that next time-we’re committing heresy.

And now, various shots of the Foo Figthers. I was about 25 feet (or 12 rows of people) back from the stage…pretty frickin’ close.

And then, when Dave came out on his little runway thing, I was about 10 feet. The location from which I experienced the concert was well work the pain in my feet and calves as well as the spasming of my back that happened before the encore.

The following shots are of the encore…this gives you sense of how packed the place was. And to be honest, it was an amazing, electric show…the energy was palpable.

Thanks Dave and crew for giving this nearly 40-something another glimpse of rock and roll magic. And as long as you keep making records and touring, I’ll keep buying them and seeing you..because…dudes…you fucking rock.

The setlist is as follows (I didn’t keep track of this, I found it online):

Bridge Burning
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn to Fly
White Limo
Cold Day in the Sun
Stacked Actors
Monkey Wrench
Let It Die
These Days
Skin and Bones
This is a Call
In the Flesh (Pink Floyd cover)
All My Life

Long Road to Ruin (Acoustic)
Best of You (Acoustic)
Times Like These
Dear Rosemary
Breakdown (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers cover)

There’s more in my head about this epic event, but suffice to say that it was truly inspiring. In a moment of pleasant banter, Dave went on a rant about ‘fuck computers…go get some real instruments…play…and make a fucking band…just get out there and do it!!’

And it’s brilliant advice, actually. If you like to jam and play…the fucking jam and play.

So…um…yeah….that’s how awesome the concert was.


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