Monday, November 12, 2007



With the exception of Dinger getting sick and bailing on the show at the last minute, this was one of those nights where everything just fell into place perfectly.

I was on TM at 10:00am when tickets went on sale and they disappeared pretty much immediately. I pulled up about 5-6 pairs of 400-level seats and threw 'em all back. Then it was sold-out for about 10 minutes. More tickets eventually popped-up. FLOOR. To be honest, I was hoping for lower-level reserved seats (the floor was all general admission), but I wasn't about to turn these down. I grabbed them immediately.

So here I was, resigned to standing in the very back of the floor all night. I'm too old, tired and lazy to put in the effort to fight for a spot up front. I don't even do that in clubs, much less at a 20K seat arena. But then I heard there was a special pit section up front. hmmm. Turns out they hold a lottery for access to that area. What the hell. I show up at 2:00 yesterday, hoping to just grab a number and go home until 5:00. There were already 118 people there. Ugh. I get in line. About 1/2-hour later I get wristband #119, get my ticket punched with the little heart-shaped hole and I'm heading home again.

Dinger feels like hell and doesn't want to go, so I head back downtown a little early to try to sell his ticket. I didn't even have enough time to start calling my friends to see if they wanted it, because I needed to get back to the lottery. I just wanted to sell the ticket for face value, but I didn't see many people actively looking. One guy with his finger in the air. He offered me $60 for the $100 ticket. Scalpers were getting $300 for floor seats. I'm a nice guy, but I'm not selling this for a loss. 30 seconds later someone tapped me on the shoulder, thrilled to get a floor seat for face value. Everybody's happy and I keep my good ticket karma intact.

Back to the lottery. The pit holds 400 people. There are a few thousand floor tickets. I figure I don't stand much of a chance, but what the hell. If I don't get in the pit, I'll just go get some dinner somewhere nearby. They pull the number. #060. Are you kidding me? My little part of the line erupted with glee. Not only did we get into the pit, we were among the first ones in the door. Ticket karma indeed.

Another line. Another wristband. Another marking of the ticket. We took a Spinal Tap-esque trip through the bowels of the Verizon Center. A hidden stairwell, narrow hallways, another stairwell, a walk past the catering area, crew entrances and the place where they store all the unused chairs. Suddenly we're on the floor of a completely empty arena. I was the 60th person inside (out of nearly 20,000 people). I was never more than 5-feet from the stage the whole night. My new BFFs (affectionately known as #118, #120 and #121) and I all took turns making beer runs and holding each other's spots until Bruce came on.

And what a show. Not quite as hit-laden as I would have hoped, but everything sounded great. Two hours and twenty minutes of non-stop fun. The time just flew by. Here's the setlist, blatantly stolen from Backstreets:

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day

Gypsy Biker
Reason to Believe
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land
I'll Work For Your Love
Tunnel of Love
Working on the Highway
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Growin' Up
Kitty's Back
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land

Heavy on the new stuff, but it didn't really matter. Everyone around me knew every word to every song. Folks love them some Bruce. After "Promised Land" Bruce handed his harmonica to the kid right next to me. Nice moment. "Tunnel of Love" was pretty much fantastic, with hometown hero Nils just tearing things up. "She's The One", "Badlands", "Born To Run"....hmmm...what was that I was saying about not enough hits? Never mind.

Great show. Great night. I'm getting a little old for the GA thing though. I basically stood around from 4:30-11:00. Most of that in one spot. These old bones aren't made for that anymore. I'd do it again in a heartbeat though. It's a whole different world right up front.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


this week...

Van Halen f--king rocked. Dave can't kick quite as high as he used to, but trust me, he can still kick you in the head if he wants. The band sounded great. Much tighter than I would have expected. If there's any animosity between those guys, they sure didn't show it. They looked like they were having a great time. If they weren't, they put on a hell of an act. That's what they get paid for. I think Dave knows that. If nothing else, he's a great showman.

I made a last minute decision to go see Partyline this week. Best decision I've made in a while. I've been meaning to see them the last few times they've played, but I keep missing them. I figured if I was gonna see them this year, it was either this week, or at the Ted Leo show at 9:30 in a few weeks. I hated the idea of going to the Velvet Lounge mid-week, but 9:30 is 20x the size and it's going to be packed. But once I found out this week's show was to celebrate Alison's birthday, the choice was clear.

I walked in just as Mess Up The Mess was playing. There was no doubt tonight was going to be a real party. Before long they were throwing out party hats and noisemakers. A guy with a pinata showed up. Imagine a drunk, blindfolded, punk girl swinging a baseball bat in the middle of the Velvet Lounge. Good times. :) MUTM was fun. Bouncy, driving, melodic punk. Love it.

Fierce Perm was up next. "Fierce" could not be a more appropriate description. These folks rocked hard from start to finish. A great balance of screaming, over-the-top-punk with a mix of pure fun. Excellent.

Partyline was just a party with a few songs thrown in. By this point everyone was dancing around - having a great time. Then the Silly String came out. I felt like I was crashing someone else's party. It wasn't as much a concert as it was just a house party. But the music, of course, was fantastic. Partyline is non-stop rockin' fun.

I told myself I should go on Thursday so I could talk myself out of seeing them open for Ted Leo in December. Now I just want to go even more. I may have to do that. If you go see Ted that night (they're not opening both nights) go early.

Tomorrow it's Bruuuuuuuuuce at the Verizon Center. I'm excited about that one, but no so excited about the GA tickets we have. I wanna be close, but I don't want the hassle. We'll see how that goes. Luckily I have Monday off to recover. It's going to be amazing, for sure.

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