Def Leppard @ Jacksonville Veteran’s Arena

Wow!  I don’t think I can recall a show that hit me more in the feels than this one.  This is my go to band for all the songs that I know and love.  This band proves you don’t necessarily need flames, spinning drum sets, or over the top light effects because when music is as good as theirs you just don’t need it.

So Doll normally gets dragged along to concerts that I want to go to since most of her concerts happen in other towns to groups you can’t understand but are permanently hypnotizing.  She likes Def Leppard like I “like” the Red Hot Chili Peppers but she really dug the show.

So I really don’t need to fully describe this show since everything went so smoothly (for once) so I’ll get down to what I loved about it the most: Rick Allen!  Are you a Def fan?  Then you know about Rick Allen.  He’s kinda the guy that got the band soberish.  For those of you who don’t know, in the mid 80’s Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car accident.  He is the drummer for Def and had to learn to play using synthesizers and foot pedals.  In the 80’s it was almost a sin for a “metal” band to use electric drums and synth instruments.  Rick was one of the few whom no one would make fun of for that.  He is a spectacular drummer and musician and I watched the video of his comeback after the accident.  His band mates called him ‘The Thunder God’ and I couldn’t agree more.  He did a solo drum set and I was floored and more happy than you could know!

My other happy moments came at the beginning of every song.  Joe Elliot still sounds just as good as he did 30 years ago and every performance was done with ease and pride.  With that I have nothing abnormal for you guys to know about, which is weird for any concert Doll and I attend, I will just leave this post saying that even if you didn’t like then much before go see a show!  This was a bucket list concert!

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Welcome To Rockville 2012

And so the epic continues!  If you read in Welcome to Rockville 2011 then you know what happened last year!  Now…we have a whole new can of worms to open and throw out into a crowd of spastic cheerleaders during one of their midnight runs to Burger King as they engorge themselves on quarter-pounders (it’s only one small dream of ours…not a big one, just a dream).  Last year we weren’t prepared so in order to help anyone who wants to go, we have prepared a list of provisions we deem necessary to survive a full day on the grassy knoll that is Rockville.

  1. Bring a towel or blanket to sit upon.  Important since you actually get to see what was on the ground before you sat on it.
  2. Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer.  This is not only important for the portables and bathroom areas, but for the aftermath of the water hose in the main pit area!
  3. Water.  Lots and lots of it!  You can refill in the fountains or the tap.  It’s a cheaper way to go.
  4. Sunscreen.  You can never have enough of it!
  5. A good camera!  You most likely won’t get close enough to the stage for good pics so make sure it has a great zoom and focus!

Basically, just bring what you would bring to the beach but a beach that requires brass knuckles and a debasing of the human language.

So here the three of us were again.  This time, we were early and ready to rock!  I am glad we were early and I’ll tell you why later.  Becca had thought of everything this year so we ended up spending the day it comfort!  We started slow and in the shade.  We also decided to stay away from liquor this year since that was our downfall last year.  We had a lineup with us and chose strategically what we all wanted to see and when we need to get sneaky.  Soulswitch was up but we decided to lay out in the middle of the knoll and listen.  That is where a good camera comes in handy!  We just relaxed and listened to the music until the bands we wanted to see came up.  First up…Lacuna Coil.  An Italian band with a few radio plays but we love those obscure bands!

After this was the one I came back to finally see…Halestorm!  We waited until POD was playing and then made our move to the main stage.  This turned out to be far more problematic then one would actually think!  I noticed the ground was wet and tried to come up with a logical solution amongst the illogical, booze soaked, bikini blubber that surrounded me.  I am talking flesh all around me and none of it was appealing!  And when your guards down…that’s when that son of a bitch with a water hose aims right for you!  Who the fuck came up with that!  I’m not having it!  Sure it cooled you down for like a minute, but then when the mold and sweat and nast and, and,and….it was horrible!  I smelled things during that cramped menagerie of festering tattooed flesh that would have made a smelly cheese connoisseur cringe!

So Halestorm finally came out after I had to listen to one of the worst sounding performances by POD ever!  How sad!  I like POD just not in concert!  So here was Lzzy Hale and the rest of Halestorm being absolutely awesome as hell when out of nowhere there was a person on top of Leola’s head!  A body surfing hopeful jumped up somwhere behind us and managed to get all the way to us before we noticed!  And people, if you crowd surf…don’t do so if you’re over 150 lbs. please!  Angry and annoyed at this, I had to hide my camera from the onslaught of both body surfer and evil bitch ass bastard with water hose!  This made every picture rare!  The people in front of us were nice enough to warn us of incoming surfers and since Becca is so much taller than us (we look like the cell phone bar commercial with the bars)she caught it before us!  And just one time, she got unlucky as a man twisted in mid air as she held her hand to stop him from falling on her and it broke her finger…literally!!  She then got smashed and pummeled until she cried “When!”

So as we were getting cleaned up I noticed a large crowd outside the gate.  Apparently, this 10,000 person venue oversold by almost 2,000 tickets!  We realized then that Met Park was beyond capacity!  This is turn meant we were fucked!  We quickly got back to our pad and waited for the last show we wanted to see that day Shinedown!  Even though Korn and Evanesence were the big tickets…we could really care less honestly.  We’re good.  I had a good enough camera to get some good pics but other than that it was Shinedown,  But before that happened, more wondrous goth/emo/hippie craziness went down in front of main stage 2!

Five Finger Death Punch, a good band if you’re into metal, had to get in front of their crazy, drunk, and violent fan base and tell them to calm down.  A metal band had to tell their fans to stop being so damn violent or they wouldn’t go on!  We couldn’t see again due to the new second tower in front of main stage 2 but that must have been insanely bad for the band to have to quite down the audience!

When we got up for Shinedown, we knew it was our last one.  We took our positions in the middle but further back so we wouldn’t get the crowd surfers again.  Becca had gotten pretty banged up from the first time so we didn’t want anymore of that!  The carnage on the ground was incredible!  I was wondering why the garbage cans were empty…everyone was just using the ground!  By this time everyone and your grandmother were wasted and frisky!  There was no stopping some of them.  One toothless wonder behind Leola was doing something to piss her off with her hair or some shit like that…either way it was odd!

Shinedown took the stage!  Yes, they are as good as people say they are!  Amazing!  It was great!  Good energy, the people were bearable…but one thing was still haunting us and it came up right behind Becca and knocked her down.  How in the hell crowd surfers were starting as far back as we were is still amazing to us!  Let’s just say we got the hell beat out of us…but not before we took pieces of the surfers away with us!  I think I saw Leola bunch some guy straight in the groin and I know I took some flesh with me.  Ah, concerts.  It’s a way to get to know people I tell you!

Once Shinedown was done we knew we wanted to leave before Korn came on so we hauled ass to the gate, waved a quick bye to Leesa at Merch, and found a quick way to change in the parking lot after a nice long, grimy day at Rockville!  Hope we gave you a nice show boys!

Welcome To Rockville 2011

Since this post was supposed to be done before we hit the second Welcome to Rockville we’re kind of a day late and a dollar short so to speak.  Nothing could really compare to the first experience of this massive 20 band music festival in our hometown of Jacksonville…except maybe the second which will be posted soon after this one.  But first, for educational purposes, I shall now give all you readers out there a small rundown of one of the grimiest, nastiest, emo infested, goth trudging, flesh smorgasbords that we encountered (up to that date) at one of the worst run music concerts I have ever in my life witnessed with my own two eyes, felt with my own two scorned fingers, and smelt with my own poor nose.

This is Welcome to Rockville – Year 1!

For starters, music fests are not really a purple sparkling unicorn in Jacksonville.  No, no, they happen often actually.  We have two rock stations fighting for supremacy and the winner of the biggest music festival is normally the larger station. That would be logic!  To make local bands feel included, they have a battle of the bands and those take up the first stage set aside near the main entrance.  That’s what I said…the first stage!  I sadly cannot tell you any details of this stage since it was mostly surrounded by leather clad skin heads head banging and mosh pitting their way to glory…and the Baptist hospital.  Surrounding that stage were local vendors selling hats, shirts, leather bondage straps, purple sun screen, body piercings, and liquid latex (we’re not called Freakville for nothing!).  But it was what was up and over the hill…the only hill in Florida…that was what everyone came for!

Time for the main event!  Gates opened at 11 AM and we were there just in time…to miss Halestorm.  I know!  It sucks!  But I was with two rocking friends…one you all know, Leola and the other was a new acquaintance who was totally amazing, Becca!  During the course of this concert I would be thankful for both of them!  More on that later when the heat and shadeless misery kicks in!  So after we made our way through the first stage we hiked up the hill to the main…grassy knoll?  There on said grassy knoll was what looked like a new aged, punkified, vampire draped, tattoo wonderland that reminded me a bit of what Woodstock might have looked like the first day.

And, lo…there they were.  The two main stages!  That’s right!  Two!  Double the awesome!  Double the bass!  Double the chaos!  Yet sadly…double the stupidity!  You see, though they were both main stages, one was a secondary main stage for only a little lesser known acts.  To tell you honestly, I was there for one of those lesser acts!  That one would have been My Darkest Days which didn’t go on stage until 4:25 PM and the day was still young!  So what did our smart asses do to waste time?  Drank!  Silly, foolish us!

You see, here in Florida it starts getting hot in March and there was no shade anywhere in the grassy knoll that it was inevitable.  The combination of liquor and heat would be our undoing.  we started to unravel quickly then and then there was another pressing matter.  My low blood pressure.  And it hit around Theory of a Dead Man.  Standing with Becca behind me and TOADM (just realized the anagram is hilarious!) singing an unreleased “The Bitch Came Back”…it happened.  I almost dropped like a rock in the middle of a punk filled crowd jumping to the metal.  Leola and Becca quickly got me on the ground behind the massive control tower thirty foot from the stage (no shitting!  I have another complaint to make!) and supplied me with $6 water.  This is a good reason I am thankful!

So after that downfall we hung out in the little bit of shade and listened (since that fucking tower blocked the stage!) to Seether.  Since I had already seen Seether during Nickleback I wasn’t heartbroken to get up front…but damn was it funny to listen too!  You see, the lead singer of Seether had dated Amy Lee, the lead singer of Evanesence, wrote a hit song together and then violently broke it off.  When asked to sing this particular song (“Broken”) which was a song about their love…he did fantastically!  I mean, he is so talented that he can improvise on a dime with colorful metaphors a lovely bouquet of vulgarity that I’m sure everyone appreciated.  I think the live version has more soul with tequila, heat, and seething hatred involved!  I mean, it’s hard to follow the line “I hate you , you stupid fucking whore!  Crawl and die!”  with rhyme, yet it was harmonized extremely well!  The rest of Seether was a garble of slurred lyrics, bad sound management, and constant memory issues with lyrics.  But it made for great dramatic emphasis on the impromptu guitar solos!

And in our opinion (all three of us) Lzzy Hale sounds 100% better!

And then it came down (finally) to My Darkest Days!  Since Becca and Leola were satisfied people watching…the atrocious, flab-fest that drunkenly pirouetted around us constantly, I went solo to Main Stage 2 and watched my boys rock house!   Little did I know of the horror that was going on just 50 feet behind me!  As I was busy rocking, getting a contact high from the vortex of narcotics swirling about me, Leola and Becca were having their own grim moment that would forever be burned into their poor souls.

A, shall we say, inebriated woman who was using her boyfriend as a dancing pole decided that it was a perfect time to start removing clothing.  The woman was not young, not thin, and not really encouraged to do this random act of nudity but it was too late.  Amongst the pleas and the groveling by other spectators to have her clothes stay on…it was not enough to convince her!  The carnage unfolded one floppy boob at a time until her “personal” striptease was done.  Maybe in her mind she and her man were alone, maybe she thought they were safe at home, maybe the gallon of beer and liquor she drank made her feel like Superwoman…either way the damage was done!  The only thing I am glad for is I didn’t have to witness it because I would have definitely taken a picture for bribery!

And if you think we were hungry after this event…you would be correct!  What better way to forget pain and suffering caused by some fat, naked chick then to eat your worries away?  So, at these events there is always a main act.  The last act. And this year was Godsmack!  The only problem was…it was over for us.  We were spent, we were crispy… we were finished.  Fin.  We managed to put together a damage report later and noticed that the price of two cokes at the concert costs the same as a CD which we bought from a friend who works MERCH, Leesa!  And with that, we went elsewhere to eat.  Chili’s actually!  You now why?  Two for One all day bitches!!