On Friday night, I was amongst the youngest of those at the Steely Dan Aja show… on Saturday, I was amongst the oldest at Epicenter ’09 (The Rock Explosion).
Did I feel out of place? Hell yeah! Did others think I was out of place? I definitely got some stares. I think a lot of folks were like who is that awfully white guy… Oh, yeah he’s got a Production pass! And few others might have thought I was their dad.
My friend Russ was going for work… turns out that a few of his old high school friends were putting on the whole show… and he brought me and his younger friend Greg out with him. We arrived at the Fairplex in Pomona at about 2:15 and I was actually disappointed to find out I had missed one of Tom Morello’s many side projects, a band called Street Sweeper Social Club. I will freely admit I was not a huge Rage Against the Machine fan, but was blown away by Tom’s appearance on stage with Bruce doing The Ghost of Tom Joad and I do love his stuff under the moniker The Night Watchman.
After hanging backstage and being unceremoniously asked to leave the “gift room” we walked out onto the track. My beige cargo shorts and green Nashville country music shirt definitely stood out in a field of black, skull caps and body piercings. Greg at least had a hip baseball cap on. I felt left out and wished I had stopped at the parlor on the way in.
After a loop, we made it into the Monster tent, which was about half way back from the stage and in the middle of the infield… The stage was set on one end of the racetrack, perpendicular to the stands, where a lot of folks seem to hide from the heat and the sun. The Monster area was an amazing piece of engineering. It had multi-levels, seating, couches and two bars. Well, I should say we made it in after we switched our guest badges to production badges. We were shut out the first time.
It was so hot outside, that this was the perfect respite, and although we were told no booze would be served til 4, the free Wahoo Tacos made it all, all right! The second four o’clock hit, we went to get some drinks, only to be told that we did not have a Monster wristband and apparently they had all been distributed. None left. Luckily our new friends Danny, Jeff and Gary were able to get two extras, and thus, in a cruel twist of fate, Greg became our beer bitch.
The first band we saw was Wolfmother, who I actually wanted to see. I think Andrew Stockdale may be the child of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, with a little Carrot Top thrown in. And his nannies were obviously Black Sabbath. I mean that in a good way! His new band is tight and this Aussie kid knows how to rock. Loved it!
Next up was Alice in Chains and I must admit, this was when I was going to wander backstage to try to get a free Monster hat for Russ and I. I figured it would hip us a bit and help Russ get a lady friend for the day. When I was told that if I leave the tent, I could not come back, I decided to hit the port-a-potty and stay put. I’m glad I did, as they were great! I did need to look even more like and old fart and put in my ear plugs, as they seemed louder than anyone else… but I had a great time watching the lean and seemingly basketball-tall William DuVall sing and prowl around the stage. Of course there is a sad, too oft told story of drugs with this band and while Layne Staley is still missed, William, Jerry Cantrell and the boys rocked it hard and are a fantastic live act.
Check back tomorrow for the continuing musical saga…