05/20/2010

Gruesome Twosome Tour Review 2/3: Intermission, fans and venue

Following Alice Cooper’s hard to beat set was a 30-40 minute intermission.  Most people gathered in small groups, went to the bathroom, bought cheeseburgers and tall, plastic cups of beer.  Erin and I stayed at our seats (we were standing for a lot of the intermission) watching these people gather in small groups, go to the bathroom, buy cheeseburgers and tall, plastic cups of beer.  This brings me to one of my favorite things about concerts…The attendees.

And if you go to a show, watch out, because no matter what you’re doing, looking like, or presenting yourself as, we’ll find you, and we’ll talk about you.  And after every show, I’ll swear that I’ve seen it all, and that remains true until we go to another concert.  We certainly had a great time with those present at the Gruesome Twosome Tour’s stop in Knoxville.

Immediately we noticed the huge range in age at this show.  We’ve been to shows put on by bands that were never big in “our generation” and they’ve been quite a great time (Huey Lewis and the News opened for Chicago a couple of years ago and the very next night Journey opened for Def Leppard at the same venue…Two completely different shows, two completely different audiences, same exact age range).  And unless you count the last Warped Tour we attended that included the Offspring on the same bill as Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance, we’ve never been to a show where the parents were the fans taking their kids until the Gruesome Twosome Tour rolled into town.

I talked with Erin about it that night, why people bring their kids to these shows and explained to her, at the risk of sounding corny and cliche, that heavy metal is way, way more than just a musical genre to a lot of people.  To some it’s a community, an emotion, and in some cases, a lifestyle and even a voice.  Sometimes it’s just in you and no matter your age, it will be there until the very end.  I’m lucky enough to of had folks who felt this way and passed it along to me.  I was never taken to an AC/DC concert, but they introduced me to it and encouraged my participation in it.  They planted the seed and it’s did nothing but grow since then and if Erin and I were to have children (don’t hold your breath…), I would allow them to listen to metal, and if they liked it, be glad that I had another heavy metal buddy.  Whether they admit it or not, metal is in your soul and it just…doesn’t…leave.

By this point it’s needless to say there were a lot of older people who were there with their children.  It was such a cool thing.  There were, however, lots of not-so-cool things.

I don’t mind folks my parent’s age being at concerts.  I took my parents to see ZZ-Top in Johnson City a few years ago, and they not only had a great time seeing the show, but I had a great time being there with them.  The thing they did that was correct:  They went to the show as parent-aged folks who haven’t been in high school in several years.  It was cool.

Some people at the show, however, were older than my folks, yet acted like high school kids who were out being “daring” and “partying.”  The row in front of us consisted of three dudes in jeans, biker boots, biker shirts (like Choppers or something like that), bandannas, greasy hair and a tall, plastic cup of cheap, nasty beer that had to of cost them $8.00 at least.  They were there with what I’m assuming was either their wives or slutty biker chicks who were giving head for Rob Zombie tickets in the parking lot.  They, too, were wearing biker-style boots, skin tight blue jeans and mostly sleeveless tops, some showing their belly button, some who’s tops tied (but not all the way) in the back, made of leather.  All six had amateurishly applied eyeliner that created the “I can’t tell if you’re trying to look cool or goth or dead, but either way you failed miserably” look.

During the Coop’s set, the girls danced, which isn’t a big deal, but by halfway through the set, they were more than likely toasted already.  All three danced the same way, which told me that they danced the same way when they saw Alice Cooper 30 years ago and also that they could not dance.

And they just kept drinking that beer.  At more than likely $8.00 a pop for Miller Lite or Coors Light, drinking like that at a concert is you just wanting everyone to see you drinking beer.  You know how I feel about beer.  I don’t waste my time on most big name domestic crap because I like to actually taste my beer.  I like the taste of a good beer, and I’m not out just trying to be seen drinking it.  And that’s what these folks were all about:  being seen.  Just like scene kids at the mall.  Mercy.

We also saw several people wearing large top-hat-style hats, half a million of the same Rob Zombie shirts that I also own, a lot of bad tattoos, a lot of greasy hair, a dude in an orange and white polo with khaki shorts, shirt tucked in, and even two girls wearing the exact same felt-material, skimpy, Legs Avenue style dress.

My favorite concert attendee?  This dude who thought he was one of the Ramones, who walked up and down the line while we were waiting to get inside before the show.  He was rocking some seriously tight blue jeans, a black shirt and a black leather jacket.  He was tall and rather lanky and the first time we saw him he threw his fists in the air and shouted “ROCK’N’ROLL!” to an audience of God knows how many and to a response of zero. Dude obviously had a pacing problem as he went back and forth in the line while we were outside before we spotting him on the floor inside doing the exact same thing.

My least favorite concert attendee?  The dude that sat behind me that decided to call 3 of his friends during the intermission.  This wouldn’t be a problem, but I couldn’t help but notice that he had the exact same conversation with all three of them:

“Hey Dude”
“Yeah it’s intermission”

“Concert”

“Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie”
“Dead Serious”
“Yeah it’s intermission”
“It’s cool”
“Alright, dude”

Maybe he was recording 3 takes of a conversation he was hoping to have later or maybe he was rehearsing for a part he had just got in a local production.  Either way it was mega lame and I’m fairly confident he had no idea that there ever was a White Zombie before there was a Rob, though I cannot prove this and will not get into the details.

Finally, what is a show without the people in the parking lot trying to sell you rip off t-shirts?  We’ve encountered these folks on many, many occasions and just in the last few years have noticed that they’ve gotten quite a bit better at their trade.  I first encountered this at the Blink 182 / Cypress Hill concert in Charlotte in (I think) 2004.  Dudes were selling white t-shirts out in the parking lot that had both Blink and Cyrpess Hill logos on them together in a terrible design and I cannot imagine they’d be selling too many of them.  At the Gruesome Twosome show, however, they were hitting up people while they waited in line before the show.  Two different groups, even, selling two different styles of shirt, both of which closely resembled (to the untrained eye) the same shirts they were selling inside, only for half the price.  “They won’t sell any of these” I said to myself and stood in amazement as they sold probably 10 just in the section of 30 people we were standing around.  These shirts were kept in duffel bags and were just being tossed in, pulled out and wadded up worse than a reused condom in a hooker’s apartment, which resulted in most everyone around us getting the wrong size shirt and one gentleman complaining of a hole he found in his (though judging from his character, I think he may have been confused by the 4 holes that are generally in shirts straight from the factory in an attempt to allow the average human to wear it correctly).

The venue was super impressive with how they handled the crowd and parking, allowing us to get in and out quickly, easily and efficiently and we cannot wait to go to another concert at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.  I just hope that Flavor Flav is standing outside selling t-shirts at the next one like he was at this one.

Enjoy today’s haiku:

HTML is
a markup language and not
a programming one

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