Once again, these guys did not disappoint. I had been a little worried that they might not be as good as I remembered, and this time it took a fair amount of arm-twisting to get Wildflower out the door. For a little while, I was also a bit concerned that tonight might be a repeat of the Metallica show in… I think it was ’99. I managed to make sure that everyone I knew had tickets (I used my house-sitting check to pick up around eight, I think), and was really excited to get a chance to see them and Soundgarden at The Gorge. Most of my friends wound up going the day before and setting up in the campsites near the venue, but my girlfriend waited until the last possible minute to get us started, scrounging around wherever she could for a two-day supply of her drug of choice. By the time we finally started out, we would have been lucky to catch the tail end of the show, and, as luck would have it, we didn’t even get that far. Still some distance from the show, as we were speeding along at nearly 90 miles per hour, the front passenger tire blew, and that pretty much excluded us from any of the festivities. By the time we got a tire at a service station in the middle of nowhere, the concert would have just gotten out, and we wound up spending the night on the shoulder of a deserted road somewhere in the backcountry. I was a little bit upset, to say the least, as I’d dropped over $400 for a show that I never got to see. Tonight was better, though. Despite a rocky start, we got to Regency Ballroom with time to spare, and even wound up killing time buying a concert tee and going to the bathroom.
I did get a t-shirt from that show in ’99, but it’s almost fully disintegrated now. The armpits are completely exposed to the elements, and I’m too much of a Comic Book Guy to pull that kind of look off.
Unlike the last time when we went to see Apocalyptica, the band opening for them (VAMP on this occasion, Dir En Grey last time) didn’t cause me to feel a murderous compulsion toward their sound guy. I don’t know that I’d want to see them again, but they were alright, and had a couple of tunes that weren’t completely awful. Dir En Grey, on the other hand, is a band which I hope never to encounter for the rest of my natural life. There was so much shrieking that Wildflower almost collapsed, and it was touch and go for a while on whether we would have to miss the band that we were there to see. And despite having a far smaller fan base in this area (making the lead singer’s attempts to draw in the crowd a little sad), VAMP managed to offer up a decent set, and didn’t injure anybody.
After roughly half an hour, they made their way off of the stage, and our ears began to try to readjust to normal levels of conversation. I didn’t remember it taking so long to get the stage set up for Apocalyptica the last time that we saw them, but then again, I was busy nursing my wife back to health. There was roughly thirty minutes between VAMP’s departure and Apocalyptica’s arrival, and we took the time to make another pit stop, and then try to find somewhere on the floor where we wouldn’t be trapped behind a sea of bobbing heads that stood much higher than our own. We found a spot, and pretty soon the room erupted in cheers when the banner raised behind the drum kit with APOCALYPTICA in letters spanning tens of feet and at least a meter high.
From there, it was only just a couple of minutes until the Finns took the stage (our tip-off was the fog machine). Sadly, it seemed that the majority of the people there were waiting for the headliner, as the cheers were somewhat more muted than they were four and a half years ago. But when they launched into their set, those of us who are true fans managed to drag the Nikki Sixxers along with us. They opened with a new song, which was more quietly received, as most of us had only heard it for the first time recently, and the people there for SIXX:A.M., not at all. But where they really won the crowd was when they brought out the chairs, and laid into “Nothing Else Matters.” This being Metallica country, almost everyone knew the song by heart, and everyone was singing along, backing the trio of metal cellists on the stage.
I had hoped for a couple more old-school Metalli-tunes, but they were on a slightly tighter schedule than they had been when they were headlining. I have to say, it was a lot of fun last time, when all the Dir En Grey fanboys and girls had left the Ballroom to us metalheads, and to close out the evening, Apocalyptica ran through a classic live version of “Seek & Destroy”. Still, I don’t know why I am complaining. They played a hell of a show, and were definitely worth the price of admission (which is good, because we bailed out before the headliners). I will say that I had forgotten about the audience participation and the clapping, and managed to screw my right pinky up pretty badly from banging in rhythm against my wedding ring. I’m glad that my wife and I could go for our sixth anniversary, and as far as anniversaries are concerned, this one ranks a close second to the Whiskies of the World Expo which we attended for our third.
Flor managed to get a little video, but it’s very low-quality sound, so I’m just going to put up all the pictures which she took (from her far superior camera-equipped cellular telephone).
As they left the stage, killing all hope that they might be convinced to do a thirty minute encore, my wife and I decided to leave. We really didn’t care about the next band up, and by leaving when we did, we managed to get home by midnight. Perhaps it’s just because I’m getting older, but I have to say that I’m glad we didn’t have to stick around until the very end. Bedtime is important to us. And again, maybe it’s due to my advancing age, but I also felt that VAMP didn’t need to be quite so loud. Also, they were totally on my lawn, so…
Anyway, it’s just past 1:30 in the morning, and I have to be up in roughly five hours, because my wife’s friend is dropping off her son to Tex Batmart’s Daycare Emporium and House of Frivolity around seven in the morning, and that will require that I am conscious enough to put on pants and turn the television in the living room on for him. Good night, everyone! I’ll be back tonight for a regularly scheduled ramble!
Okay, that’s it! Good night, folks!