Never mind this is a writer's blog and "freakin" isn't exactly "writer's vocabulary" material, and never mind that Chad Kroeger mentioned if you're going to do a job do it right, which means I should use the more powerful word: I keep this blog PG-13, so freakin' will have to do.
I went to see freakin' NICKELBACK last night at the Post-Gazette Pavilion. After wanting to go for years and watching the chances they got close enough pass by because the timing was not right, finally it was. All four of us went: me and hubby and the kids (only one is still a minor, barely). I won't mention what we paid for 4 tickets in the second tier of seats that were under the pavilion shelter and just behind the roadies taking care of the soundboard, plus the mandatory T-shirts, enough food not to starve, and drinks. Yikes. But we've waited a long time to be able to go and I wanted to actually SEE them in person not only on the monitor from the lawn.
This was also my first time at the Pavilion so I wasn't sure what to expect. I love outdoor concerts. I didn't like that rain was threatening all day and did start up while ordering food. Luckily (especially lucky for those on the lawn), it held off and it was, as Chad said, a beautiful night for a Rock & Roll Concert!
The huge gravel parking area, even as early as we arrived, was packed full of tailgaters bbq'ing and chatting and playing bean bag toss games as we rolled by waiting for our chance to park. We ended up close to the south gate and waited in line until the gate opened at 5. Never mind the "illegal" smell while we waited, most fans were fairly reserved and we listened to the cacaphony of music coming from car speakers, much of it of course was Nickelback. At one point, we couldn't distinguish what any of it was since there was so much of it from all directions.
Inside the gate looks like a mini town with merchandise vendors as well as food and drink vendors. It's a nice atmosphere and I appreciated the sign saying there is lawn space set aside for families with no alcohol or smoking allowed.
Finding our seats, we were happy with how well we could see the stage, considering we bought the tickets only a week ago! Of course, it was still daylight, so the first three bands were quite easy to see. I have to say I didn't know much about either Saving Abel or Papa Roach before last night except my kids like them and truly enjoyed seeing them. I couldn't understand anything they were singing since the bass was pretty overwhelming. No matter. The kids knew the words. And so did much of the audience, apparently, since lots were singing along. I do know a couple of Hinder songs and enjoyed seeing them performed, although again the sound balance gave us more bass than anything.
I felt a bit like an old stick-in-the-mud sitting there just sitting and taking a few photos but not really getting into the whole thing. Those around me were dancing and singing and having a great time and I was watching the roadies change sets in between and the guys at the soundboard in front of me and the crowd and the security and the event staff (research! a writer's gotta observe the details!). And standing up or twisting my knees sideways 50 times to let people walk back and forth out to and from the aisle. I know, when you go to a concert you should really just hang out and enjoy and relax ... but a writer who writes about music can't help the work aspect of it, also. *shrug* If I had the nerve, I would have liked to go talk to the sound guys to ask them about their job. I don't have. Except maybe I will do that online. Stay tuned.
The stick disappeared when the band I went to see made its appearance. Along with the rest of the crowd, I was on my feet in full party mode (with soda instead of the tons of beer being consumed around me) cheering and yelling and singing along from the moment Nickelback took the stage. And they took the stage with a literal bang! The light and sound effects were incredible -- major kudos to their techs.
Chad Kroeger was very funny, very likeable and flirty, very involved with the fans. They started with "Something in your Mouth" from the Dark Horse CD and kept rolling through songs and chatting in between. I was a bit surprised there were only a few Dark Horse songs in the show, but loved getting the All the Right Reason songs, and bringing the leads from Hinder and Papa Roach out to join them for AC/DC's Highway to Hell was a lot of fun. There was even a touch of country thrown in!
Daniel Adair's drum solo was glorious! But you have to hear it in person to truly understand how glorious it was. And if you're a drummer or ex-drummer, you can't help being transfixed.
Never mind too much camera focus on too-showy girls, since you have to expect that with Nickelback and most rock bands these days, I guess. It was an incredible show and by the third song, I was already thinking, "I've GOT to come see them again!"
I would like to make a public statement, here, though. When the staff tells you there is no smoking within the pavilion, would you listen, please? My husband asked several guys to put out their cigarettes because they were just in front of us and chain smoking and my allergies kicked in making me cough up a storm. Seriously, be a tiny bit considerate in public! That goes for getting bombed or stoned out of your mind, as well. It's not fun for those around you when you do. Kudos to the event staff for kicking out the kids in front of us (yes, some of the smokers, two of whom got aggressive when hubby asked them not to smoke -- silly little boys considering who they were dealing with) who were falling all over the seats and climbing on them and pulling up the braless girl's shirt who was so out of it she won't remember the concert at all (with my 16 yr old right behind her). We paid to be there, for decent seats, and we had the right for those around us to be mannerly just as we were. Behave like humans or stay home. Maybe it was "Rock and Roll" but a lot of us were there for the music, not the debauchery.
All in all, we left fully happy with a wonderful night of wonderful music and fun, and after sitting in the parking lot for half and hour waiting until it even made sense to start the car and creep along out to the road, we went in search of a nearby hotel. We planned (last-minute) to stay the night since it was 70 miles from home and late, and then go in and run around Pittsburgh today while we were there anyway. Didn't happen. There were either 22,000 people at the concert (according to Hinder) or 19,000 (according to Nickelback) and it was sold out. That's a lot of people descending on Pittsburgh. There wasn't a hotel to be found in the area except a smoking room with only one bed 12 miles out. Instead, we grabbed food and a lovely cafe mocha from a very slow Eat & Park and headed back home at 2 am.
Wow, am I getting too old for that! I'm wiped out today. I don't know how the bands and roadies do it.
If anyone is still reading this wordy review, I think you can click on the photos to see them larger. But please, they are copyrighted, so if you want your friends to see them also, send them here!
If you get the chance, GO see Nickelback live! Tell them I sent you. And then watch them look at each other and say, "Who?" ;-)