If life is a concert.....and going to see Queens of the Stone Age is a Survival of the Fittest.....Sparkle, Bitchard and I are Dead Meat. As good as dead, anyway.
We took off for Norfolk on Saturday, HOURS after what I'd planned to leave, so we didn't get there till late afternoon. We decided to go stay at Virginia Beach just because and the place was mobbed with people. It turns out there was some kind of huge marathon thing going on. We finally found a place there on the beach and you ladies out there will be interested to know Mr Front Desk rated a solid respectable 87 on the Brenda Hot Guy Scale. I tried to get a pic but you know how that goes.
We decide to go out to eat dinner so we chose a buffet place nearby. It was just a run of the mill restaurant, no big deal....the food was okay but not GREAT. I quickly found out you cannot purchase a glass of Sweet Tea in Virginia. The waiters wanted to bring me a glass of unsweetened tea and then I could add sugar. I didn't know how to explain to them that it just doesn't work that way, so I changed my order. Wow, I never realized I was on the utmost Northern edge of the Sweet Tea Phenomenon. Then the waiter brought the check and I almost fell out! It was expensive as all HOLY SHIT! I knew right then we weren't leaving that place without taking something along with us as a souvenier...so we did. Meet our new pet, Bob.
He's awfully sweet and very cute...he doesn't seem to enjoy doing anything but just laying around, though.
The next day was fun. Sparkle immediately spotted the twin bikes and wanted to go for a ride. Bitchard declared the bikes were gay and he wasn't going. There was much discussion and a bit of a lovers' spat but you know what ended up happening:
Look at that profile. You know its him. Its Bitchard and he always will be Bitchard, especially after I explained to him that changing his moniker would be devastating to his online fans. He didn't know he had any fans so he's happy now. p.s. You notice I'm not on the bike? Bwahahahaha!
Then we decided to go out walking and were stunned to discover our outside time was going to be censored:
That's right. Daaaaaamn, we were in a No Cussing zone! It was tough but we behaved.
But then I wanted to scream at this guy: "HEY, GET BACK HERE SO I CAN TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR BITCHIN' MULLET!" But it was No Cussing so I couldn't. This shot from behind does absolutely no justice to the Grade A quality mullet this guy was sporting. It wasn't just a haircut, it was a work of art.
But then we saw this:
and I became paranoid. The Viking is Everywhere. You Cannot Escape. Notice the evil fog rolling in off the ocean to the right. It was time to go back to safety of our room and get ready for the concert!
We got to the theater and it was a decent looking place. We had to stand outside for about 30 minutes or so but that was a lot of fun, we chatted up the locals and we met Quen, who gave us the low-down on all Norfolk concert procedures and helped us pass the time.
This is Quen, Queen of Norfolk.
She wasn't kidding about the pat-down and searching procedures, either. BOY! Was this a concert or entrance to Alcatraz? I was fully expecting them to de-louse us after the search. The Norva Theater should just invest in a metal detector. The patrons would feel a lot less violated that way.
Here's Vincent (middle) and his Minions. They were standing in front of us and they were willing to Talk Music for this blog entry with me. They were from Ohio and were taking a break from the college routine. They had seen Queens of the Stone Age during the Songs For the Deaf tour and they were happy to be seeing them again and on the front row. We discussed music in general and in particular the possible death of rock and roll. Vincent and the Minions do not depend on broadcast radio to hear new stuff, they're digging around on the internet and they're listening to what their friends are saying sounds good before they check out a band. Yeah they might download something "illegally"....but if its good they still buy it! These guys are not going to spend their hard-earned bucks on garbage and who can blame them?
The music business can moan and groan about people stealing music online but the bottom line is that people will still shell out the dough for top quality! The only difference is that now the Business can't wrap a CD of filler music around a couple of hits and expect to sell a million. Guys like the ones you see above are looking for quality in their artists and they're not going to put up with something rammed down their throats by MTV or VH1. The Business has been rushing out the "hits" for so long, failing to develop artists, going for the next big scene.....and now its stuck with a lot of so-called artists that a lot of kids really want nothing to do with. Corporate Business (a.k.a. Clear Channel) has failed to understand that there's an audience out there that doesn't want to hear the same 50 songs over and over on the radio. They had best wake up now and do something or they're going to lose this audience to the internet and satellite radio forever.
But anyway....enough bitching....er...griping . On to the show!
The opening band was Throw Rag, whom I had never heard of before. They came out and did what an opening band is supposed to do, get the audience PUMPED UP. They were fast, loud and wrong. And kind of ugly, but that's okay.
My usual photography skills are displayed above. *sigh* Guitar Boy over to the right has a huge hollow body Gretsch guitar. Actually it seemed like everyone was playing huge guitars last night.
Everything was going great until this guy shows up from the middle of nowhere and starts having a head-banging bonanza. Not that there is anything wrong with that but this guy was over the top. He would bang his head a few times and then snap it back and I could hear the wind "whooosh" as he flew half inches from my head. It was really pissing me off and I ended up giving him a good fist in the lower back. I guess I hurt his feelings because he left. Either that or he had to go chill from smoking all that crack. Sheesh.
Here is what the back of an Idiot's head looks like in case you were wondering. And yes, the ugly lead singer in the background IS shoving something down his pants. There was a whole lot of that going on.
After Throw Rag, the Queens roadies came out to set up and all of us were surprised to find out that Chris Cornell's second-cousin-that's-led-a-much-rougher-life is now a roadie:
So, here's the main thrust of the story......Queens of the Stone Age. They come out, everyone goes nuts and......CRUNCH. Everyone behind us took ten steps forward, even if there weren't ten steps to take. I managed to get some pictures....and only two came out, kind of sort of. Here's Josh. I was getting killed when I took this, which is why its in tripped out-mode.
And I managed to snag a not even half-way decent pic of The Grand Poobah, Troy Van Leeuwen, whilst I worshipped at his feet.
The horrible truth is, I got killed in the melee. My right knee got trashed. Someone landed on my head. I was crushed senseless. I lasted two, maybe three songs and I knew I had to get out. And then I realized that wasn't going to happen, because there was no way out. Panic set in and the Minions helped me over the barrier (thanks guys). When I made it inside the barrier, I promply tripped and busted my ass right in front of the Grand Poobah, God and Everybody. I managed to make it safely away just in time to throw up in a handy trash can.
Good times, people, good times.......
I didn't have to wait long before I saw Sparkle come over the barrier. And only about 5 minutes later here comes Bitchard out of the crowd, looking like he'd seen battle in Fallulah. Once out of that mob I was fine....we got cold drinks and retired upstairs to watch the mayhem on one of the monitors. The show itself was great....though it was surprising that the Queens didn't put as much emphasis on the new stuff as I thought they would....and they played an awful lot of stuff from the first album, which was fine with me. They've played the older stuff so much now they are TIGHT...they don't make mistakes anymore. Joey Castillo in particular shows a lot of improvement since I saw them last. Then Mark Lanegan comes out to sing and the whole time I was wishing I could have somehow toughed it out down in front....but I just couldn't. Does anyone else remember the days when you went to a show and everyone CHILLED while they JAMMED? I've got a feeling that all the marijuana in the air back then was responsible. It mellowed everyone out, even if they weren't smoking it. They outlawed the marijuana and everyone just goes violently insane now. I hate it so bad, man, I love live music with all of my heart but I can see the day coming that I'm just not going to be able to do it anymore. Hmmmm....see it coming....hell, its already here! I've never been crushed so hard I threw up.
So I drove home today realizing that I may never breathe the same air as the Grand Poobah ever again. I did manage to snag this nifty promo sticker after the show to ease my pain though....