Finally, a concert review. Ahhh, where do you start with this one?
Three months ago they announced this show for Mellon Arena and I thought to myself - this could be the last "true" rock concert at the Igloo. I know, Fleetwood Mac is coming in March. And while I intend on going (they're opening their tour in Pittsburgh), it just isn't the same. This is AC/DC - one of the simply rawest major arena rock bands of all time. So yesterday was the big day and let me say it was relatively miserable. Heavy rains, flurries and high winds marred the majority of the day. Earlier, I had hosted a lunchable and we outlined our intentions to meet at the Alpha, 5:30 sharp.
I've seen AC/DC a few times before. One time w/ Cinderella, one time w/ White Lion (that atrocious hair band that sang "Wait, Wait, I Never Had A Chance to Love You") and another time with god knows who. This is of no relevance.
We met Kelly (a man) and his daughter and they would follow us up. Eventually, we'd lose them in the Burgh. So it was me, Heather, Gary K. and Sarah C. I really didn't want to drive this one but Gary didn't bring his Explorer and the thought of Heather driving terrified the living hell out of me. We get on the road and visibility was poor. Gary pleasantly informed me that the forecast was for 3 inches. I just had a bad feeling about this. By the time we hit Claysville, I voiced my concern. I started to think about the title of AC/DC's new cd... isn't it called Black Ice? The roads weren't that bad but I just kept thinking it's gonna get so much worse. Plus, people were driving really slow. Honestly, I was about 50/50 and seriously contemplating turning back. I asked everyone to take a vote and it got awkwardly silent. I knew what they were thinking, "What the fuck Grandpa Saf? Why must you be such a lame ass bitch? We're trying to go to a rock concert, not Sesame Street Live or some Yanni shit. Why have you foresaken us?" So I kept going. By the time we got to Little Washington, everything was substantially better.
I took a slightly non-circuitous path to the arena. Since none of us had tickets, I wanted to park in the lower lot near the main entrance and survey the scene. The lower lot was only accepting reserved parking. Fuck. At the last possible second (and I do mean last possible second), an oafish lot attendant wave me in. Talk about karma. Gary slipped me $20 for parking and I'm pretty sure I kept the change (6 bucks). Gary, if you ever read my blog (which I doubt), I owe you 6 bucks. I was just so excited about getting my usual spot.
Onto the quest for cheap tickets. They had been blabbing on the radio how this show was sold-out. But WDVE always says everything is sold-out. Over the years, I've learned that words like "sold-out", "gold-circle", "box seats", etc. blah don't mean shit. I walked over to Gate A and there was a man (I think it may have been Ohio County Commissioner David Simms) trying to get rid of 4 tickets for $160. Not a bad deal, considering they were Level A with a retail value of about $424. Jesus Christ - AC/DC tix are $106 a pop - that makes me sick. I could see this guy was a bit disillusioned. My goal was to snag 4 singles for $20 a piece, but there wasn't much action out front. 2 other women wanted $100, then $50. I ran into AJ and CHL. They had bought tix earlier for $45 a piece. Then, I saw the cops bitch at the David Simms lookalike and he moved off to the edge of the parking lot. BINGO. I approached him with 4 for a buck twenty and he acquiesced. To be honest, he was offering a great deal in the first place and I think he was just plain discouraged. Who knows how long he'd been standing there.
"Hope you guys brought your ear plugs" was a well-received comment as I got back to the car. We opted to skip the opening band (thank god). I still don't know who they were. Anyway, we hiked about 40 yards to the door and we're in. Not bad. Our seats were bad ass. Section A-11 about 5 rows off the floor. In my opinion, one section closer are the best seats in the arena. Not only were they all together, they were seats 1,2,3,4 on the aisle. Again, not bad. This is more important than usual if you're familiar with the typical AC/DC fan - Unkempt, cheap whiskey chain smoking breath, and generally loud and ugly.
Did I mention how they say everything is always sold-out and there's always a ton of seats. Well HELL to the f'in O, HELLO - this place was totally sold-out. Every seat to the top of the rafters was filled (probably 18,500 if anyone gives a damn).
Brian Johnson can still sing or well screech and Angus Young can still play. These guys have got be about 60. To be honest, my expectations were pretty low. But these guys fucking rocked it out. All the classics and a pretty good flow to the setlist. They closed with one of my all-time favorite rock songs - For Those About to Rock. I snuck a look at the setlist prior to the show. Couldn't help myself. We bolted for the car just as the cannons were firing.
Kelly called me and asked if we were still stuck in traffic. "We've been in this shit for about an hour." I replied, "No, we're at the Dallas Pike rest stop." I silently reflected, "And you paid over a hundred bucks a ticket for level E. Not bad."
As I said earlier, the last true rock concert at Mellon Arena. I can't wait for the new arena next year, but there's a ton of great memories wrapped up in the Igloo. I'll miss it.
Should have worn some ear plugs. My ears were buzzing when I hit the pillow.
AC/DC - you still rock and I will salute.