As promised, here are some of my all-time favorite concert freebie entrances. I'm not even going to bother with the countless metal shows at Bogarts in Cincinnati and Newports in Columbus. Suffice to say, I was friends with these 4 metalheads (Anthony aka Stone, Thrasher Mike, Steve and Cleve) who knew all the bands. They would actually write letters of praise and adoration to the bands. And more often than not, the bands would reciprocate with beer, marijuana and free backstage entry. We'd hang out with all these bands on a regular basis. I wish I had some of the old school metal t-shirts. I honestly don't know what happened to all of them. Not that I'd wear them these days, but I'm sure someone would want them. Many had faded signatures.
I'll lump all the less prominent metal bands together into one giant sneak-in, even though there was nothing "sneaky" or illegal about it.
Vio-Lence - probably the most underrated thrash band. Do yourself a favor and download Eternal Nightmare),
VoiVod - unique style, kind of like a psychotic trash
Metal Church - the only church I want to see. I liked the balding bass player with the bandanna.
Dark Angel - They sucked
Death - They sucked even more
King Diamond - met him w/o the makeup on. Probably the most famous satanist I know.
Armored Saint - saw a guy get karate kicked in the sternum and die from cardiac arrest; his assailant just disappeared into the crowd. I was about to be interviewed by the News and they bolted at the last possible second - sucked.
Flotsam & Jetsam - No Place for Disgrace is decent
Testament - how many times have I seen these guys. We even invoked the name of Chuck Billy last night at Nail City.
Exodus - Ricer did a flip off the stage, missed the crowd and nearly broke his back.
Forbidden - Chalice of Blood sums it up
Death Angel - Total bad asses, very cool to party with. Best cd is Frolic.
Overkill - I don't care what you say, fuck you.
I think you get the picture. Some of these bands we paid for. Some we walked in the back. Some we used $3.00 Ticketmaster tickets for some kind of never-ending waltzing competition. I'm not going to even mention the big name bands. With the exception of Slayer, I don't think any of those were legitimate sneak-ins.
One of the best illegal entries was my first Dead show at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincy back in 1989. I bought a bunch of tickets at Lazarus Dept. store in downtown Dayton and sold them off on campus. Everyone said it was going to be one helluva party so me and wrestler Ed Montgomery went down and used some Amy Grant tickets. Using cheap tickets for bigger shows was just the norm back then. Usually, you'd pick out the old blind geezer who was ripping tickets. Sometimes, I'd even hand them upside-down. It worked every time. But this one time, our friend TJ handed the guy a wrong ticket for a Whitesnake/Kix concert. The guy looked up and said, "Hey stop right there buddy!" TJ just took off running through the halls. He spent the entire evening freaking out thinking he was going to get caught. In retrospect, it was some funny shit. Anyway, that one Dead show altered my perspective for the next two decades.
Another great freebie was the Pink Floyd show at the Horseshoe in Columbus back in 1994. It was their Division Bell tour. It was me, Wendy Wagner and Lisa Carpenter. We were listening to the show from outside and there was one security guy sitting in front of the cargo entrance. The next second I look up and hear Lisa yelling for us. She had zipped right in when he abandoned his post. Probably an ill-timed bathroom break. Lisa was already on the second level. You could have driven a semi through this briefly unattended gate. Me and Wendy fast walked our way in and hooked up with Carp. Several others saw us and strolled in too.
Another great one was a couple years ago. Me, Josh, Kelly and Crazy Kathy went to Columbus to see The Who at the Schottenstein Center. When I parked the car in a hotel garage, the attendant said, "That'll be $10.00." For some reason I responded, "How about $5.00, does that sound cool?" He sheepishly said "okay." After that, I had a good vibe. Who the hell haggles with a parking lot attendant? Truth be told, I could tell that he was going to pocket it. Perhaps a sixth sense from those years of working the lots in downtown Wheeling.
Anyway, tix were way overpriced and the opening act had already started. I looked at everyone, "Let's survey the scene and check out around the back." On the way, this young couple opened one of the side doors to smoke their cigarettes. The kid looked at me and softly inquired, "Do you guys want in here?" I responded calmly, "Yes. Yes we do." We all bolted in and high tailed it up the steps to the outdoor balcony. I remember triumphantly toasting the moment with some cans of Old Milwaukee that we took in. That sneak in saved us a shitload of cash, and Josh and I ended up in the front row on the side. I never found a ticket stub, but I did get a guitar pick that said Roger Daltrey on it. In retrospect, kind of odd since I've never seen him play a guitar. Reminiscent of Mick Jagger where he "fake-played" the guitar in one his videos during his 1985 solo stint.
How about the Slayer show at the Ice Garden in Belle Vernon. Me, Marklar (aka Vomitous) and Jepson cruised up. It was freezing cold out that night. We parked in the back and walked in the food service entrance. When I opened the door, there was just a bunch of older overweight women boiling hot dogs and shit. As I held the door and ushered the others in I exclaimed, "God-damn, its' fucking freezing out there!" A few of them briefly looked up and went right back to peeling potatoes or whatever.
And who could forget the final Deer Creek Dead show in 1995? We had tickets for the following night and were content to just hang outside by the lake. During the first set (Desolation Row) I saw a swarm of lanky hippies charge the hillside. I realized that all hell was going to break loose. I looked at Alex and said, "Let's roll!" I foolishly tossed a small cooler of beer over my head and started running. Then I thought to myself, why the fuck did I do that? I fought my way back through the sea of stank bodies and retrieved the mini-cooler. After we made our way in through the jagged torn up fence, I opened a luke-cold Keystone and took a big gulp. Very satisfying. There was a lot of negativity expressed toward the gate crashers. To all of you, I still say - go fuck yourselves.
The Devo concert from a few weeks ago was a trip and a half. Under my direction, me and Amy D. snuck around the side of the Celeste Center in Columbus. When we saw the backstage entrance, Amy looked at me and innocently asked, "Eric, what do you think is on the other side of that door?" I responded with something like, "I don't know. What do you think? Maybe the fiery pits of hell?" "Amy, just follow my lead. If anyone asks, tell them you need to use the bathroom." Ken - thanks for the ticket stub. Chris - thanks for driving. Great show, good time.
I already blogged about the Paul McCartney show from Wednesday night. I never really thought much about it until now. Gig and I had to be the first ever illegal entrants to the new Consol Energy Center. Hell, there was only about 100 people inside when we scooted in. They opened the gates about 30 minutes after. But my first McCartney sneak-in was in Cincy at Riverfront Coliseum in 1989. Me and this chick from Univ. of Dayton went down. I had a couple tickets but sold them for big bucks that night. She was pissed thinking we wouldn't be able to get in. I told her, "No problem, I do this all the time." She was petrified nervous but once again, the Ticketmaster tickets to the "Waltzing with the Stars" or whatever worked perfectly. On the way home, I couldn't understand why it was so dark out. "It's so dark out. What the fuck? I can't even see the headlights from the cars passing me by? What is this? This has to be some kind of anti-moonlight effect. It's fucking pitch black!" After 30 minutes, I realized the trunk on this guy Steve's Nissan Stanza was up. I had borrowed his car in return for a case of long-necked Budwesier bottles. Safe assumption to conclude that I was a little high at the time. Definitely one of my all-time favorite Top 5 shows.
Here's a good one. Danno and I are drinking at Nail City (why we were there, I have no idea. It's possibly the lamest, most annoying establishment in all of Wheeling. Nice building though). I looked at him and said, "Let's go see Kiss next door." He complains that he doesn't want to waste the cash. "No big deal, we'll just pretend we're smoking cigarettes on the outdoor veranda." Sure enough, not only did the worker open the door for me. He let me hold it open for everyone who was heading back in. It was so absurdly loud, we bolted after 3 or 4 songs. Not sure what year that was - I'm guessing maybe 2000 because I think it was around the time I finally kicked the nicotine habit.
In 1988 me, Jepson, Jason Neuhardt and that douchebag Shawn White snuck into a Megadeth show at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, PA. We all had tickets, but we did get to see the soundcheck which was pretty cool. Warlock and Sanctuary were the openers. I have vivid memories of Doro Pesch's blond hair flailing around on stage. The whole 90 minute ride home, Shawn White spoke on every aspect of her "massive titties." I still don't like that guy. But, I really dug the surprise "Set the World Afire" opener. I was positive Megadeth would open with "Wake Up Dead."
That brought to mind another soundcheck walk-in. I was hanging with the Sleeping Giants at Rosebuds in the Strip District. They were in the process of shooting some kind of bizarro video. Lots of makeup, flamboyant costumes and some very unusual imagery with a clock. They ignored my protests that everything they were doing seemed really weird. Tal said, "E, that's why you're chump and not in the video!" Secretly relieved, I wandered over to the Metropol. It was around 4pm and Cracker jumped off their tour bus and jammed out 4 tunes to a crowd of 6 people or so. Completely bad ass. I'll never forget these contrasting styles of "rock'n'roll." I tried to explain this to my friends - Sam and Steve (and even Doug) got kind of pissed at me. At that point, I knew Tal was already a lost cause. The others would figure it out a year or so later. I think the year was 1994.
One more. About 4 years ago or so, Me, Stollar, Jenn B. and some guy who was pretty annoying went to Hartwood Acres to see a band. I think it was Umphrey's McGee. I suggested we leave early and go to the Washington Wild Things ballpark to see the end of a Bob Dylan concert. This show had been underway for quite awhile. I led everyone up the cargo ramp and the next thing you know, we're all on the field. Personally, I don't care much for Dylan. I just wanted to see if we could get in for free. And the venue was directly on our route. It would have been lame not to try.
And here's one of the dumber ones. Me, Alex and Mark went to a Rusted Root New Years show at the Civic Arena in 1996. I don't think it was called Mellon back then. Anyway, we all went over the rails onto the floor. The security guy saw me do it and made me go back. I would later do the same routine and he spotted me 30 minutes afterwards when I went to use the restroom. He just said, "You're coming with me." He then proceeded to escort me out the door. It was still early and quite cold out. I went up to the main entrance and started up a conversation with the security guard who was monitoring the outside smoking area. I made it appear as though I was picking up my kid sister and her friends. When he turned away, I saddled over the cement barrier and fast-walked back into the arena. This was really a dumbshit move. For if he saw me, he could have taken me down hard on the concrete. That would have ushered in a new year of absolute sucking. All to see the lame ass Rusted Soot. I think we should all call them Rusted Soot, not Root.
Every time I go to finish this blog, I keep remembering other sneak-ins. I've got a bunch of wristband removals and replacements from Jamboree in the Hills and some assorted All Good Festival shows in Masontown, WV. But that's enough for now.