Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eltoned in the John

I zipped up to Gig's for the Elton John show at Consol Energy Center last night. Around 4pm I exited the Fort Pitt tunnel and was crushed by a brief hail storm. 279N was a slight mess. Several cars pulled off to the side as if that would somehow alleviate the problems associated with God's fury of frozen water. Anyway, made it to her place and the cats were cowering. One in the basement, the other beneath a blanket. Sure enough, another 5 minute hail blitz broke out. Very unusual weather patterns.

So we cruised over to the arena and parked in our favorite Church parking lot in the hood. I'll never be a god-fearing bozo, but if I ever have even the slightest inclination to join a congregation... it's going to be St. Benedict The Moor Catholic Church on Crawford Street near the cusp of the hood. This is the baddest ass lot n'at in all of dahntahn.

As usual, we had no tickets and were unwilling to pay. Why ruin a streak? So we made 4 signs.

ELTON SMELLTON (that's all it said - not really sure what this would accomplish)


I GUESS THAT'S WHY THEY CALL ME A JEW. (take off on the song "I Guess that's why they call it the Blues" - I thought this was clever)

and the customary mainstay...
All Hail Sir Elton (subtle reference to the earlier hail storm).

Anyway, we eyed up this one couple who had extra tickets but got chased away by an overzealous cop. He wanted to see my sign. Fortunately, I showed him the "won't sit next to you" side, not the "suck my dick" side. So after being bullied by the pig, we walked down to the lower entrance. Apparently, this cop doesn't watch much Dr. Phil. If he did, he'd be more aware of the bullying crisis that's suddenly sweeping the nation.

This one older trio I encountered seemed content to eat a couple tickets. We spoke for a bit and despite my reassurances to not resell them or sit near them, they opted to eat 'em anyway. As they walked through the entrance, I yelled "SHAME" trying to instill a recollection of the ongoing Wisconsin collective bargaining labor crisis. But alas, they were completely unfazed.

But we scored tickets in no time. Mine was actually a floor seat print-out (face value $142 + $7). This couple said their son could not attend and was more than happy to give me a freebie. COOL! A shout out to Mark Alessandro - that's the name on the print-out. Gig got a freebie first level.

So we walked in and went all the way to the top. We grabbed a standing table on the other side of the curtain. We watched one guy wolf down an entire roast beef sub in about 48 seconds. He dipped it in the au jus with unbridled enthusiasm. It reminded me of the Asian kid who dunks his hot dogs in a bucket of water during the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest. Then we saw another man voraciously chugging a box of M&M's.

Something about these seats/standing area just wasn't right. This was quite possibly the farthest area from the stage in the entire arena (the back of section 212). We decided to hang there for a couple songs. After the second song (Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting), these three older women walked down the aisle and waved 3 tickets in the air. Out of nowhere, she asks us, "Do you guys want to use these floor tickets?" Gig's response was "sure" and I think mine was "F'in A." We glanced at the tickets - all Floor comps indeed, section 8.

We decided to walk to the front and see how far we could get. The answer - would be 5th row aisle seats, directly in front of Smelton John. Certainly some of the best/priciest seats in the house. About 10 songs in, a crazed middle aged woman came rumbling through. She was very emotional and seemed to want to stomp her heels a lot. Eventually, security escorted her out. At one point she took over my seat and I was forced into the aisle. I was cool with it though. She seemed to "need it" more than me.

Highlights for me were "Philadelphia Freedom", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Tiny Dancer." Quite the showman, he was joined by famed Leon Russell on another Yamaha grand piano. Russell, who I initially thought was one of the guitarists from ZZ Top, played mostly bluesy, slower stuff. For the most part, it was pretty cool. Elton John played about 30 songs for almost 3 hours. Long show. And I really enjoyed the 4 black female background singers. Especially the larger one on the left who really seemed to embrace the atmosphere.

On the way out, we went scavenging for extra ticket stubs for the downstairs bathroom wall. Instead, I found a cell phone on the floor of the first level. Gig eventually made contact and we met up with the owner outside. Their van pulled up and she rolled down the window. Considering, we went out of our way to help her, you would think she'd be somewhat appreciative. Not the case whatsoever. I wasn't expecting a cash reward, but she could have at least been a teeny bit grateful. If I recall correctly, she was from Bethel Park. I'd estimate she was in her mid 50's. She bore a slight resemblance to female golfing legend JoAnne Carner. I'd say her theme song was "The Bitch is Back" (one of the concert highlights). If you know this woman, tell her to suck a bag of dicks.

So we took a non-circuit pathway back through the hood. Made it back to Gig's in less than 10 minutes. Gig made me a pizza of which I devoured half. Then, out of nowhere, I got a horrible migraine headache. Probably a combination of the lack of food and an abundance of wine. I haven't had a migraine in years. I couldn't lay down. I just kept walking around like a zombie with my head throbbing. At one point, I had tears rolling down my face. Crazy. So I just decided to bolt. I figured the cold air might help. The headache finally began to subside around Dallas Pike. Got back to my place around 5am and dutifully blogged the events of the night - another concert in the books.

I've never been a huge Elton John fan, but I do respect the guy. A consummate performer. Great stage presence. Like Gig said, how often do you get to see not one, but two pianists in a 20,000+ arena-style venue. And I never mentioned, I'm pretty sure it was a complete sell-out. Glad we went. Other than the headache, definitely a fun one.


Anonymous said...

Loved reading this! Made me feel like I was there. Glad you employed the "suck my dick" poster.


Anonymous said...

The one woman singer was Rose Stone of "Sly and the Family Stone"...that is why she was so cool to watch!!

Anonymous said...

What made the lady so unappreciative about you finding her phone? What did she say/do?


Anonymous said...

Good question. Gig handed her the phone and she just mumbled "thanks" - kind of like the level of appreciation and warmth of tone you might receive in a Burger King drive thru. More of a casual indifference. I would have extended far more gratitude. We could have just thrown it in the Consol Energy Center lost and found. SAF

Anonymous said...

In the future, you should take some risque pics before returning the phone.