So what is lamer than going to see Foreigner? Many asked this epic question throughout the mid 1980's. These same people also wanted to "know what love is." Only a band with the soul and passion of Foreigner could properly lay the groundwork for such a timeless inquiry.
So me and Gig made our 1st trip to First Niagara Pavilion last evening. While Hurricane Irene was pummeling the East Coast, we sympathized with the plight of those in the path of its destruction. What better a way to commiserate than going to check out this triple classic gritty rocker - Night Ranger, Foreigner and Journey. Every year, Starlake throws out a crappy trio of bands. Steppenwolf, Bad Company and Foghat would be a prime example. Either way, a bunch of old school rockers load up the 'ol Chevy Malibu and head out route 22 on their way to Boogertown, PA. My point - you know how there's that one concert that's weaker than all the others during the course of the whole summer... Yep, that's the one we chose. Sometimes it's a low end "country music round up starring Sawyer Brown." Or maybe it's one of those 80's shows. You know... something like Human League, Heart and the B 52's. Either way, it doesn't matter "who the bands are." It's just a matter of "them being the bands."
We set out around 5:30pm and got stuck in 2 separate parkway accidents. When we finally made it to the exit, traffic was way backed up. So I planned on doing the drive-past, median-turn-around and opposite-direction slide in. You'd think everyone would do this. You would be completely wrong. Instead, the roughly 400 cars opted to not even use the other turning lane. So instead of waiting the customary hour in traffic, we slid into the lot (grass section) in less than 10 minutes. Not bad.
Fortunately, me and Gig already had tix for this show. That's right. We camped out at the South Hills Kaufman's ticket outlet the entire night. They went on sale back in March 2011. Of course this is true. We made s'mores in the parking lot that night over a makeshift grill. And I regaled others in the crowd with inspirational bible stories. We bundled together in a sleeping bag and nearly froze to death. But it was worth it. The second the tickets went on sale, I proudly stepped up to the counter and chimed, "2 lawn, please!"
In reality, Gig scored 2 freebies from a roadie on a golf cart. Good seats too - ahhh, the purity of comps. Section 4 Row J. Anyway, while tailgating earlier, I asked the crew next to us, "Do you know what's lamer than going to see Foreigner?" They looked puzzled. "Nope, what's that?" they asked. I responded, "Going to see Foreigner in a limo!" Sure enough it was a harbinger of things to come.
For I would run into Daryl at the top of the steps by the main entrance. Daryl's one of my old friends from the limo driving days. And of course he had a crew from Wheeling. Out of curiosity, I asked him who he had driven up. He responded with the name of a self-deluded, narcissistic Wheelingite... in essence, the perfect limo occupant. Fucking incredible! Talk about an omen. It was if I had seen the future. Sometimes I wonder about these clairvoyant aspects. Sometimes I fear them.
I neglected to mention the size of the crowd. I was way off with my predictions. I thought it would be less than 10,000. Turns out I underestimated the WDVE fan base. Much to my chagrin, there were probably about 16,000 last night. It was a fairly disciplined crowd. A few wife beaters and some tattered jeans. Everyone looked like they had just changed their oil (begrudgingly at the 7,000 mile mark).
So yeah, we skipped Night Ranger and snagged our freebie tickets midway through Foreigner. And we missed our hometown heroes, Tongue n' Cheek who opened the show on the side stage. I'm sure they "tore it up" and "lit a fire" under Starlake's ass. Maybe they "rocked the house" or "blitzed everyone's brains out." They might have "smoked out the crowd" or "crushed the beer cans." I'm sure facebook will fill me in. These guys have never had an off night. Each concert is "even more rocking" than the last one.
Journey wasn't that bad. The bass player looked kind of stoic. He had this "I'm condemned to my fate - this is the life I have chosen" kind of gaze. The little Asian Steve Perry knock off did a pretty good job singing. Hard to tell the difference. Lead guitarist Neil Schon's permed mullet was just as ebullient as it was in 1986. Remarkable plumage. The fans seemed mixed. Some were very receptive. Others trended motionless. This crowd wasn't exactly connaisseurs of the finer things in life. Well, except for maybe the limo crew. Perhaps they had champagne and caviar. Dare to dream. A far more likely scenario, their "fearless leader" treated them to DiCarlos afterwards. Maybe he surprised them with Jagerbombs on the way home. Way to go. He is an truly an inspiration... to the uninspired.
On the way out, Gig and I snagged about 24 bags of complimentary chips. We should have just taken a few of the boxes, but opted to demonstrate a modicum of mercy on our sole Starlake voyage of the year. There still are a couple more shows. Toby Keith is hosting the "Beef jerky, it's what's for dinner" tour and this atrocious band "Avenged Sevenfold" is headlining one of those pseudo-emo-homo-goth festivals. The Avenged Sevenfold group has to be the most annoying band I've ever come across. I saw a clip of them playing on HDTV a month ago. They left me with this feeling of indescribable hostility and intolerable rage. Perhaps I'll book a limo for it.