Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Queensryche 3/31/12 - Wheeling Island Casino

Let's see.  A festival in Maryland, a county fair in Rosenburg, Oregon and an arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil... 

Question: What do these three locations have in common? 

Answer: Well, if you include the Wheeling Island Casino Showroom, they represent the 4 currently scheduled dates for the Queensryche 30th year anniversary tour.

Surely they will add more dates, but this just strikes me as really weird.  Why is Queensryche coming to Wheeling Island to play that squarish ballroom that handles about 1,000?  Why are they kicking off this grand tour in of all places... Wheeling, WV?

I suspect it's the first date of a larger "casino" tour designed to hit secondary markets.  Sometimes the crowds are just more enthusiastic in places like Dayton, Ohio and Shreveport, LA.  On any given evening in Boston, there's a ton of shit you can do.  A town like Wheeling has far fewer options.  I suppose you could hit the Methodist church bingo.  Or maybe you could get a pitcher of Bud Light and some undercooked wings at TJ's Pukegarden.   Or maybe you could buy a can of silver spray paint and do it up Tribbett style.  My point - your choices are a little more limited in Wheeltown.

I've never done an official Top 10 favorite rock bands, but I suspect Queensryche would be about #16.  Honestly, I used to love these guys.  Still do.  In their heyday, I saw them open for Metallica a few times back in the late 80's on the ...And Justice For All tour.  I also saw the Monster's of Rock show, not only once, but twice.  The first at Three Rivers Stadium and the following week at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio.   Hell, it was Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Metallica.  Who opened?  Yep, the Led Zeppelin rip-off band Kingdom Cunt.  But I digress.  Queesnryche had nothing to do with any of that.

So why exactly did they choose Wheeling???  I have a weird hunch that the manager planning this tour asked the following question: What city or town in America is still trapped in a late 80's time warp?  Where is the greatest concentration of mullets and rock concert t-shirts?  Where do the people still instantly raise their cigarette lighters, and also, what is the location with the greatest number of lighters per capita?   Where we will be welcomed with fanatical adoration?  Where will the people line up for autographs and pics with the band.  Los Angeles?  Nope.  Philly?  Doubt it.  Chicago?  Get the fuck out of here.

Maybe the band wants to recreate some passion and relive their arena glory days.  Perhaps I'm just being way too cynical.  Truth be told, I'm guessing it's just part of a carefully orchestrated casino tour.  All those places are well-equipped to handle 1,000-2,000 size crowds.  And they all basically have the same ballroom-like schematics and atmosphere.  Why play a bunch of theaters with fire code violations and insufficient security.  What if some asshole tries to sneak in the back door? 

I look forward to attending this concert.  Despite the fact that my mom will have to fly in from Arizona just to pick me up after the show.  Hopefully, she'll be discreet - "Yoohoo, Yoohoo, over here.  I parked around the side.  So how was it?  How was The Queensright?  Did you make some new friends?"  Yeah, I'm still gonna hit it.  But I absolutely refuse to pay money for a ticket to see anything at Wheeling Downs.  Sometimes, all you have to do is ask the people at the front desk for a comp ticket.  That's often the case at a real casino.  Is Wheeling Island a real casino?  Well, to be blunt... no, it ain't.  It's a really weird, haunting establishment with casino-like aspirations.  Still, gotta give somebody credit for bringing a decent national rock band to Wheeling Island.  Englebert Humperdink - if you're still alive, get the fuck out Wheeling.  Geoffery Tate is comin' to my hometown.  I don't think guitarist Chris DeGarmo is still with the band.  The whole thing reminds me of a Stephen Pearcy-less Ratt coming to the Crossroads out the crick in 2001.   

If my front desk miracle ticket idea doesn't work, I'll just make up a sign.  Any suggestions for Operation: Mindcrime?  I call it Operation: Gimme a free ticket.


Anonymous said...

See you there! We are suckers and actually bought tickets.

sonofsaf said...

DBV - I wouldn't call you a sucker. I'm just a big fan of the unknown. Adds a whole different dimension to the evening.
I think it could sell out. It's a small venue. Still, I'll take my chances.

LR said...

Wheeling Island is as real as any other casino out there. They have exactly the same slot machines you'll find at any casino from AC to Vegas. And the same table games business model: you give them money, they give you chips and you give them back.

sonofsaf said...

LR - I will admit that Wheeling Island technically functions as a casino. I was referring to the "build-up" and the "experience." As you enter Wheeling Island, you're confronted with multiple fine dining options (Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken). On your mile journey to the southern tip, you'll weave through scores of meth-heads as throngs of cats scatter for their lives. 1 out of every 3 houses is either dilapidated or uninhabited.

Now for the experience. The clientele is almost exclusively elderly couples from central eastern Ohio. Yep, it's the vacation destination for senior citizens from Zanesville, Cambridge and to a lesser extent, Akron. They chain smoke while simultaneously snarfing down an "Island Dog" loaded with sweet gherkins. And they incessantly bitch about elbow tendonitis from the vidiot slots.

LR - I was just implying that Wheeling Island casino ain't the Bellagio, the Wynn or MGM. But yes, they do have a similar chip-monetary exchange format.

Anonymous said...

Actually, their 30th anniversary tour was last year. They have announced that they will be taking this year off, except for apparently a few one-offs like this one.

According to Geoff Tate, they are working on a new studio album.