Wednesday, August 22, 2012
My Morning Jacket - Pittsburgh, Stage AE, 8-21-12
I cruised up to Pittsburgh yesterday in an absolute, torrential downpour. For 45 minutes, there were cars and flashing lights all over I-70. By the time I hit Bridgeville, it was absolutely beautiful. Crazy weather.
Gigi and I headed straight for the MMJ concert at Stage AE. We took a brief detour to Nikki's Thai Kitchen for 3 appetizers. I highly recommend this establishment. We opted for the egg rolls, chicken Satay (skewers) and the spring rolls (thin noodles, fried tofu, lettuce, carrot, basil leaves wrapped with rice paper, served with brown sauce, crushed peanuts). The description of the spring rolls really doesn't do them justice. These things rock. We're planning to dabble with some Thai experimentation tomorrow night. Hopefully, it sets a long overdue standard. I've always wanted to delve into simplistic Asian cuisine.
We dismissed our usual parking spot in the hood because we planned to meet up with Jenn and Justin. Also, we were ticketless (go figure). We made a loop around the amphitheater but had little luck. However, we did find a set of car keys sitting on a concrete barrier. We mentioned it to the attendant and he suggested we drop them off at the box office. On the way back the car, Gig was testing the unlock button and we spotted the car (a black Jetta) inside the gated lot. So the car's headlights flashed for a few seconds, but keep in mind, it's on the inside of the steel gates along with other employees' vehicles and the buses and tour rigs.
We met up with J&J and gobbled down the apps. We began to concoct a somewhat misguided plan to gain free entrance to the show. Our idea was pretty basic - hit the panic button. When someone comes over, try to coerce them to let us enter the show in exchange for being such good samaritans. We give you keys - you give us tickets.
Well, a guy quickly came over and we tried our best, but he was adamant that he couldn't get us in. Then he disappeared for a second and came back with one ticket that he allegedly "found." I was a bit skeptical because I figured it was a previously scanned ticket lying on the ground. Sure enough, I'd be proven correct. So we basically just ended up handing over the keys. In retrospect, this was fine because it's not like we wanted to screw the guy. We just thought we could parlay the opportunity into 2 freebies.
Then, an hour later, the guy (Steve) came outside and wanted to "know more background information about how and where we found the keys." He was accompanied by a stringy, gothic bodyguard. He made a few curious remarks about how they've been experiences problems with theft (amps, mics, etc.). The security guy followed a few paces behind us almost as if to say... if you we find out that you guys are lying, we will come down on you with the wrath of god and exact "concert justice." So we showed him where we found the keys and he just kind of nodded. Again, we pressed for free entrance, but neither budged. I think they thought we were part of some wider conspiracy.
So the opening band (Band of Horses) concluded and things weren't looking to good on the ticket front. Then, Gig talked to this one guy who was leaving the concert. He had an extra print-out which he dutifully gave up on the spot. BLAM! But I was still having trouble. Sensing the band was about to go on, I was almost prepared to buy a ticket from the box office (Ouch). Allow me to reiterate...
Suddenly, right at crunch time, this man came out of nowhere with an envelope. He started passing out tickets to his friends so I asked him for an extra and he just GAVE IT UP! He mentioned, "How's that for karma?" I responded with, "Dude, that is completely bad ass. I am very appreciative" or something to that affect. Tix in hand, we bolted inside and the band went on within minutes.
As expected, a totally killer show. Most of the tunes were up tempo. You can judge for yourself because following the show, we went on a routine groundscore hunt (scavenging a record 17 ticket stubs for the downstairs bathroom wall) . While tearing down the stage, Gigi saw "Stage AE stagehand Steve" (say that five times fast). She yelled, "STEVE! You owe us!" and asked for a set list. He quickly reciprocated and handed her a guitar pic
and an original copy of the set list.
Very cool. So it all came full circle. And I got to hear the song I wanted... Xmas Curtain. Provided a nice sense of continuity to an enjoyable evening.
I honestly believe that My Morning Jacket is the best rock'n'roll band currently touring. I'd be hard pressed to think of a better band. Tonight is Jane's Addiction. I remember a time back in the early 90's when those guys were my heroes. I'd still like to see 'em but I'm just not feeling it today.