Friday, June 21, 2013

thoughts on Tom Petty (Consol Energy Center, 6-20-13)

It was a rousing Thursday night.  So we bought an overpriced steak hoagie from Frank's in Millvale and hit up the Tom Petty concert at Consol.  We met up with the Wheeling crew (G Miniature, Fuzzekial, Kelly pizza guy and relative newcomer and Green Day stage crasher/singer/diver, Funky Cold Adena).

Accompanied by a 2/3 previously eaten bag of Wavy Lays, the steak sub was a pretty damn good choice.  Gigi is very anti-steak-um.  It must be something regarding finely pressed, manufactured and processed meats.  They are hardly the most sensual of all the cured, smoked meats.  I'm reminded of Costanza - uttering the words, "I flew to close to the sun on the wings of pastrami."  Fortunately, this was a fine slab of meat adorned with peppers, onions and provolone.

Just an aside - whenever I go to the Bob Evans in Woodsdale, I always get this older female waitress.  And during the ordering process,  she'll inquire... "And your choice of breakfast meat?"  She says it with this absurdly haunting voice.  Hard to describe but I'll try.  It's almost as if I'm being served by George Michael while he sings the classic "Careless  Whisper."  But kind of like we're entering a homo-erotic, haunted house.

Brief shout-out to the world renowned Pittsburgh Scarehouse in Etna and its owner Scott Simmons.

So the weather was perfect, the crowd was mellow.  All six of us were ticketless.  So Gigi and I went to work.  I managed to scrounge one off a woman from Wheeling who turned out to be a former patient of my father.  Then the flood gates opened.  2 here and 2 there.  With only a modicum of effort, we had already snagged 5 freebies.  And Gig finally snagged the 6th off some dude.  But with that last ticket came a "price."  These self-described concert veteran pseudo-weirdos always want her to "go inside" with them.  It takes a few rounds of explaining that we have no desire to hang with them.  We just want the tickets, Nothing more, nothing less.  He eventually succumbed after a thorough round of begging and light interrogation.

Bada-bing, bada-boom.  All 6 tickets with a total face value of about $500.    Who is it that said, "good things come to those who wait?"  I'd like to modify that statement.  "Free shit comes to those who ardently pester others."

We took our usual seats on the lower level, right side of the stage.  But an usher I'd refer to as "old-man summer" told us to scram.  So we hoofed it to the other side.  We had plenty of room in our aisle, but the sound was kind of muffled and weak.  There's usually a widescreen and speaker pointing in our direction.  If there's no video, we're usually so close to the stage that it's not an issue.  Not this time.  The stage set-up was strictly geared for only those facing the stage.  Boo.  Sucked.

I wasn't really too hip on this show.  The band was fine and Tom Petty seemed his usual self.  But I think he's just passed his prime.  If you want my opinion, Petty peaked in the early 90's and held it together until the cusp of the century mark.  Last night, his sound just seemed a bit too rehearsed and overly manufactured (the musical equivalent of steak-um).  Maybe I just wasn't feeling the southern rock vibe last night.   I do not know. 

I recall this one Tom Petty show at StarLake back around 1999.  It was the only time I ever stood in the best seat in the house.  Front row, center of the pit, directly in front of him.  He smiled only at me and nobody else during "Runnin' Down a Dream."  I suppose you could say that it was my defining "Liberace" moment at StarLake.

So here's the setlist.  Kind of a yawner if you ask me.  I don't care much for the overplayed songs 3, 6, 8, 14.  Thank god he didn't play that extended version of "Breakdown."  That's when I invariably choose to go piss for 10 minutes.  His final closers (Refugee and Runnin' Down a Dream) were decent.  And the encores were both acceptable and fairly predictable.  But like I was saying, I just wasn't too enthused.  I'd say the best part of last night was probably the steak sub.

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