Friday, November 09, 2007

the other favorite concerts

These are some additional favortie concerts. No major incidents, just great shows in no particular order...

Jane's Addiction - AJ Palumbo Center, Duquesne University - 1991
I cruised up with Mark Infantino. On our way back to the car, some concertgoer said, "Hey, check out that bumper sticker. That's cool." It was the "He's Gone" bumper sticker on my Omni. In a strange way, it paralleled my existense during the early 1990's.

Phish - KSU Mac Center, Kent State University - 1994
A large crew of us went to this one - probably about a dozen. My first Phish show. The energy level was insane. I remember watching this hippie dude stealing beer from a vendor on the arena floor while doing some unusual "mother shabooboo" dance moves.

Foo Fighters - Chevrolet Ampitheatre, Pittsburgh, PA - 2003
Just a total rock show. I'm a huge fan of Dave Grohl.

Prince - Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA - 2004
I saw Prince at the same venue during the late 1990's. That show was pathetic. This one was unbelieveable. It was me, Amanda, and the indomitable April Green.

Farm Aid - Starlake Ampitheatre, Burgettstown, PA - 2002
A ton of us went. Phenomenal dumpster parking and just an overall great time. When we were leaving, I kicked some kids out of their chairs by the steps. "Oh, are these yours. We're sorry." I just mumbled, "No big deal." Snagged the chairs, threw them in the hatch and said, "Now we're done." I still have those chairs compliments of Weirton Rent-a-Center.

Beastie Boys - CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio - 1998
After begging just about everyone I knew to go up, the best I could muster up was Bill Samms from the 440 N. Front Street House of Death. Needless to say, he remained consistently silent the whole night. The concert made up for it though.

Fleetwood Mac - Starlake Ampitheatre, Burgettstown, PA - 1997
Went up with a small crew. Angie Szalay ran over a dead deer carcas on the way there. Total energy show. There's something intrigueing about Christie McVie. The other girl, not so much.

Live - Starlake Ampitheatre, Burgettstown, PA - 1995
Place was packed. It was their Throwing Copper tour. After the show, we were doing long range soccer kicks. The ball was careening off peoples' cars as they left the parking lot. Windhields, doors, the little parking security trailor. Nothing was immune to the soccer ball. People were pissed off. We couldn't stop laughing. When we finally left the lot, I took out about a dozen barrels in the Maxima.

X-Fest - Starlake Ampitheatre, Burgettstown, PA - 2000
I know, I know. Everyone has their stories of multple lawn chair fires and people throwing giant hunks of dirt from the lawn. This has happened many times at the festival shows up there, but never like this one. Dunkle danced around the fires like a wild injun. Stone Temple Pilots closed this one out, but Cypress Hill was the the highlight.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Death Angel/Rigor Mortis 1988

Death Angel is one of the baddest metal bands on the planet. It didn't take much coaxing for a crew of us to go see the "Frolic Through the Park" tour at Bogarts in Cincinnati. The guys from the Trash house (Mike, Steve and Cleve) and me, Anthony Semirale and Ed Montgomery all made our way to the familiar concert hall. Trasher Mike was a huge Rigor Mortis fan. He would look at you in this drunken, stoned haze and recite their lyrics.

Your body's in slices. You're in six fuckin' pieces. Bodily Dismemberment.

That pretty much set the tone. When Rigor Mortis came out, the place went berzerk. A very rough pit. I steered clear but when Death Angel opened with "Mind Rape," I found myself in the middle of it all. An absolute killer show. Definitely in my all-time top 5. After the show was over, we were partying with the band in the back alley. For some reason, they had a real tour bus. This was a bit unusual for a band of their stature. They invited us on the bus. I bought a t-shirt and had the whole band sign it. I'd have it for a few years until this complete dumbshit who lived in my Wheeling Island apt. for two weeks snagged it. The sad truth is, he was a fake white thug rapper. I think his name was Rob. He was a complete waste, but his girlfriend (my neighbor) Tameka was pretty cool. I can't even fathom what happened to either of them.
I spent some time talking with the drummer who was a little worried about openly drinking Corona. He admitted to me, "Hey, I'm only 15." This struck me as really odd. At the time, I was 19.

Testament at the City Limits, 1988

I'm pretty sure this was my first "real" metal show. I was a senior in high school and by virtue of the fact that I had a driver's license and access to a vehicle, it would fall on me. I remember it was me, Jepson, and two others (probably Ricer, Mulvey, Neuhardt, or Shawn White (who, to this day, still annoys the fuck out of me). Testament was scheduled to play at this abandoned roller skating rink formerly known as The City Limits in Penn Hills, PA. I recall pulling into the lot and checking out the line of metalheads. We were in heaven. This was the first real show for all of us. We're milling around and all of a sudden an old van pulls up and Chuck Billy (the lead singer) jumps out of the back. We were BLOWN away. You cannot put this into words - it was the equivalent of some Princess Di fanatic having a wine spritzer with Elton John. That's what we're talking about. We got some of the band members to sign our memorabalia. I bought my first "legit" metal concert t-shirt - THE NEW ORDER w/ all the tour dates.
We walked into the venue and realized that we could walk up and touch the stage. There were only one or two rows of people before the show commenced. All in all, I'd say about 500 people attended this show. The band Vio-lence opened. The lead singer would continually hurled himself backwards into the crowd and the fans would push him back onto the stage. This blew me away. I'd never seen anything like it. I think I was a bit starstruck at the time. Honestly, I idolized these bands and there they were, about 5 feet in front of me. The lead singer was wearing a 1-900 DOMINATRIX t-shirt. It was getting ripped too shreds. I'll never forget the picture of the woman with a whip.
Testament opened with "Into the Pit." Great choice. They also played "Over the Wall." Little did I know, Jepson would coin the phrase "Over the Wall" in reference to pissing outside the urinal. We stopped at a McDonalds on the way home and everyone (except me) purposely pissed outside the urinal. We saw a McDonalds employee heading into the bathroom. As we exited the restaurant, we heard him say "Ohhh, no."

Friday, November 02, 2007

RATM - 1997

The unlikely foursome of Mark I., Mandy B., Jepsonian and myself hit the Rage Against the Machine show at Starlake about 10 years ago. This was a rowdy crowd. Great tailgating atmosphere. Jepson was surprised by the attendance. I was not. We somehow managed to snag one of the boxes in the reserved seating area. For some reason, they didn't try to kick us out. Usually, they can be pretty persistent. Wu Tang Clan opened but I recall very little of their performance. The lights went down and Rage came out. The whole ampitheatre really went nuts. Stray bodies were charging in from the lawn area. Usually, people try to be pretty discreet when they sneak into the seats. You look for a moment when the security is distracted or the usher guy is showing someone to their seats. Not this time. These mororns would come running down the hill and hurdle themsleves over the barrier. One of the security guys resembled Fuzzy the Bear, but much taller and lankier. Anyway, he spotted some cro-magnon dude and went after him. I had my doubts about whether he'd succeed. Sure enough, Fuzzy emerges from the pit area. He's dazed and confused and it looks like he got his nose broken. Blood streaming down his face as the other security guys help him off. There's a good lesson in there - if you're only getting paid minimum wage, don't try to be a hero.
On the way out of the lot, I tried to weave through traffic to get to the front. I accidentally scraped this one guy's Imapala. I jumped out of the car, explained how sorry I was, told him we didn't need the cops coming and handed the guy 70 bucks. It was all the money I had on me. I think he was amazed that I offered anything. The actual damage probably cost a few hundred. I jumped back in the car and took off in the other direction. Everyone in my car looked at me like I was nuts. Jepson said, "How'd you get away with that." I responded, "Let's get the fucka outta here."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pearl Jam - 2000

Dunkle and I cruised up to Starlake for the Pearl Jam show back in the late summer/early fall of 2000. We snagged the usual dumpster spot at the top of the steps and set up shop. The Maxima was nearing its demise. Right next to us was a giant bin filled with ice and Citra. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Citra, it's kind of like Fresca but without the nutrasweet/aspartame zing. They even had a male and female Citra representative from Coca Cola. I guess they were there to field questions and oversee giveaway operations. Anyway, I snagged a few gargabe bags from the "beer bottle police" and went to work. When the Citra reps moved off, I went to the bin and started filling up. Probably made about 5 separate Citra trips. I was loading up the trunk of the Maxima until it was full and then started in on the back seat. During one of the final trips, an undercover had busted this girl for underage drinking. He had her cornered up against my car and was filling out the citation. She's crying up a storm. Meanwhile, here I am on an entirely different mission. I'm hauling the garbage bag of Citra and it busts open leaving a trail of cans. I look at them both as I approach my car. "Excuse me you guys, I need to get in here." The cop gazes at me with this look of disbelief as I start dumping the garbage bag full of cans. Even the girl temporarily ceased her crying as she had trouble figuring out exactly what was transpiring. After all that commotion died down, we started to make our way into the venue. I saw the female Citra rep and she was back in action, promoting her cause and offering up free refreshment. She looked at me and asked if I'd like a sample can. I told her, "no, that would be stealing." She assured me that it was complimentary and I could have as many as I'd like. I told her that it just made me uncomfortable - getting something for nothing. After a few more back and forths, she just shrugged her shoulders and said ok. We continued hooping it up and slamming beers. For some reason, we decided to walk down to the other entrance. Before we left, I approached the Citra girl and told her I needed to show her something. She walked with me over to the car. I popped the trunk and, lo and behold, there were about 300 cans of Citra and the back seat probably had a couple cases in there as well. She looked at me with the same sense of disbelief the cop gave me an hour earlier. In fact, the trunk was so full, the car was weighted down. My struts were in pretty bad shape leading up to the incident to begin with.
We waited until the crowd died down and Dunkle decided to sneak some beers into the show. He lined his shorts with 3 beers. I was a little skepical of his brazenness because they ask you to lift up your shirt and spin around. Sure enough, the girl asks him to lift up his shirt. Dunkle complies and a beer can hits the ground and starts spraying her. Dunkle looks at her and points to a large pile of confiscated blankets. "These are mine." He picks up the stack and walks off into the distance. The same look of incredulity. This time from the gate attendant. All these looks of astonishment, wonderment and awe. You'd think these morons had never seen a rock concert.
Great show. They played a long encore and it was getting cold so we bolted. As the Maxima limped off the lot (due to the weight of the Citra), I came to the conclusion that it might be time for a new car. Unfortunately, that would lead to the worst decision I ever made - the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee aka shake, rattle and roll. However, on a lighter note, there would be plenty of Citra giveaways for weeks to follow.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oasis - 1998

Cleopatra Carmen and I went up to this show at the AJ Palumbo Center. She got her neighbor to babysit and we rolled up in the Maxima. We got a late start and she was a little nervous about my driving - just keeping up with traffic. We skipped the opening act and made our way in. We walked down to the floor during the break and found some seats about 10 rows back. There was this diminutive kid in front of us who resembled the lead singer. Looked exactly like him. He even had the same mannerisms and identical gestures. We both found this really amusing. They band came out on stage as if they were playing a massive stadium in Europe, not a basketball arena at the Duquesne University. They had this total arrogance about them. The lead singer would frequently drink from his water bottle and spray the crowd. He must have gone through a 12 pack that night. As pompous as the band was, they definitely rocked. Just a straight-up pure rock concert.
After the concert, I told Carmen that we had to zip by 3 Rivers Stadium and check out the tail-gating scene. She was very skeptical but I explained that the Denver (-2) at Pittsburgh AFC Championship game was the next day at 1pm. I was pretty sure it would be a lively tailgating scene, despite the fact that it was bitter cold. Sure enough, there were a bunch of cars waiting to get on the main lot. We hung out at a few tailgates, but the one I really remember was these rednecks in a van with PA plates. They actually had a live black pig with them. Its name was Slash and if the Steelers lost tomorrow, they were going to "slash, Slash and grill/eat the pig right on the spot." If you could see the look in their eyes, you knew these guys weren't fucking around.
Broncos 24
Steelers 21
That poor pig. He probably never saw it coming.

Friday, October 26, 2007

King Diamond/Flotsam - 1988

My old friend Ed Montgomery and I wanted to go see King Diamond at Bogarts in Cincinnati. No vehicle though. So we enlisted the help of a strange upperclassman named Rob. Actually, he was alright but his driving made us both a bit nervous. He seemed to jerk the wheel a bit too much. We cruised down to the club and ran into some other Daytonites - Trasher Mike, Steve, Cleve and Anthony Semirale - aka Stone.
Flotsam and Jetsam opened the show and a huge pit emerged in front us. I'm a little leery of charging into these pits - it's a good way to get a bloody nose or at the very least, stomped on. Instead, I like to hover on the outskirts. Every once in a while you get bumped around but it's no big deal. Also, you don't have some fat ass who's sweating profusely rub up against you. That is not my idea of a good time. Flotsam rocked. During the set break, I saw the stage manager (Ole Bang, that's really his name) helping set things up. I asked him if we could get an autograph of the King and he surprisingly was very cool with it. In fact, he claimed to remember me. I thought that was odd but played along. After the show, Ed and I were led backstage. There was a a very peculiar dude in the corridor holding a clock. He asked us if were going to meet King Diamond and I said "that's the plan." He explained how he was hoping to get his clock signed - on the face of the clock was a painting of King Diamond's head (full satanic makeup and it looked pretty sharp). We also met these two groupie chicks from Dayton who we'd run into a few more times at these metal shows. I forget their names.
Anyway, Ole Bang comes up to us and says "the King is ready to see you." Ed and I open the door and there he is - no makeup. I must say, the King looked pretty haggard. Must have been worn out from all that screeching and that bizarre stage show. Anybody who has seen King Diamond would know what I'm talking about. He opened his mouth and in a haunting soft voice said "Come forward." Ed and I look at each other and nervously approached. He asked us if we enjoyed the show and we both mumbled "Yes, Mr. Diamond." He then signed my fan club letter which I kept in my wallet for years. He wrote the standard KING DIAMOND with two inverted crosses on both sides. I wish I still had that memento. Maybe I'll search through my files.
This wasn't the best show I've seen. I thought Flotsam was much better, but no way was I going to miss King D on that Welcome Home tour. All his friends were there - Missy, some giant mummy/Frankenstein thing, and don't forget Grandma. Not one of the best shows, but probably one of the strangest. It's always time for tea.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paul McCartney - Cincy, 1989

In anticipation of a big sold-out one stand at the Riverfront Coliseum, I decided to buy as many tickets as I could for an upcoming Paul McCartney show. I slept out overnight with a buddy (Ed Montgomery) of mine in front of a department store in downtown Dayton. When they opened the doors, we charged to the ticketmaster machine in the back of the store easily outrunning everyone in the place. We each bought 8 tickets (the maximum). Our plan was to scalp them without even going to the show. Just put up a few flyers around campus. Needless to say, we got rid of them in no time. People at the back of the line were quite upset when they announced the show had sold-out in a record 45 minutes. Not the fastest sell-out by today's Hannah Montana standards, yet rather impressive for the late 1980's.
Anyway, one of the calls I got was from a sophmore girl who lived a floor below me. She was very interested in buying 2 tickets and taking her mother to the show. I told her I was out of tix, but still planned on going to the concert if she was interested. This was back in the day where we'd go to Bogarts (a club on Vine Street near UC) and purchase 3 buck tickets for some kind of waltzing fest. Then, we'd just use them at the coliseum. It worked just about every time. In fact, I used that same method to get in to my first dead show (also at Riverfront). Anyway, I explained the process to her and she was very skeptical but still wanted to go to the show. I think her name was Linda. Anyway, we got together and made plans. I asked to borrow this guy Steve's Nissan Stanza provided I fill it up and give him a case of long neck Bud bottles - that was the price. In retrospect, not that big a deal.
Anyway, we made it down to Cincinnati and tickets were going for big bucks. All of downtown was really whipped into a frenzy for this one. I think the mayor even gave Paul McCartney the "key to the city" - whatever, the fuck that meant at the time. Wow - what an honor to bestow upon someone - the city with the highest percentage of rapes, violent crime and murder per capita. Nice.
We merged into a huge line of people waiting to get in. They actually had a "checkpoint" set up to verify that you did indeed have a ticket. We flashed our tickets and walked right through. Linda, or Lisa, or whatever her name was confided that she was very nervous and didn't think it was going to work. I assured her we did this all the time. Just follow my lead. I looked for the oldest ticket-taker. It was a 75 year old who probably had never even heard of the Beatles. I made some small talk as he ripped my ticket - I honestly think it was a 3 dollar ticket stub for some kind of dance/waltz contest or maybe something called Buckwheat Zydeco. Anyway, not bad considering tickets were going for a couple hundred right outside.
Anyway, we looked for seats on the upper tier in the back of the arena but like I said, totally sol-out. So we sat in the aisle which made us fodder for the flashlight police. When the lights went out, the place erupted. They opened with a generally mellow song - Figure of Eight, which to this day I still like. The setlist is from a live recording of "Tripping the Live Fantastic" - an absolutely killer live cd.
Anyway, the Linda girl ran into someone she knew and they crowded her in with them a few rows ahead as the flashlight dude persisted. Fortunately an older couple saw my plight and "took me in to their row." I felt bad since my presence made it a little cramped, but I didn't have much of a say in the matter. They even got me high. Unfortunately, I put my finger on the top of the pipe instead of the side carb thing. It burned the fuck out of my finger and made the rest of the evening very uncomfortable. My finger actually throbbed in pain the entire night - it was that bad. No exaggeration.
This concert is definitely in my all-time top 5. Great show. Great crowd. Super-charged atmosphere. As we drove back to Dayton, I couldn't help but notice "how dark it was outside.
I asked Linda why I couldn't see any of the cars that would pass us. She ignored my questions and kept talking about how great the show was and how she wished she could have seen it with her mom. We were on two totally different wavelengths. I persisted about the "degree of darkness" and asked her to get me a beer out of the cooler in the back. When she turned around, she looked back at me and said, "Eric, do you know the trunk is up?" In retrospect, maybe that's why the ride home was a black-out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grateful Dead - Chicago, Soldier Field 1991

This was my favorite dead show, hands down. I drove up with the infamous Lowe brothers and this other guy Rob Kohnfelder. A couple years later, I would grow to truly despise two of them. So much for the peace and love theory. We spent some time on the Southside of Chicago buying tons of beer at a distributor. Tom and John bought about a dozen cases which really weighed the car down. The suspension was bad enough on my little Charger 024 Omni. I miss that car - it was the original Saf mobile or as my father referred to it "the fucking jalopy and eyesore to the neighborhood." We arrived at the parking lot around noon and the place was filling up rapidly. I parked near these college kids who were dispensing 8 nitrous tanks. As the day wore on and the lines grew, I got to know them pretty well. They explained how they were from Cornell University, snagged a bunch of tanks and decided to hit the show. There were 4 of them - all business majors, go figure. They had given the security cops $100 a piece with a promise of another $100 each at the end of the night. Probably a good idea, since the lines were 20 people deep and the swooshing noise form the tanks was loud. At one time, they actually had two lines formed. This pissed off Tom at first since he was trying to sell imports and these guys were making a mint selling hippie crack. He eventually would sell all his beer anyway. The Cornell foursome probably netted about $16,000. Not bad for a days work. Not sure if they went into the show or not. I never even found out if they were Dead fans.
I had an interesting run-in with this Asian kid in the middle of the afternoon. We were standing by the car and we noticed this one hippie riding his bicycle while simultaneously hitting a nitrous balloon. I look to the Asian kid and said "that doesn't look like such a good idea." Before I could finish the sentence, the hippie slammed into a parked car and hit the pavement. The balloon went flying and he was pretty skinned up. Fortunately, he didn't crack his head. After a couple of minutes, the banged-up hippie managed to get to his feet and ride off. I started talking with the Asian kid - he told me his name was James. James and I started walking the lot talking about a variety of topics - where you from, you got a ticket for the show, the usual stuff. He then said that his band was playing tonight and told me "We should go check them out. I'm not going into the show tonight. I've got to play, but I wanted to come down here in the afternoon and check out the scene." I told him I was going to the concert and I doubted my traveling companions would be interested in seeing his show since we were heading to Kansas for another Dead show (that's another story). He mentioned that they were about to embark on a tour and said they'd be playing in Pittsburgh in a few weeks. I asked where and he said the Metropol. I was impressed and mentioned that the place holds almost 1,500. "Are you guys really that big?" He repsonded, "Oh yeah, there's about 4,000 people coming to our gig tonight. We're from Chicago and we're starting a tour to support our national release." I was a little blown away. We ended up hanging out for a couple hours. Right before we split to go into the show, I asked him, "Hey, what's the name of your band anyway?" He looked at me and quietly responded "The Smashing Pumpkins." A year or so later, it dawned on me that it was James Iha - guitarist of the Smashing Pumpkins. I always like that story.
Before the show, there was much speculation of the opener. Lots of people wanted to hear Shakedown Street which hadn't been played all tour. I explained that there's no way because it was Bob's night to open. They'll probably open the second set with it. On the way in, I noticed 2 great personalized license plates - one said "BUCKET", the other "SHKDWN." I wished I'd had my camera on me since I used to take pics of dead plates, but I had left it in the car. We walked by this group of crazed hippie/college kids and they were smashing beer bottles on the lot. Just for the hell of it, I guess. Laughing up a storm and probably tripping their brains out.
We made it into the stadium right after the opening act. The weather was crisp and really windy. The sky was filled with a ton of colors and constant lightning strikes, but it never rained. They hit the stage and the place went nuts. Bob opened with Hell in a Bucket and Jerry would follow with Shakedown Street. This would be my all-time favorite dead opener. I couldn't have written a better setlist. I loved this whole show. Just had a tremendous vibe. A one-night stand at Soldier Field. Now I get it. They closed out the second set with One More Saturday Night and encored with The Weight. Quite simply, my favorite dead show out of about 50. Like I said, now I get it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Toby Queef

That's the name of his tour. I heard that slogan about 5 times Saturday night. It was rough one, mentally speaking. On Saturday night, about 26 or 27 thousand people (and I use that term loosely) descended on Starlake for the ultimate redneck extravaganza. This throng, I often use the term "mongrel hoard," consisted of mostly drunken outcasts and rebel flag waving morons.
Anyway, I took the opportunity to do a ton of buying and selling. I made an absolute killing. For the first hour, it was just me and this 55 yr. old woman who had 4 lawn tickets she was trying to dish off. Here's the deal. In typical Starlake fashion, they said the lawn was sold-out. So all that was left were pavilion tix. Lawns were $40. Pavilion were $53 and $78. The older woman was a strong representative of what I like to call "that which is shit." She stood directly in front of the ticket window and spoke in a low-talker voice. I would eventually refer to her as "Frumpy." She would repeatedly accuse me of invading her territory. "I was here first." That's about all she could mutter every time I made a sale as she remained in this stoic trance. After the fourth time of her telling me that she was there first, I finally spoke to her rather than just brushing her off. I explained to Frumpzilla that nobody would want to pay $60 for a lawn ticket (yes, she was asking $60) when they could buy a cheaper pavilion ticket at the window. This confused her for about 10 seconds and then she fired back that the lawn was sold-out and some people wanted to sit on the lawn. I then gently explained that the same thing could be accomplished with a cheaper pavilion ticket. She found this line of reasoning to be truly vexing. So she fired back with the common refrain, "Some people want to sit on the lawn. You're a scalper and I was here first." Then I explained the irony of the situation - that I was selling tickets at cost and she was the one trying to scalp. This infuriated her. Then, she started meddling in my sales - trying to rally a stray drunk redneck fuck, here and there. The only problem was that she was too monotone and couldn't inspire the fans of Toby Cunt. Eventually, I told her to just steer clear of me and then mentioned that if it were any of the other scalpers, she'd have been treated much harsher. Just as I made my peace with her, a skinny tattooed kid and his accomplice were trying to dish off some singles. She started to interfere with them too and the one kid menacingly fired back, "Get outta here Grandma!" I just started laughing and smiling coyly.

The reason I mentioned this incident was because it seemed to be a microcosm for the entire evening. If you're offended by my harsh assessment of Toby Queef and his fans, my sincerest apologies. I actually love buying and selling at country music shows. It's what I like to call the "lay down" shows. Country music fans seem to accept the fact that they'll get ripped off. Having been repeated victims and the generally downtrodden segment of society seems to have nulled their senses. They seem more willing to accept their fate and embrace the simple things in life, hence the term BIG DOG DADDY is very appealing. Their negotiation tactics are virtually non-existent. They have an incredibly narrow view of society. That's why they all love George Bush. You're either with us or against us. That dog don't hunt. Blah. Things are always black and white - no middle ground whatsoever. All they know is - ticket gets them inside. Thus, it makes for a perfect "lay down" ticket selling opportunity. No haggling or bartering.

There are a few more Cunt-Tree shows heading this way. I'm predicting great success at Rascall Flatts and to a lesser extent, Brad Paisley. It has been a while since I "tore it up" at Starlake. I'm sure many of those in attendance also "tore it up." Well, in their own way.

Monday, July 16, 2007

party - Friday, July 20

Come celebrate the birthdays of Danno (prelude to the 4th annual Dannopen) and G Mo (Rrroar). Yeah, yeah, I know... Saf, it's the same day as Jamboree in the Hills. I can't afford to miss the excitement of Friday night at Stankfest.
Perhaps it would be best to explain how my party will differ from Jamboree in the Hills. This way, you can make a competent decision on whether to attend.

10) At Jambo, scantily clad morbidly obese women are prevalent. At my place, this is not the case.

9) In regards to education... At Jambo, there is a spattering of high school diplomas. On the other hand, I had to go to summer school - The bastards made me take basic English because I didn't have enough credits. F'in Krelis.

8) At Jambo, smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco is widely encouraged. At my place, widely discouraged.

7) At Jambo, people are covered in mud. At my place, you'll be asked to not track mud in the house.

6) At Jambo, you'll hear the ongoing invigorating debate of Chevy vs. Ford. At my place, it's foosball vs. dome.

5) At Jambo, you'll smell the acrid stench of incest. At my place, you'll be greeted by scents of Papaya Mango and Hawaiian Breeze. Mmmmm. Pleasant.

4) Jambo is in Ohio. My place is in Ohio County.

3) At Jambo, you'll see the running of the rednecks. At my place, it's the scurrying of the groundhogs.

2) At Jambo, parking is five bucks. At my place, parking is a measure of your worth as a human being.

And finally...
1) At Jambo, George W. Bush is hailed as a great leader with a keen intellect. At my place, George Bush is the equivalent of dogshit.

So there you go. All members of the message board and their friends are welcome.

Here's the specifics...

Friday, July 20
Happy Hour (6pm til close)
BYOB and BYOcooler - don't shove your shitty Bud Light bottles in my defenseless crisper.
Here's something new. Don't park in the middle of the 3 pt. turn.
I'll provide food. More than just a cucumber slice.
No kids.
Feel free to crash out. Beds and couches are on a first come, first serve basis. Tents are welcome. The local bars will all be empty because most drunks are at Stankfest in the Hills.

Directions: Near Wheeling Park - Take Romney Road. Right on Brook. Left on Ridgewood. Go threw the gate all the way to the top. Do not go near my neighbor. Your existence sickens him. You can park on the side of his driveway, if you wish.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


There was a lengthy article in yesterdays Wheeling Unintelligencer about this woman who's opening a bed and breakfast in North Wheeling. Cool. Apparently, she had to go through some rigorous process to get the proper zoning ordinance. Way to go. F'in A.
Who the fuck opens a B&B in North Wheeling? First off, it's in that giant house right next to I 70 on Market Street. Aren't these places supposed to be all about peace and tranquility? Why would you open one up that's basically right on top of the 3rd busiest interstate in the country? I think 95 and 10 are first and second - just speculating. Can you imagine trying to sleep and while some 18 wheeler is barrelling through? Only in Wheeling.
Now, how about that lovely setting, huh? Yeah, it's serene. Whether it's some homeless dude sleeping on a bench or perhaps the cunting whore involved in a domestic squabble, this just ain't right. And why is it that every male (in the 16-30 age bracket) is shirtless in North Wheeling? They wander to that Convenient with their shorts around their ankles and use the only pay phone in all of Wheeling to make crucial drug purchases. And I'm not talking weed. More like some kind of black tar heroin shit.
And how about the mattresses? I have no proof but I'm pretty sure she uses the pee stanied ones from the St. Vincent's (which incidentally is now called the Shabby Sheek Boutique). I've said it many times - You can take the tomato sauce out of a t-shirt, but you can't take the urine out of a mattress.
If you saw the picture of this enterprising businesswoman, it would become much clearer. She truly puts the HO in HOMELY. Maybe she could offer breakfast in the form of Sonny Boy takeout. Maybe jack up the price by a dollar. So instead of the standard $1.99 breakfast, it costs $2.99. I wonder how much she'll actually charge visitors. I'm always a big supporter of entrepenurial endeavors, but c'mon, WHAT THE FUCK!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


No, not marijuana. I'm talking about Mrs. Grass soup mix. I made a major blunder about 10 days ago. I was looking for a good powdered chicken soup mix and settled for Mrs. Weiss. If I had just taken a moment and possibly gotten some outside input, this wouldn't have been such a fiasco. I find it a little strange that there are 2 major competitors in the powdered soup mix niche both of whom sound very similar. Just as long as Grandma Reisbeck doesn't enter the fray, we should be alright.
Mrs. Grass, aside from having a very hip, retro 1970's name, is far superior. The soup tastes more flavorful. Why you ask? Why do you give a fuck? Does anyone really care. Probably not. It's because of the golden nugget flavor medallion. Although Mrs. Grass has plenty of powdered chicken sodium, they throw in this tiny bullion cube which melts away into flavor country as the water boils. This appears to be the major difference between these two corporate soup dispensers. The salted medallion is actually shaped like a diamond. This really enhances the whole dining experience. As you occassionaly stir the soup, you get this added bonus entertainment. Look, there's the gold nugget. Look it's slowly disintegrating. It's almost gone. It has dissipated beyond my visual acuity skills. What happened? It has become one with the soup.
I alluded to the hip, retro 1970's moniker. With the recent popularity of "That 70's Show", I think Mrs. Grass could really become a big hit in the entire powdered chicken soup milieu. If they play there cards right, they could increase their market share from 43% to 45%. I think this would make all of us take a moment, stand back and truly reflect.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mrs. Weiss

While at Reisbecks I decided to buy some soup. Nothing fancy, just your basic chicken noodle. There were an abundance of choices as usual. That's what democracy and capitalism are all about. We don't get much input on major foreign policy issues, but we do get our choice of 100 different kinds of toothpaste - I prefer the Scope enhanced Crest with extra cleansing power.
Anyway, against my better judgement I opted for Mrs. Weiss homeade chicken soup. It came in a box consisting of 2 packets for $1.39. Not exactly sure if the powdery bullion was really "homeade" but that's ok. What really seemed odd is what it said on the box - "The NOODLE LOVERS Chicken Soup." I glanced at the packet and there were hardly any noodles at all. Then it said to mix the contents of the packet with 5 cups of boiling water. Judging from the amount of the Mrs. Weiss' salt/noodle packet, it looked as though 3 cups would be a better ratio. And at the time, I was overwhelmed with the idea of loving noodles. So I decided to make the adjustment in utter defiance of Mrs. Weiss - One packet to 3 cups of water. The result was an overly chicken salted fluidic catastrophe. The noodles were good, but there really weren't that many. At least not enough to satiate the needs of a NOODLE LOVER.
So there's the warning - if you are ever tempted by Mrs. Weiss (not Al's mom), please exercise some restraint.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Quiznos is questionable

Has anyone seen that new Quiznos commercial for their prime rib sandwich? It features this little Asian girl at the end who says, "It's got a lotta meat, and that's what real women want. HeeHeeeeHaaaHeee...emoticon giggling." Anyway, after seeing this ringing endorsement of their new sandwich, I decided to check it out. I went to Quiznos when they first opened and hadn't been back since. The non-existent parking lot doesn't help matters either. Makes it more appealing to the nomadic transients of Wheeling which doesn't bode well for the overall dining-in experience.
The first thing I noticed was that the "sandwich artisan" was squeezing a shitload of some kind of "green mayo-inspired substance" (possibly cilantro infused) onto a sandwich. I glanced at the menu board and it said it came with mayo. Fearing an inundation, I opted to have them hold the mayo. Don't worry, I didn't actually say those words - hold the mayo. I think I said, "Could you please refrain from using any condiments." Anyway, my options were small, medium or large. I opted for the medium. a few minutes later my $7.50 sandwich was in my hands. I also got an overpriced bag of jalapeno chips which jacked up the meal (no drink) to almost nine bucks. Pretty steep for take-out from a mid-end sandwich shack.
My overall impression of the meal was not good. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's good and there's not good. This was not good. Don't be fooled by the Asian hottie in the commercial. The sandwich was slightly below mediocre. However, the chips were pretty good.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"buying" the presidency

It's pretty obvious that the 2008 election is wide open. You've got the major players - Clinton, Obama, Guliani, McCain, Edwards and about 10 other lesser figures who think they've got a shot. I expect to see a few Independent candidates enter the fray as well. The trick is you probably need about a hundred million and some serious name recognition if you are going to pose a reasonable threat. Right now there are about 350 billionaires in the US and I think about 800 worldwide. That's a ton of cash in the hands of a select few. I would not be surprised if one of these billionaires, perhaps an businessman/egomaniac/entertainer decided to throw his weight around. There are plenty of young dot com entrepeneurs out there as well.
In the past few decades, there has been a ton of corporate spending and individual fundraising which has had a dramatic impact on who can or can't run effectively. Considering the vast amount of wealth in the hands of a select few, I think it's highly probable that one of these billionaires would try and take a shot. Here's the catch - they'll all be regarded as trying to buy the presidency and will likely fail. HOWEVER, if you could persuade one of these guys to bankroll an independent candidate (say to the tune of 100 or 200 million) - I think it would work. Imagine a guy like the MSNBC news reporter Chris Matthews with a centrist philosophy (social liberal, fiscal conservative) who has a vibrant personality with incredible extemperanous speaking abilities deciding to make the run. He has fantastic name recognition and strong credibility. Most importantly, he has no reason to pander to the DC lobbyists or corporate bullies because he has been totally bankrolled. The bankroller can claim that he/she is doing this for the good of the country and will decline any position in the future govt. They could use the line - the last thing this country needs is another easily-influenced politician (governor, mayor, senator, etc.). We need someone from the outside who will stand up for what he thinks is right. Listen up, I'm doing this for purely philanthropic purposes. The candidate would have a free hand to run things as he sees fit. The candidate (for hypothetical reasons, let's say it is Chris Matthews) would have enormous advantages. You could wage your campaign after the primary season, so you wouldn't have to waste any money in the build-up. Even though money is irrelevant with this scenario. Plus, you'd make your announcement right after the nomination process and totally steal the momentum from both parties. Your campaign could be largely waged through the media - television advertising - since money is no object.
The trick would be finding one of these billionaires who has a vested interest in turning this country around and who's not an egomaniac that thinks he can win the presidency himself. For some reason, Donald Trump keeps coming to mind. He could personally run, but he couldn't win (at least I pray not). But judging from his love of publicity and recent anti-Bush bashing, I wouldn't be surprised if he has considered this new concept. The only downside is that you and your candidate might wind up dead. I can't think of a better scenario designed to infuriate the entire political establishment. The beauty of this picture - it's very difficult to question the bankroller's motivation. They are pursuing this course "for the good the country." I can't imagine a situation more appealing to someone like Trump. All of a sudden, he's the most sought after interview on the planet and his underlying inspiration is noble.
I'm throwing this out there because the 2008 election is wide open. And I've got to believe that all this unbridled individual capitalism eventually has to play an even greater role in determining our leaders (instead of it always being the corporate sector). There's balance out there in all aspects of government, including capitalism and democracy.
Regardless, of this potential scenario shaking things up, I do there will be a few more independent candidates who launch campaigns after the primary season. There's a a gap forming for a universally liked, centrist candidate. All they need is a couple hundred million. The main difference between the 2008 election and other recent elections is that this one presents a credible opportunity. Just something to think about....
By the way, if one or a few other "power" candidates jump in, I think it guarantees a Hillary victory. Her base isn't going anywhere. She could win with a diluted vote - a lot like her husband in 1992 when Ross Perot siphoned off the Bush Sr. vote.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Scooter Libby Trial

Yeah, I realize this blog is supposed to be about restaurant & concert revies and sometimes anti-religious tirades but I thought I'd weigh in on something a little more serious. After seeing the Libby trial come to a close, it made me reflect on the war in Iraq and how we got there. I think everyone can agree (regardless of political affiliation) that Scooter Libby was the "fall guy" for Cheney and Rove. Basically, someone had to be held accountable for the outing of Valerie Plame and the Joe Wilson smear campaign. It ended up being him. I can't envision a scenario where Bush doesn't pardon him at the end of his term. I truly doubt he'll do 20 years in a medium security prison. However, it'll bve a while before all that plays out.
But anyway, here's my thoughts on Iraq. You always see the press get caught up in the minor details and avoid the larger, more "surreal" issues. Most people realize that Cheney and his buddies (not Bush) were eager to get rid of Saddam and alter the landscape of the Middle East. I think post 9/11, Cheney was thinking to himself - "We've got to do more than Afghanistan. It's simply not enough. We need to send a statement to the world that if you're a rogue dictator who gets in bed with a terrorist organization, then your days are numbered." Strangely enough, I tend to agree with this underlying message. Afghanistan was simply "not enough." And let's face it, we couldn't go to war with Iran or North Korea at that moment. You've got to pick your enemies carefully - ones you can crush. Something more needed to happen. I just didn't agree with the necessity of invading and occupying Iraq (from the beginning). What's really weird is how Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle got together and convinced a naive president that we were going to liberate the Middle East. These guys fed Bush the "spreading Democracy" routine. We will be greeted as liberators, not occupiers. Oil revenue will pay for the war. Saddam has got go. Bush ate this stuff for breakfast. All his early speeches were about liberating the oppressed Iraqis. Iraq will be a shining example of freedom and inspire reform throughout the Middle East. Why have people forgotten this stuff?
What's really sad is that our President has always believed this stuff. He really believed that if we conquered Iraq, there would be a domino effect and Syria, the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia and all the others would magically transform. My question is... I understand the Cheney rationale that "something more than Afghanistan needed to happen," but how could we elect a President who, til this day, does not realize what is going on. And I assure you, he still doesn't know. That's what is truly scary. I know all this stuff gets touched on in the media and they often mention how Cheney runs the White House, but I think the press would be well-advised to look into the HUGE DISCONNECT between the president and the v.p. I think what's really sinister is that Cheney has convinced Bush Jr. that he's the one calling the shots. Bush really thinks that he's the one defining global policy. Trust me, Bush doesn't know this is happening. And it's still happening.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Five of us went to see DSO last night in beautiful Millvale, PA. A slightly amusing anecdote - I was at this Superbowl party in Bridgeport the day before and ran into this one dude who looked familiar but I just couldn't place him. Anyway, we're talking about the lull in activities that comes to the area following the Superbowl. Think about it; it's freezing cold, no football games, no outdoor festivities, etc. Then I mentioned that we were going to a concert the next day. He inquired who and where. I told him it was one of those hippie bands (incidentally, I think DSO is far superior to the Grateful Dead, but that's another story entirely) in Millvale. He asked, "Where's that?" and I explained it was about 5 minutes North outside downtown Pittbsurgh. Then I said, "It's a really shitty area. You know, kind of like a Pittsburgh version of McMechon. He looked at me blankly and said, "I'm from McMechon." Then we spoke further and he mentioned he was a Bishop Donahue graduate. I asked him if he ever had Leigh Cliser teach him English and he said, "Oh yeah, Mrs. Cliser was my English teacher. Wait a minute, is that how I know you?" I responded, "Yeah, we dated all through the mid 90's. I think I helped "chaperone" one of your high school dances. In retrospect, she was one of the chaperones and I'm pretty sure I stopped by for a few minutes in a mildly drunken state.
Anyway, the show was decent. Here's the setlist as I remember it...

Greatest Story, TLEO, Me & My Uncle>Mexicali, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Never Trust a Woman, Lazy Lightning>Suppilication Jam, some song I've never heard before but everyone else erupted (must have been some old Dead tune from a studio release), Cassidy

2nd set - Touch of Grey, Women are Smarter, Crazy Fingers, Sugar Magnolia, an absolute killer drums/space > Gimme Some Lovin > Black Peter > Miracle > Liberty (I really like that song) > SSDD. Encore - Might Quinn. Filler - some song I've never heard before, maybe one of their own. Sounded a little like that "Up on Cripple Creek" tune.

All in all, I liked the show. They had the Donna woman impersonater on stage so I thought it would be a 70's show which I generally don't care for. Then, it became apparent it was an original setlist. For the most part, I liked the selection and the musicianship is always fantastic. Like I've always maintained - these guys are much better than the Dead. What really was unimpressive was the men's bathroom. One restroom to accomodate about 900 people. Let's see, 2 urinals (one overflowing with piss and cigarette butts) and 1 toilet with a curtain barrier. Did I mention the sink was filled with vomit? Looked like the remains of low-end pizza, perhaps Little Cesears. When I exited the bathroom I slipped and almost fell. Fortunately the urine on the floor must have been a little sticky - probably due to the dark, heady beer drunk by most of the hippies in attendance.

The place was packed solid. Cold as hell until the deranged melange of mother and father shabooboos warmed the place up. The weather outside was about -3. The positive benefit is that the greater the layers of clothing tend to allay the stench of the mongrol hoard. We bolted home and stopped for Wendy's in my fake hometown of Canonsburg. Everyone deserves props for ordering correctly. No idiots from the backseat barking out random orders, words like "yummy"- "Mc anything"- "extra, extra, extra onions," etc. No condiment mishaps. Just a solid effort from everyone during the whole drive-thru process. I was even more concerned because we pulled up at 12:52am and they closed at 1am. That's generally a recipe for disaster but it all worked out ok.

Here are the final rankings:
The concert - 8.1
Our team of five (me, Rox, Heather, G Max, Ben S.) - 8
Late night drive thru - 8.3
Music selction on the way up and back got mixed reviews. A 311 bootleg - Ben and I liked it, Stollar couldn't hack it. Some brief Dead. On the way back, more 311 and it finally descended into "radio thug" music. All in all - 7.3
The restrooms at Mr. Smalls Funhouse - 1.1
The weather outside - 1 (and I do mean ONE).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Later (Gators)

I'm still not sure whether this place is called Laters or Later Gators. This restaurant opened over the summer down in Center Wheeling. It's located next to Saseen's which I've always considered kind of a grease pit a la Mel's Diner. Laters is the EXACT opposite. They serve mostly soup, sandwiches and crepes. Yeah, you heard me, crepes. For those diehard Wheeling residents, a crepe is a thin version of a pancake. You're probably thinking, "Wow Saf, thanks for the culinary lesson." Harsh Reality Ohio County Alert - I think 15% of the customers probably make this inquiry.
The place is open til 9pm. I'm not sure I'd go there for dinner but it's perfectly suited for lunch. The sandwiches are definitely above par - great reuben. The owner seems to have a lsight obsession with avocados which is cool with me. I like avocados although I hate it when people use the word "guack" instead of guacamole. I hope the recent devestation of the California citrus crop doesn't alter any tactical menu decsions. The crepes are outstanding as well; however, they're a tiny bit pricey (by Wheeling standards). But then again, every time you raise the price of a beer by a quarter or a Chinese buffet by a buck, there is an outcry in this town. Elderly women get so incensed, they send letters to the editor, spread hostile rumors at church bingo and basically do everything in their power to launch a counter-insurgence.
Anything you order seems to be accompanied by a garnish consisting of 6 strands of non-iceberg lettuce and 3 mandarin oranges. It's a nice touch, but occasionally the juice from the oranges tries to infiltrate the sandwich or crepe.
This place is fantastic. Great food, great service and a very pleasant atmosphere. The ambience is terrific and I'm not one who's consumed with the decorative nature of the universe. . You're magically transported to a major city for a brief moment in time. Regrettably, at some point, you must exit the building and you're back on Chapline St. Then, reality sets in when you see an old lady with severe osteoperosis wheeling a rusty shopping cart filled with low-end powder detergent. Then, you accidentally overhear an "afternoon hooker" who laments, "I'm tired of prostitutin my body." At this point, you calmly remove the $1.00 ticket from your windshield because you neglected to put a dime in the meter. I suggest you hit I-470. Downtown Wheeling will be fucked for the next year as they fix the I-70 tunnels. Yeah, I know they said it would only take 3 months. Yeah, Right!
By the way, the crepes all have creative names. One time I ordered The Crepes of Wrath and the waitress said, "Oooh yeah, you're getting the Wrath. Good choice!" This was the best thing that happened to me in 2006.