Wednesday, April 23, 2014

thoughts on Springsteen, 4-23-14, Consol Energy Center

I wondered how Tom Morello, the Rage Against the Machine guitarist, would fit into the E Street equation.  Stevie Van Zandt, Tony Soprano's consigliere, was a no-show this tour.  Silvio Dante's strip club antics are legendary on both stages.  It's hard to find a replacement for the Bing owner.  But Morello was up to the task.  He only "went off" a couple of times.  But this was very consistent with the rest of the band.  Everyone pretty much gets a moment in the spotlight, but never overshadows the Boss.  At first, I thought Morello was a bizarre choice.  But when you see him interact with the band, it seems like he's always been a member. 

Gigi and I saw Springsteen 2 years ago at Consol.  I thought the shows were considerably different.  Same Bruce, but last night had more of a "park dance" feel.  A greater emphasis on newer material with lots of cover songs.  The 2014 show was a little more of a "generic rocker."  You can gauge that vibe from the setlist. 
  1. (The Clash cover) (Tour premiere, w/ Tom Morello on shared vocals)
  2. (Tour Premiere)
  3. (Moon Mullican cover)
  4. (The Havalinas cover)
  5. (The Saints cover)
  6. (Tour Premiere, Sign Request)
  7. (w/ Tom Morello on shared vocals)
  8. Encore:
  9. (solo piano)
  10. (with Joe Grushecky)
  11. (with Joe Grushecky)
  12. (with Joe Grushecky)
  13. Encore 2:
  14. (Suicide cover) (Solo on pump organ)
Truth be told, I preferred the 2012 show.

As expected, it was a total marathon concert.  Highlights for me were Badlands and the extended version of Dancing in the Dark.  But the song of the night had to be The Promised Land.  Seemed like it would never end.  Some fan friendly advice - move Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out out.  Out of the encore segment and into an earlier part of the set.  I don't need to do a song play-by-play.  Anyone who has ever been to a Springsteen show can fill in the rest.

The weather was brisk so we went with the 2014 Corbett Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon.  Best sub $7.00 big bottle, cap twist-off wine in the business.

I easily scored us two freebies.  I made a cardboard sign "HIGH HOPES FOR A FREE TICKET" but it proved totally unnecessary.  Extra tickets were everywhere.  I had a hunch it might be a giveaway.  The arena was crowded but not sold out.  There were some noticeable chunks of empty seats in 2 sections of the upper level.  Buckle Up, Baby --- it's a TUESDAY night in the Burgh.

We snagged some excellent seats behind the stage.  The lowest 2 rows were surprisingly deserted.  It's a cool vantage point because you get a behind the scenes "roadie" look, watching the performers enter and exit the stage.  Unlike other mega-production shows, there's no huge widescreens.  So there are no obstructions.  And the sound is pretty much just as good.  Not as good.  But almost.  Plus you can read all the signs held up by the fans.  We were located 2nd row, 1st level, directly behind the black back-up dancers.  The two women had these infectious smiles every time they turned their heads.  Lots of coordinated hip movement.  And that bobbing afro kept me focused.  I prefer this area even more than the Captain Morgan club overhang.  Unfortunately, the seats are normally roped off.

Usually, I have an amusing story or there's some aberrant twist to the evening.  Last night, not so much.  Just a strong world-class concert.  Oh snap!  I almost forgot.  Gigi found some contraband in a cigarette cellophane wrapper in the women's restroom of the Niagara Club.

Shades of the Igloo!  OMG.

You just don't smell much marijuana at Consol.  Not like the old days of Mellon Arena where you'd smell the pot, urine and cigarette-infused vomit.  The Civic Arena was an olfactory factory.  At Consol, there are just so many cops, ushers, security and staff.  I think it strikes paranoia into the hearts of any would-be doobie snackers.  Although someone near us did light up toward the end of the show.

So what became of this evil half-joint?  You'll be gratified to know that we took it straight to the cops.  We did the right thing.  They escorted us to an undisclosed location, deep in the bowels of Consol.  It was a cold, dark room.  They informed us that the DEA and Dept. of Homeland Security (Pittsburgh Division) had been notified.  Super!  However, the wait-time to file a proper report would likely be a little over 2 hours.

We quietly weighed the pros and cons.  After all, there were some major moral ramifications at stake.  Eventually, we decided to just bail.  But then the cops began to hurl accusations at us.  That's right --- not only possession charges but also conspiracy to commit a potential criminal act of possible inhalation and distribution of a Level 1 felony narcotic.  Ugghhh.  Way to close out the night!  Those assholic, non-kosher pig bastards!

I needed to fight back.  Then, it came to me.  I'll start telling them about the state of Consol Energy Center's dangerously outdated emergency evacuation protocol.  Sure enough, my discussion scared them into complete silence (as it normally does).  Hey... getting educated is some terrifying shit!  Most people prefer to remain ignorant.  One of the detectives even started to shake and tremble.  "I didn't join the force so I could be intimidated by this thug!" he lamented.

When I mentioned the word "stampede" he began to bawl like a baby in need of a diaper change.  Then, I said those 5 magic words "Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation."  What happened next you ask?   His Depends blew out.  So on that excremental note, we decided to call it a night.  What became of the Mary Jane?  We'll never know.  Perhaps it found its way to Mary's Place.


Anonymous said...

That doobie pic looks like it wasn't taken at Consol. I'm gonna have to accuse you of smuggling drugs out of the show. Burn the evidence.

sonofsaf said...

Excellent point! I'm a little concerned that the cops may have implanted a miniature GPS tracking device inside said doobie. An investigation is surely under way.