Summerfest: Day One (Tom Petty/Pearl Jam, 6/29)

My wife (Amy) and I weren’t planning to return to my hometown of Milwaukee for this year’s Summerfest, but the lineup – which includes Pearl Jam/Tom Petty, Kings of Leon and Wilco – was just too good to pass up. The ten-day event, which was founded in 1968, now draws more than 900,000 visitors, making it one of the largest music festivals in the world.

The day began as it usually does, by catching a Wisconsin Coach Lines bus down to the fairgrounds. The fare is $7 roundtrip, which is a pretty nice deal, since you don’t have to worry about fighting traffic or parking. Unfortunately, our 5:35 PM bus didn’t arrive until 6:00 PM and, at that point, there was more people at the park and ride than could fit on the bus, creating a situation where boisterous high school/college-age kids pushed and shoved their way onto the bus. We discovered that there was a three-hour power outage at Summerfest that afternoon, and that they were working to restore the power, which might have been the reason for the delay.

Next thing I know, we’re on the bus, sitting next to one of the aforementioned high school/college-age kids who decides to dip (slang for sucking on chewing tobacco) without a spit cup. He simply spit onto the floor of the bus. The girls around him told him how disgusting it was, so I just tried to pretend that it wasn’t happening, telling Amy, “This is our last Summerfest for a while.” It was our three-year anniversary, and I didn’t exactly want to spend it watching tobacco spit dropping to the floor. Blink-182 was right: nobody likes you when you’re 23. Or 22…or 21. Really, all the way down to 17.

I heard a guy behind me say, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you can name the #1 pick from the draft last night.” I let his friend think about it for a while and then I said, “Andrea Bargnani.” I glanced back at him and he gave me a smirk for ruining his game. Later I heard him say to his friend, who was trying to get the $100, “I asked you, not him.”

Getting off that bus was a great feeling, not unlike how immigrants must have felt when they arrived Ellis Island. (Different circumstances, of course – but the same feeling, nonetheless.) By the time we arrived, the power was back on.

Our plan this evening was to catch the Pearl Jam/Tom Petty show at the Marcus Amphitheater. I’m a member of the Tom Petty fan club, so I was able to secure third row seats to the show. I’ll submit a proper review later, but suffice to say, the show was great. It was very cool to see two bands of this magnitude on the same stage.

Amy had a couple of interesting conversations in her travels to the beer line and to the bathroom. While waiting for a brew, a young(er) girl asked her if she had ever seen Pearl Jam before. The conversation continued like this:

Amy: Yeah, I saw them in ’94 in Indiana.
Girl: Is that an amphitheater?
Amy: No, I saw them in 1994.
Girl: Oh!

Granted, Amy looks younger than she is, but the girl was obviously surprised that she was attending a PJ concert twelve years ago, when the girl was probably still in grade school, waiting for her boobs to come in.

And, of course, there is always drama in the women’s bathroom. Amy was in the “Women In” line and there was another line coming in from the “Women Out” door and one of the women (late 30s/early 40s) started giving Amy crap about standing in the wrong line:

Amy: We’re in the right line.
Woman: Oh, really?
Amy: You’re in wrong line. You’re in the “Women Out” line.
Woman: Thanks, I can read. I’m illiterate. (indistinguishable pissiness to the girl behind her)

The people around us up front were great until the final third of the Petty show. During an intimate, acoustic rendition of “Learning to Fly,” a guy behind us was yelling loudly on his cell phone. Then he hung up and continued to speak loudly to his buddy, who seemed more reserved than his drunk friend. Both guys were old enough to know better. I hesitated to say anything, but I turned around and indicated to the not-as-drunk guy that maybe they could keep it down a little. He was very cool about it and nodded, saying something to his friend about keeping his voice down. This, of course, didn’t go over well, and I could see the drunk friend making gestures at me behind my back. I let it go until he started pouring beer behind our seats so that some of it would splash onto our feet. I turned around again and gave him a “I-dare you-to-f*ck-with-me-one-more-time” look and his friend took his beer away from him and they switched places. He spent the rest of the night on his cell phone, but wasn’t as loud as he was before. Unfortunately, for the remainder of the concert, I was worrying about what this a-hole was going to do next, and I didn’t have as good of a time as I should have. Thanks a lot, a-hole!

Getting out of Summerfest is always a challenge. For some unknown, inexplicable reason, Wisconsin Coach Lines doesn’t load multiple buses at once, so everyone has to wait – buses and customers – while each bus is loaded individually. It was a 45-minute wait to get on the bus, when it wouldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes if it were set up correctly. This is very frustrating for a guy who used to be an industrial engineer, an industry that specializes in efficiency. Once in my seat, I breathed a sigh of relief. Day one is done!

Frankly, I blame Aerosmith.

Not to make light of a serious situation…no, really…but a 12-year-old boy has died in Lake Buena Vista Florida as a result of riding the Disney attraction, the Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster. What’s oddly but seemingly carefully left out of the article – at least, as of this writing, it’s not mentioned – is that the FULL name of the ride is “The Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith.”

Granted, the ‘Smith have about as much responsibility for this poor kid’s death as Ozzy did for the suicides of the kids who killed themselves after listening to his music…but, then, Ozzy still got hauled into court. I wonder if someone was afraid they’d get sued if they even brought Aerosmith into the discussion…

Ms. Spears, I have seen Demi Moore…

…and you, my friend, are no Demi Moore.

Still, thanks for trying.

It’s official: the second season of “Rock Star” will suck.

Okay, maybe it won’t the suckiest piece of suck that ever sucked, but this story leads me to suspect otherwise.

Instead of finding a band whose lead singer has died or even left the building with no intentions of returning, the big brains at CBS have created a band. It consists of…

Tommy Lee (Motley Crue) on drums.
Jason Newsted (Metallica) on bass.
Gilby Clarke (Guns ‘N’ Roses) on guitar.

I’m not saying that this trio of metal legends don’t rock hard individually. They might even rock hard individually. But this can only lead to the contestants vying to win the honor of fronting the band – called Supernova, by the way – performing really, really shitty covers of hard rock songs…and I just don’t have the stomach for that.

Unfortunately, I have this horrible feeling that middle America does…and that’s the unkindest cut of all.

Now we know why Bono is so pompous

Because he’s gay! Well, he and the rest of U2 are gay in the horrid slash comic In My Youth. Thrill to the boys of U2 loving each other through the eyes of some female fans who draw some pretty shitty art. Per the FAQ,

“In My Youth is a slash comic intended to portray (in a funny manner) the early days of the rock group U2. The general pairing is Bono/Edge, Adam/Larry, although there will sometimes be exceptions to this.”

How about Bono with himself? Oh wait, we already have that in reality.

The search for Satanic RAWK ends here!

Finally! I hope you all didn’t think I had forgotten my quest to dig into some Satanic rock. It’s been a long search for the best shit in this category, having been sidetracked by too many Jesus-lovin’ freaks who are scared of anything that doesn’t rawk for the Lord. Now mind you, I didn’t actually waste my time listening to any of these shitty bands’ music, but I would like to present to you via Ruthless Reviews, The Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time and its follow up, The Other Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time.

I know, one look at any of these dudes and you’re asking yourself, “Why would anyone want to listen to any of the shit these guys are creating?” You got me. I’m sure these pics are more entertaining than any of the music, so suffice it to say I can finally put down my satanic hunting tools and go to bed full rested, knowing that I entertained someone out there in Internet land somewhere. Amen.

Boy will be picking up your trash

Boy George has been ordered by a judge to work for the sanitation department. Be sure to run out to him to personally hand over his shitty solo albums and get an autograph as well! No word yet on if Boy will be implementing a PA system on the garbage truck to blast old Culture Club hits so you know he’ll be coming around to pick up your crap.

How can it be wrong when it feels so right?

Is it wrong to punch Kevin Federline repeatedly in the face while wearing metal-studded leather gloves? We think not.

Is it wrong to continue punching him until the flesh falls from his face, revealing the bare, empty skull beneath? Again, we think not.

Is it wrong to punch his visibly pregnant, baby-clutching wife Britney Spears every time she steps in front of Kevin to protect him, or to purposely punch her baby so that she will drop the child and thereby leave Kevin more vulnerable? Surely, this cannot be wrong.

At least, we don’t think so. And neither do the makers of this videogame.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce unleashes new round of strife

Matt Damon is in; Ben Affleck’s still out. Tim McGraw will appear, but his lovely wife hasn’t made the grade. Always ripe for debate, next year’s list of new stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a doozy.

Okay, Michael Caine and Michelle Pfeiffer have clearly earned their stripes…but Erik Estrada? Barbara Walters, yes; Robert Altman, fine…LeAnn Rimes?! What the hell?!

And then there’s the whole issue of Puff Doofus. Never mind that the Walk of Fame is presumably designed to recognize creative contributions to the arts…and electronically sampling the creative musical contributions of others hardly seems to qualify…what name is Puff Dingle going to put on the star? Do they make stars big enough to hold all his nicknames?

Actually, what we think is going to happen is that they’ll address the invitation to “Puff Daddy,” but that’ll be scratched out and then replaced with “P Diddy,” and then that’ll get scribbled out and replaced with something illegible…so as far as we know, Prince is going to show up at the ceremony instead…which, frankly, will be a vast improvement.

Tom Petty: “Saving Grace”

By now, most people fall into one of three categories when it comes to Tom Petty’s music: 1) they like it 2) they hate it or 3) they’ve never heard it. Enter the first track, “Saving Grace,” from his forthcoming CD, Highway Companion. It’s carried by a bluesy guitar riff and Petty’s understated vocals. It sounds like it would be the first song Tom would play if he did a surprise gig at your favorite saloon.

Listen to the entire song here.

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