Monday, April 25, 2011

Big 4, Quick and Dirty

Big Four Bulletized

Left G-Vegas at 5 am to get to the airport. 10 minutes into the flight, attendent says we're returning to the airport due to a "problem." 10 minutes after that, apparently they changed their mind and we continued towards Houston.

Got to LAX on time, but couldn't hook up with Al due to being in different terminals. We each took a cab to union station. For $60. "Tactical error," Al would say later.

Took another cab to JoeSpeaker's house. Nobody was home, but beer was in fridge and full bottle of SoCo was on table. Al and I immediately started drinking, listening to metal on my iPod and playing Big Deuce. This was just a tutorial however.

Speaker got home and we went to pick up StB. Since we were all hungry, we went to Hooters where I told them it was my birthday. Mistake. Had to wear a tin foil hat in the shape of an elephant. We also continued to drink.

Got to rented condo - it was outstanding. Drank more. Then at midnight local time, crashed. Missed a call from BG. Dang.

Friday, StB drove Speaker to his golf appointment. He came back with breakfast food. We ate. We drank more beer. We took a nap on a hammock next to girls in bikinis. It was sunny. It was California. Perfectly content.

Picked up Speaker from golf and had more drinks in the clubhouse. Rode dirty. Al took the day off from drinking, had to work, so the 3 of us went to Casino Agua Caliente. They had a poker room with about 10-12 tables. StB played 1/3, Speaker played the $100 donkament and I played 2/5. I drank several RBV's. Won a good amount of money and then spent it. Elsewhere.

Woke up Saturday and planned for the concert. Got a cab to take us there and walked into VIP area. The extra $100/ticket for VIP access was worth about 3 times that. Had food. Had beer. Saw Anthrax walk by. Speaker took a picture of Scott Ian's back.

We were very close to the stage and felt some pity for the huddled masses behind the VIP fence. You couldn't pay me to stand there for 8 hours. I am old.

Anthrax came on. Scott Ian appeared to appreciate every moment. StB won the prop bet when they opened with Caught in a Mosh. Their set highlight for me was Indians. "Mosh part" got the pit going right next to us. Great start.

Megadeth was next. Mustaine was less conversational than Joey Belladonna, appeared more focused on the music. Fine with me. Chris Broderick, their new guitarist, was probably the most talented guitarist among all the bands from a purely musical perspective. He simply crushed Marty Friedman's solos during Hangar 18 with effortless precision. They closed with Holy Wars / Punishment due which was downright amazing.

Slayer was next. I was convinced they'd open with War Ensemble, JoeSpeaker's pick. However, they went with new stuff and launched into War Painted Blood. My jaw dropped at their level of tightness. Jeff Hanneman was replaced by Exodus' Gary Holt and was more than up to the task. Kerry King stole the show for me. He was a machine and simply pounded out each song with a precision and speed that needed to be seen to be believed. Jeff Hanneman was however there, and played the last 2 songs and delivered during the finale, Angel of Death.

Metallica had a lot to live up to. Did they? Maybe. Kirk Hammett seemed sloppy early, especially compared to Kerry King's performance. Hetfield was solid, opening with Creeping Death to earn JoeSpeaker prop bet money. They played a decent selection of songs from most of their albums. Disappointed to hear Fuel and Nothing Else Matters, but what are you going to do. It was however, more than made up for when they did Orion in its entirety. Eight minute instrumentals at a metal concert are rare.

As they did in Europe, they did Am I Evil with musicians from all 4 bands on stage, then closed with Seek and Destroy. We cabbed it back to the condo and made a late night Taco Bell run. I am living with that decision still today.

Overall, the weekend was just about perfect. Al, Speaker and StB - you guys were fantastic to hang out with all weekend. It honestly couldn't have gone better. Well, except for the drive from Indio to LAX on Sunday. I'll call that my tactical error for the weekend. Thanks again to you 3 for everything, I wouldn't change a thing.


Jim The Knife said...

You amaze me in that food is obviously not a high priority for you. U spend tons on tix, drinks, air fare, poker, and eat TACO BELL and HOOTERS ?????? What a downer. :-)

Joe Speaker said...

That's nothing. On Friday, he ate chips and salsa.

That's it.

A pure pleasure, Blood. Thanks for coming out.

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