METALLICA – Hong Kong : January 20th 2017

It was a dream come true in Hong Kong tonight.

So, I am out of town on business, ending a long week and just for grins, I thought I would check one more time to see if there was even a chance of getting a ticket for the Metallica show at the AsiaWorld Expo. I knew they were on their Asia tour and that they were going to be in Hong Kong (apparently, their first time ever playing Hong Kong), but when I tried for tickets over the past several weeks, it had appeared to be sold out, and why wouldn’t be…right? Well, I took a chance and called the venue directly to see if by chance they may had released some obstructed view, or nose-bleed seats but to my amazement, they had some real good seats available and I scored one in the lower bowl, second section from the stage and four rows from the front! It was a miracle!

It was a little dicey with logistics, as I first had to come in from China and with Chinese New Year, traffic at the boarder was horrible, fortunately I did give myself plenty of time. Then I had to find one of the local ticket sales outlet to get a printed copy of my ticket.. this took me about an hour of roaming the back streets of Kowloon, but I finally found it and had my ticket in hand. I then had to decide what time I should get a cab to take me to the venue… with the level of traffic I had been in just a couple hours earlier, I decided I would give myself plenty of time and I left at 5:00 and this took about an hour on a trip that is normally just a half an hour. I got to the venue, which was actually right adjacent to the airport and in hindsight I could have stayed at a hotel at the airport and been much better off. Oh well, next time. The AsiaWorld Expo is absolutely HUGE! Besides the Metallica show, I think there were at least three other major events happening at the same time in other areas of the facility. Strange to see a bunch of metal heads along with conventioneers roaming the same halls.

The doors opened about 7:00 and I quickly found my seat. Metallica came on just about 8:30pm and opened up with one of their new songs.. a very hard song called Hardwired (one of my favorites off their new album). They followed up with Atlas, Rise! and then For Whom the Bell Tolls. I am not sure which song I enjoyed the most, but it was probably a toss up between Sad But True, Fade to Black and Seek & Destroy.. They played a total of 15 songs in their regular set and 3 in their encore, which consisted of Battery, Nothing Else Matters and finally Enter Sandman.

Getting out of the venue and back to the hotel was another adventure fighting a ton of people all trying to do the same thing as me….get out. After standing in the wrong taxi queue for about 30 minutes, I was finally able to locate the “correct” taxi queue which happened to be the most popular of course and proceed to wait another 45+ minutes before taking the hour long ride back to my hotel, but all in all, it wasn’t the worst after concert rush I have experienced and I got back to my hotel safely around 12:15.

By far, this will be one of the most memorable concerts I have ever been to, not only because it was an absolutely phenomenal show, but it was by luck that I was able to make it.

Set List

  • Hardwired
  • Atlas, Rise!
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Creeping Death
  • The Unforgiven
  • Now That We’re Dead
  • Moth Into Flame
  • Wherever I May Roam
  • Confusion
  • Halo on Fire
  • Sad But True
  • One
  • Master of Puppets
  • Fade to Black
  • Seek & Destroy

Encore:

  • Battery
  • Nothing Else Matters
  • Enter Sandman

Guns N’ Roses – Los Angeles CA : August 19th 2016

The Seattle show on August 12th was so good that I had to see Guns N’ Roses again and decided go fly down to LA and see them at Dodger Stadium on Friday August 19th. In Seattle, Alice in Chains opened and last night it was The Cult. I have always liked their music and have never seen them live, so this was an extra bonus to see them along with GNR. They had a very simple stage show, but sounded incredible…as good as I remember from first hearing them in the early 90’s.

Guns N’ Roses came on about 8:20pm and played an incredible 26 song set, finishing up with 4 encores at about 11:30pm. The set was very similar to the Seattle show, however this show had a special guest drummer… Steven Adler (original GNR drummer) who performed on the songs Out Ta Get Me and My Michelle. It was a real treat to see and hear 4 original band members back together.

I stayed through the whole show this time and really glad I did as they played Sorry, Don’t Cry, The Seeker and wrapped up the show with Paradise City which was just an absolutely incredible.

Glad I made the trip down.

Black Sabbath – Tacoma WA : February 6 2016

I am not sure what to say about the Black Sabbath show last night at the Tacoma Dome…. Toni and I were part of the VIP experience which got some some good swag, early entry into the venue, free beer/wine/ snacks and a sound check with some incredible jams by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and drummer Tommy Clufetos. The topper was a great (full) performance of War Pigs with Ozzy coming out and singing during the sound check…this was a real treat as typically during sound checks, the singer does not participate, and to have Ozzy come out and perform to such a small group of fans and Toni and I being just feet from him was an unforgettable experience.

That’s where the fun ended… from then on, when the actual show started, all hell broken loose with the most idiotic, selfish, drunken group of fans (using the word very loosely) that I have even had the displeasure of being in the same room with. I just could not believe the blatant disregard for any sort of self control, personal dignity or care for anyone else but themselves. I realize that this is a metal concert and that there is a certain amount of natural depravity that comes along with that, but this was just over the top. Toni and I stuck it out for as long as we could, but we couldn’t stay for the whole show, leaving about 3/4 way through, right after Iron Man.. too bad to because Ozzy sounded great, and the band, lights and show were incredible.

This was Black Sabbath’s final tour and it’s kind of a bummer to know that we won’t be able to see them perform live again, but what I can say is good riddance to all the loosers who ruin an otherwise great experience.

Judas Priest – Tacoma WA : November 22 2014

What a change from the Fleetwood Mac show in the Tacoma Dome just 2 nights ago. Tonight it was Steel Panther opening up for Judas Priest. The crowd was definitely different. I think the ratio of men to women was about 180:1. There were also quite a collection of personalities at the show…we saw a guy wearing ass-less chaps, a woman with some sort of leather thong outfit that really just covered about 5% of her body….we saw a guy(?) with bright pink hair, no shirt with a brightly colored fur vest and bike shorts and then of course all the large hairy, leather clad men with wallet chains and beards. I am not sure what we enjoyed more, the music or the people.

Steel Panther opened up the show and we weren’t sure what to expect. They actually had a pretty good, solid 80’s hair band sound and defiantly looked the part with spandex, scarves and LOTS of hair. I think the bass player even had a small vanity set up on stage where he would keep checking his make-up and hair to make sure he stayed pretty. Although their music was decent, they had very raunchy lyrics and actually talked just a little too much.we actually weren’t (and still aren’t) sure if they were for real or kind of a stand-up comedy joke band…anyway, they did their job in getting the crowd stirred up and ready for Judas Priest.

Judas Priest with Rob Halford came on just after 9:00pm opening up with Dragonaut followed by Metal Gods. They played a few songs from their new album Redeemer or Souls including the title track and March of the Damned. They tore it up when they played Love Bites and Turbo Lover and of course Breakin’ the Law and one of my all time favorites, Beyond the Realms of Death. It also just would’t be a Priest show without Rob Halford riding out on his Harley Davidson for Hell Bent for Leather.

I have to admit and shamefully so, that we bailed before the encores which would have been great to hear You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Livin’ After Midnight, but with the alcohol intake (not ours) and level of rowdiness in the crowd, we thought it was best to get out while the getting’ was good.

Alice Cooper / Motley Crüe – Auburn WA: July 27 2014

Night two this weekend of a classic rock double header, tonight with Alice Cooper and Motley Crüe at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn.

This was one of the most absolutely incredible, balls to the wall, over the top shows that I have seen in a long time. I think with this being purported as Motley Crüe’s final show, both bands pulled out all the stops and had an energy level not seen on previous tours. Alice Cooper seemed much more dramatic during his psycho theatrics and Motley Crüe’s show had more pyrotechnics (both flames and fireworks) than any other time we had seen them in the past. Tommy Lee’s drum contrivance (the cobra) just went beyond insane with full 360 degree rotations along a rollercoaster rail at 60 feet out above the stage…I mean, who does this!

I was a little concerned about the Alice Cooper show as the way the venue is set-up, the late afternoon sun shines directly onto the stage, and as I recall from the last time I saw his show, the darkness of an enclosed arena really added to the dramatics of the show. But even in the sun, he put on a great show with all the standard sword wielding, snake kissing and head-chopping guillotine shenanigans as ever, but last night with what seemed to be a heightened level of anger (in a good way). His band played incredibly. Having three lead guitarist absolutely gives his band that heavy, melodic structured vide that is so iconic. I was a little bummed that Orianthi was no longer with his band, but she was replaced by an equally powerful female guitarist (Nita Strauss) who jammed out many of the stinging solos last night. The set-list was pretty standard, with Hello Hooray starting off the show followed by No More Mr. Nice Guy and Under My Wheels. They closed out with everyone’s favorite School’s Out…it is amazing to think that since the early seventies, high school seniors all over the world have been cranking out this song and making it a defining memory of a pivotal point in their lives – Keep it up Alice!

What can I say about Motley Crüe other than HOLY CRAP! As I mentioned above, they went way over the top on this show, from the flames and fireworks, the dancing girls, Tommy’s drum kit and volume so loud that our clothing vibrated and teeth shook. This exceeded everything I had ever experienced in any previous Motley Crüe show. The show started about 9:30 with Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s So Long, Farewell playing over the house speakers, then crashing into their opening song Saints of Los Angeles. The show was packed full of their hits spanning their 33 year history and even included some influential covers such as the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the U.K. and Brownsville Station’s Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room. Tommy’s incredible drum solo on the full rotation, rollercoaster drum kit to a downright funky, dance infused rock composition was nothing short of awe inspiring. Mick Mars continues to amaze me on what he can do with a guitar and all of the crazy sounds he can get out of it – simply mesmerizing. Nikki Sixx had a flame throwing bass guitar that shot flames 30 feet into the air, totally shaming every other firework or smoke emitting guitar ever done in the history of pyrotechnic instruments. They closed the show with Home Sweet Home played on a small, stage set up in the center of the theater…throughout the show from the beginning through Nikki Sixx’s detailed spoken history on how the band met and into their final song, they continued to genuinely thank the fans and talked about how important the fans were to their history. I think they will miss playing these live shows as much as their fans will miss seeing them.

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