Monday, December 10, 2007

John Mellencamp Live Albany NY 12.08.07 - Authority Song

John Mellencamp performing his hit "Authority Song" live at Albany, NY's Times Union Center on December 8, 2007. This was his encore.

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John Mellencamp Live Albany NY 12.08.07 - Crumblin' Down

John Mellencamp performing his hit "Crumblin' Down" live at Albany, NY's Times Union Center on December 8, 2007.

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John Mellencamp Live Albany NY 12.08.07 - Check It Out

John Mellencamp performing his hit "Check It Out" live at Albany, NY's Times Union Center on December 8, 2007.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Shaw Blades

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Well this was a weekend I was looking forward to for a while. With the Shaw-Blades concert Friday night and the Q103 Viva Van Vegas contest on Saturday night it had all the makings of it being a good one. And when I found out for sure earlier this week that my friend Dina would definitely be coming up to go to the concert with me, I was really pumped. Dina's one of about twelve people on this planet I would actually die for and almost all the rest of that dozen are family members.

She made the 4 hour trek up here on Friday and brought her 12 year old daughter along with her. Original plans were to have my 2 daughters here as well with my oldest (16 year old) doing the babysitting of my friend's daughter and my other 11 year old daughter. Well, my oldest bailed on me because she's in a new play and had rehearsal that night. So the two girls were going to go up to my parents' house and we would either pick them up after the concert or they would spend the night there. That plan got nixed as well. I was planning on bringing them up to my parents then taking Dina out to Olive Garden for dinner before the show. But the girls insisted they would be OK alone and Dina thought they would be fine as well. So we ordered a couple pizzas, ate here and then left for the show. Dina's daughter seemed a little apprehensive to me when we left and I mentioned that to Dina in the car, but Dina said that wasn't the case...that Abbey had something else on her mind that might have been bothering her. That eased my mind somewhat.

Northern Lights in Clifton Park, NY is where the show was. It's about an hour from my house. I had told Dina this. Turns out Dina thought I was exaggerating some. She said that when people on Long Island say it takes an hour to get somewhere it usually means 10 minutes. lol. Anyway, we get there a little after 7:30, go to the will call window where my name was a-waiting and in we go. My buddy Scottie B. was there and we hung out with him through the opening act (The Velmas) who did a really good job. They're one of those local bands that you pretty much can't go wrong with every time you see them like The Clay People and Ten Year Vamp....but this is the first time I've seen them do an acoustic set and it was really impressive.

But when it was time for Shaw/Blades we made our way up closer to the stage. It's Dina's goal in life to meet Tommy Shaw. She loves the guy's music (don't we all?) and has come close to meeting him a couple of times but for some reason, it just eludes her. This night would prove to be no different in that regard. I've always been a fan of Styx, the band where Shaw gained his fame, but when I was a senior in high school, Night Ranger became my favorite band and remained my favorite band for many years. Jack Blades was the bassist and shared lead vocal duties in that band. Years later, Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw would be together in a band called Damn Yankees. Maybe you've heard of them. Some guy named Ted Nugent was in that band too. Their show was nothing short of awesome. After the show was over, Dina went and bought herself a tour t-shirt and we walked out of the club around 11:45....

The show went much later than we anticipated....

As I said, Dina's lifelong goal is to meet Tommy Shaw. I had tried emailing various people associated with the tour to try and get backstage passes so she could do just that but to no avail. We decide to walk around the back of the club to where the tour bus would be parked to see if we can still make this meeting happen...

There is no cell phone service inside the club. They just don't work inside the building for some reason....

We're outside starting to walk around the club when both of our cell phones go off indicating we have voice mails. Dina's is from her daughter. Mine is from my mother. Abbey and Erica (my daughter) were nervous wrecks. It had gotten very windy that night and the wind was causing a strange vibration at the front door. This vibration was creeping the girls out. Erica had called my mother. Everybody was nervous that something may have happened to Dina and me because they couldn't get hold of us. So Dina is talking to Abbey and I call my mother back who is explaining to me what happened. We get around the back of the club and are approaching the tour bus when Dina indicates to me to turn around. Abbey is a wreck so we just get back to the car and drive home. Dina keeps Abbey on the phone the whole time we're driving back to try and keep her mind at ease. We get back to my house around 1:00 AM....

Which is where Dina pisses me off. I love this woman to death...I truly do...but every time we get together, which is rare, she has to do something to piss me off lol. I wanted her to take my bed while I took the couch. She and Abbey could have slept in there together...but no...she ends up crashing on one of my couches while Abbey sleeps on the other. She just refused to take a bed and I was somewhat aggravated over that. I don't want my guests to be uncomfortable....especially ones I care a great deal about. I know damn well she didn't sleep well despite her telling me she did. They left here a little before 11:00 AM Saturday morning. I always hate saying goodbye to her whenever we get together just because there's no knowing how long it will be before we see each other again.

Saturday night found me at Graney's in Albany trying to win a trip to Vegas to see Van Halen on Dec. 30 and spend New Year's Eve there. With a whole radio station staff rooting for me to win....hell, let's face it, the whole damn country was rooting for me to win...I was a shoo-in. OK, I exaggerate some. There was one guy at the radio station who was rooting for a hot chick but I'm pretty sure he just wanted to get in her pants.

This was a last man standing contest...last name drawn among those who qualified would win the trip. A person I befriended from a couple of past Q103 events had also qualified. Her name is Nancy. We were having fun hanging out together and joking around about who was going to win. First name drawn was a woman named Nancy. Second name drawn was a Dave. Different last names though and we laughed about it. In the fourth or fifth round of names being drawn, Nancy's was the fourth name drawn out of five. I immediately said to her, "That means I'm next." I was. That was just plain weird. And so, neither of us won. I was hoping she would win if I didn't, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be. After that, she and the friend she was there with left. I had one more club soda (yeah, I'm wild like that) and headed downtown to where my buddy Jeff Mrozek, who's the afternoon jock on the station, was playing at the Skyline with his band "Mrozek and the Dirty Girls". Stayed for a couple of sets and dragged my tired ass home.

Waiting for pictures from Dina from the Shaw/Blades show as once again, big bad security dude tells me I have to put my camera-that-looks-better-than-it-actually-is away after I snapped only a couple of pictures. Ironically, Dina's camera probably takes better pics than mine does but because it's smaller, it's ok. When are these fucktards gonna learn? When I get them, I'll post some.