Monday, August 16, 2010

What Is This Thing You Call Sleep?

So on Saturday night I went to see the band Rush on their Time Machine tour at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in Las Vegas. I don't own any of their music, but I know they are very talented, and I enjoy some of their songs. I think my biggest problem with the band is Geddy Lee's voice. It just doesn't do it for me. I like a lot of their songs right up until the point when he sings, as the music is terrific. I just have a hard time with his high pitch. Fortunately they have quite an array of instrumental tracks, and they really are accomplished musicians, so I really like those pieces. Rush is the very favorite band of a friend from work, and he wanted me to go with him, his wife and daughter, so that's why I wound up being at this show.

Tickets weren't cheap, but my friend got them thru Rush's fan club, so at least we were seated close to the stage, about 25 rows up off to the right side as you faced the stage. It was nice to be able to watch Lee playing bass & synthesizer, and I was able to get a good view of Neil Peart pounding away furiously on the drums...and the giant video screens helped too...

Now the Rush show was scheduled to begin at 8PM. This being on a Saturday, I had to work that day. I started at 7AM, which is a half-hour earlier than normal, but I had put in a change-of-schedule so that I could only work 8 hours that day. I also did a no-lunch, so I was out at 3PM. The reason for all this was not so much for the Rush show, but for the fact that I would also be attending another concert that evening AFTER the Rush show.

I've been a big fan of the band Primus since around late 1991. Where Rush is a power trio of pretty much straight forward rock music, Primus is a power trio that is quite a bit different. Frontman Les Claypool has made the bass into the dominant instrument in that band, and they have a sound all their own. When people ask me to describe what Primus sounds like, the best answer I can give is, "They sound like Primus." They are incredibly unique, and nothing else sounds like them at all. The only possible similarity I could give you is that Les Claypool has a potentially off-turning vocal style as well...not that he sounds like Lee in any way, it's just that the biggest reason many people find not to like Primus is Claypool's singing. I think it's quirky in a good way, so it doesn't bother me.

Now Primus are huge fans of Rush, and with both bands touring, and both being in Las Vegas the same night, Primus decided they wanted to go see the Rush show. Consequently, they pushed the start time of their own show back to midnight. This being a Saturday, that's fine for most folks, but with me working for the Post Office, Saturday isn't a day off, so this was gonna be a LONG day.

I got home from work, showered, and a friend who I'd be meeting later at the Primus show later stopped by and dropped off my tickets for Primus. I then made the half-hour journey to my Rush friend's house, and we all headed out to eat. Leaving Pizzeria Enzo at a little after 7PM, we headed over to park near the MGM, and managed to get to our seats at just about 8PM. Part of my daily routine has me exercising for a bit in the morning, so I'd already been awake since 4AM. What with working and now having had a very filling (and good) meal, I took an Excedrin simply for the caffeine. Since I don't drink coffee or soda, a little bit of caffeine goes a long way for me...

At about 8:10PM a short film came on, and Rush hit the stage about 8:20PM. They played for about an hour, took a 15 minute or so intermission, then another short film played, then they played their 1981 album Moving Pictures in it's entirety. Following this up with a few more songs, they then left, returned for a few more encore songs, and left the stage for good...followed by another short film. It was about 11:25PM when we were able to finally start filing out of the Grand Garden Arena, having to head a short distance northeast to get to the Hard Rock Hotel, site of the venue for the Primus show.

Knowing we had a whole nother concert to get thru, we made a quick stop at the bathroom on the way out of the MGM. Once we made it to our vehicles, my friend's wife and daughter parted ways with us, as the older of the two wasn't a Primus fan, and the younger had to work at 8AM the next morning, so she wasn't going to be able to go. My friend (who didn't have to work on Saturday...bastard...) and I made the short drive to the Hard Rock, parked, traipsed thru the casino, and literally set foot inside The Joint just as Primus were about to hit the stage. We made it with all of 15 seconds to spare, and as this is a general admission, standing only venue, spent most of the first song looking for a good space to make our vantage point for the evening. We wound up about halfway back, situated just to the left of the soundboard, with a good sightline. Neither of this evening's concerts had an opening act, they were both "An Evening With..." shows, so there were no boring bands to sit thru...but it also meant a tight schedule, which actually worked out really well.

My Rush friend had never seen, or I believe even heard, Primus before, but since the tickets were VERY reasonably priced (t-shirts at the Rush show cost more than the tickets for Primus), and he used to play bass years ago, he was interested enough to want to go to this too. He came out of the evening very impressed, having really enjoyed the show, which I was very happy about. And it was a terrific show, what with Primus playing a nice healty mix from probably all of their albums. They even played a few songs I didn't know, which must have been from their more recent efforts. They were still excellent offerings, and I may have to go search them out. They only took maybe a 2 minute break a little over an hour into the set, and finally left the stage for good just before 2AM. In case you're wondering, I had taken another Excedrin on the short drive over to see Primus...

I met up with my friend who had dropped off the Primus tickets many hours earlier (we had been texting each other prior to and during the Primus show), so we got to talk for a bit while we checked out the merchandise table, and each of us wound up buying a shirt. I haven't bought a shirt at a show for years, simply because they just charge too damn much money, but since these were reasonably (enough) priced, I figured what the hell. There was a nice blue one with a couple astronauts floating in space on it, and what with 2 giant (maybe 12 feet high each) inflatable astronauts having been on stage thru the set, having moving images flashed on their helmet visors all evening, it made for a nice choice.

By the time we finished getting shirts and walking back to our respective vehicles, it was about 2:20AM. I now drove my buddy home, and by the time I finished the trek back to my house, it was 3:15AM. I was still a little wired from the evening's events, so it wasn't until 4AM, a full 24 hours after this day had started, that I got into bed. I think I made it as far as 4:01...

Blog Post Soundtrack; Deftones, Prong, White Zombie, Pearl Jam, Parannoyd, White Stripes (live), Doors (live), Refused, The Centurians, John Lee Hooker, S.O.D. (live), Eagles Of Death Metal, Clutch, Anthrax, Corrosion Of Conformity

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