I so wish this wasn’t a Sunday’s Child. I’m actually quite shocked that Confessions of a Deprived Youth is not on iTunes. I actually thought I would get this post on yesterday especially after I blogged about Dweezil doing his new thing called Zappa plays Zappa on Friday. Argh… Way to throw a monkey wrench into that idea Dweezil.
This has been a happening week for catching some good shows. Provided I can call a rehearsal a show. Last night I was invited out to the Hyundai Glenn Helen Pavilion to see Journey and Def Leppard. So Erin and I hopped in the auto and I drove like a madman to get there by 6:30 which was the designated time to hang with the band pre-show, namely Jeff Soto.
Ever wondered what it’s like to get backstage at a major concert? Well here’s a little bit of a rundown based on a venue like the Hyundai Pavilion. We get there and are told to up to the box office to pick up the passes. Unbeknownst to us, there are two box offices. We get to the box office will-call window close to where we were only to be told – oh if you’re getting passes from the band for will-call you need to go to the other box office. Other box office?!? Yeah it’s on the other side of the venue. Ok, so no big deal. We walk all the way around to the other side. Imagine a huge outdoor venue, so it’s not really a short walk.
We get to the other side to pick up the passes without much of a hitch. I ask the will-call guy where do we go to meet up with the band. He tells me to go to the press area a few yards back and they’ll let us through to get to where we need to go. Alright then. We go to the press entrance… No, you cannot pass through here with that badge, this is for press only. Ok, where do we go? Go all the way to the entrance and they’ll let you through and tell you where to go. Ugh. Ok. We hike all the way back to the original box office see a small gathering of people with similar badges waiting near the front gate away from the massive general audience line to get in.
Erin and I walk up and the venue attendent acting with authority tells us we’re to go all the way to the other side to get in with these badges. Now, I’m starting to get a little pensive. I reply no way, the other side is where we just came from and they told us to come here. She points to the people that had similar badges and said – they’re the only ones approved to come through here, you weren’t here. At this point I’m telling her I’m not leaving and that I’ll wait. Security is having an issue with a drunk man in the front of the general public line, so they pull him aside in front of us and eventually get him to leave.
Another group of people have a similar issue as us, but a young woman comes to get them in and ok’s their entrance. Eventually after being told numerous times by this power-hungry event-staff woman to leave, a man comes down from the gate and sees the group of us with the badges and ok’s all of us to come through. The staff woman’s problem with us now becomes that we weren’t searched prior to entrance. Something she could have done while we were standing there like the sheep she acted like she was herding. After a quick search, we’re let inside and told go into the venue – they’ll tell you where to go.
Now we’re inside walking around and wondering what the fuck. Because I’ve done this a few times before, I made for the side of the arena and saw a gate with a couple of bouncers. I ask them if this is where we’re supposed to go to meet up with the band. One of the two in charge tells us no, you need to go to the other side of the venue. At which point, I’m asking are you sure? He says yes. Then another employee walks up with a headset radio saying the same thing. So we follow the advice and head across the venue with our little troupe to where we’re told to go. At this point its getting past the time Jeff told me to be there. The event staff guy at the next gate tells us no, this isn’t where you’re supposed to go. So now we’re starting to lay into him because everyone is being totally clueless and has zero idea as to what the fuck is going on.
After probably 10 minutes of him telling us to go back to the gate we were just sent to him from, I finally demand that he get someone with authority on a radio to find out for sure before we’re hiking yet again across the venue. Did I say that the Hyundai pavilion is a very large outdoor amphitheater? Runs from his post to ask a headset radio guy who points back to the previous area. The staffer comes back and tells us, you need to go back to that gate – they will let you through. ARGH!
We hoof it back to the previous gate and this time the same guy, that told us the incorrect information, lets us through with no questions. What the fuck?!? Down a little ramp we see a gathering area and find out it’s for something else and yet another security woman is herding us to wait not more than 25 yards from where we can see the band. In fact I can hear Soto laughing and chatting with other people. Despite this and our passes – they won’t let us through and at this point its probably close to 7 p.m. A small gathering of people all for Jeff are now questioning this woman and telling hey – he’s invited us here, there he is and you won’t let us through. Eventually a woman comes up with the previous bunch of people sends them on their way and walks our camp down.
During the short trek to hook up with Jeff, this man is getting the brunt of our frustration and a direct line from me about it, to which he replys hey wait, you can’t blame me, I don’t work for the venue. Point taken, as it turns out he was the road manager. Jeff sees us all and spends time shaking hands, taking pictures with people and hamming it up. Turns out there’s even more people that he was expecting that like us – didn’t get through and he was bummed about it.
From this point, he’s being called away to go warm up for the show and Rebecca comes over. Erin and I say hello and I decide to immediately follow her backstage with Erin to avoid additional issues. We go to another room and sit in what is a makeshift cafeteria. I snag a meal ticket from Rebecca and grab a plate of food for Erin and I. There’s a lot of people milling about, some whom I know like Jeff’s mom, stepdad, wife, son, and another one of his friends. When I come back with the food, I spot Bob Borbonus. I duck into his conversation and say hello and I’m greeted with a warm greeting and a short, let’s catch up in moment.
It’s now 8 p.m. and the show starts in a few minutes so Rebecca gathers the troups and we walk out to the venue from the side of the stage. Unfortunately the tickets for Erin and I were way back near the general grass seating. We find our way to our seats and enjoy the show. Erin was excited to see Jeff up there singing and was commenting about how he brings a big level of energy to the band. Drawing a big comparision based on the two songs that Jeff doesn’t sing during the show. She’s right, it’s night and day different.
The after show thing goes like this… Journey loads their bus 20 minutes after they’re done to get on the road to the next show. Jeff asks us pre-show to come back down to say goodbye, meaning we aren’t watching Def Leppard. Fortunately I saw them in Irvine and Erin wasn’t concerned about seeing them. So we go back to the same gate. The bouncer looks at me and sees in my eyes I’m not taking no for an answer and lets us back through. I think he remembered me and Erin from earlier. We walk back down to the cafe thing and chill for a second. Jeff comes out, everyone is excited and happy, taking pictures etc… Jeff’s mom then tells Jeff to take a picture with me because before the show we were talking about how Jeff and I really don’t have a lot of pictures together. Not a big deal to me – we’ve known each other for years but whatever.
Jeff is still concerned that some people he wanted to see weren’t there and having issues getting backstage. While he’s taking care of finding where they are, I’m chatting to Benny Carey, the guitarist for Lifehouse and previously of Savage Garden. I arrange for him to play a couple of solos on the Christmas CD this coming tuesday. He said sure, gave me his number and said he’d bring out the foot pedals we discussed at dinner a few weeks back. Then in comes Doug Baker, one of the people Jeff was waiting on. After a few minutes, Jeff is wisked away by the tour manager to get on the bus and leave. Doug and I chat for a bit. I hadn’t seen Doug and his wife Robin in years. Jeff and I used to play basketball with Doug. So that was a cool reunion on sorts.
A few minutes later, those that were staying to see Def Leppard went back out to catch the rest of the show and the rest of us left. Erin and I walked back to the car and headed home. There ya have it. That’s all there really is to the hoopla behind the scenes. I suppose it’s probably a little more exciting in person. Oh, I forgot that Bob Borbonus and I didn’t end up catching up too much as I missed him after the Journey portion. Eh, Devin Bronson and I are planning to attempt to get a round of golf in with him in the near future.
None of that really relates directly to Dweezil. However, there is a vibe to the song Return of the Son of…. that seems to capture the nutty-ness of what happened last night. How things that can go right can get tainted. Originally I wanted to run the song Obviously Influenced by the Devil, which is also a Dweezil song, but it didn’t capture the same feeling. The album Confessions of a Deprived Youth is an eclectic mix of music and if you’re not a gung ho Zappa fan, you might have a little trouble digesting some of it. Otherwise, I give it a hearty thumbs up for it’s humor and range.
(** Disclaimer: If Dweezil’s barking pumpkin label decides to sick the devil on me, I’ll whip the audio right off the page and send it to hell. The text will remain. **)