Jay Z and Justin Timberlake (Boys of Summer Tour) – Yankee Stadium, July 19, 2013

On paper, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake are kind of an odd pairing; one is a former drug dealer and the other is a former mouseketeer.  Timberlake soared to fame as the member of a boy band while Jay Z became a rap icon by talking about his life on the street. Timberlake can be extremely goofy and funny; Jay Z isn’t necessarily known for his sense of humor. However, it is their differences that make their collaboration so interesting. Timberlake seems to loosen Jay Z up a bit and make him a little less serious while Hova gives JT some street cred and gravitas. Though in theory their partnership might not be obvious, in practice you wind up wondering why they didn’t collaborate sooner.

When the Boys of Summer 12 city stadium tour was announced, I prayed that one of the stops would be at Yankee Stadium, the one venue where I have a little pull in getting tickets. My fear was that they would make their NYC stop at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, since Jay Z has a relationship with the stadium from his days as a partial owner of the Nets. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the tour rolled into the Bronx for a two night stay. I scored tickets for three of my friends and patiently waited for the day of the show to arrive. To say that I was ridiculously excited would be an understatement would be underselling it. Though I had seen Jay Z perform before (back in 2003 with 50 Cent on the Rock the Mic tour), I had never seen Timberlake and anticipated a very fun evening.

I absolutely was not disappointed. If anything, the duo totally exceeded my expectations. That is the most fun that I’ve had at a concert in a very long time.

That is not to say that there weren’t a few hiccups in the evening. Our original plans for getting to the concert were literally derailed by a train derailment in the Bronx. Thankfully no one was hurt, by the ever so convenient Metro North train that we were planning to be on was no longer able to go to Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately we didn’t find that out until we got to the train station in Poughkeepsie. We could still take the train, but would have to get off in Yonkers, take a shuttle bus and then take a subway to the stadium. While that might have been workable, there were too many uncertainties and we were concerned about delays. With more notice we could have possibly figured it all out, but to be safe I piled everyone in my car and made the unexpected drive to the Stadium, hoping not to hit traffic and to get to the stadium before the show starts. My inner control freak was challenged by this sudden change in plans; I hate to be late to anything and my anxiety for the entire drive was high. I didn’t fully relax until we were in our seats. This girl does not like change or having to adjust on the fly. Thankfully we made it there with plenty of time as the show didn’t start until well after the official start time and traffic was fairly minimal. I also was lucky to be with good friends who know me well enough to know I was stressed out and did what they could to calm me down and make me laugh.

The weather also proved to be a challenge; the Northeast has been in the grips of a crazy heat wave and Friday may have been the hottest day of them all. The Weather Channel predicted that with the humidity that it would feel like 104 degrees in the Stadium and they weren’t wrong. Stepping out of my air conditioned car was like stepping into a sauna. I was dripping with sweat before the show even started; even when the sun went down it was still ridiculously uncomfortable. At one point late in the show someone threw a beer and I was only upset that more of it didn’t hit me. That was the coolest I felt all evening.

But even the stress of the unexpected round trip to NYC and the oppressive heat couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm. Once the show started, that was all I cared about. Jay Z and Timberlake put on a hell of a show and have such a deep catalogue of hits that it was one awesome song after another. We danced through almost the entire concert; it didn’t matter that the air felt like soup and we were drenched in perspiration. It was like we had an innate need to get up and boogie.

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The show started with Jay Z and Timberlake on stage together; they opened with their song “Holy Grail” and then the two of them traded off doing each other’s songs. They have so many great hits that they didn’t even do full versions of many of the songs – they could basically “throw away” “Rock Your Body and “I Just Wanna Love You” early in the show. They had so many other songs to choose from that they could just do a portion of these songs and move on. The songs that they didn’t perform could make up a whole other show. That’s not to say that they didn’t give us our money’s worth; their bench of songs was just so deep that there was no way that they could cover everything. While Jay Z was doing his thing, JT performed backup vocals and played guitar and piano. This somehow surprised me; for whatever reason, I had no idea that Timberlake had any musical talent other than singing. I don’t remember ever seeing him play an instrument before. It’s possible that he wasn’t doing much on guitar, but he was legitimately playing piano. You learn something new every day.

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After a prolonged medley of their songs, each performer got the chance to have the stage to himself. Jay Z went first and did a little bit of everything from his long career. He was intense and energetic, but he also looked like he was having a lot of fun up on stage. I was particularly pumped for “99 Problems” and “Clique.” I had hoped that he would do “Show Me What You Got,” which is my unofficial theme song but I knew that was a longshot going in to the show and wasn’t all that disappointed when it didn’t happen. Jay Z was just as good as I remembered him from 2003 when he easily blew 50 Cent out of the water. It was just a phenomenal set and as excited as I was to see Justin Timberlake, I really didn’t want it to end.

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Then it was JT’s turn and he was just as entertaining. He brought a slightly different energy, but was as fun as I had hoped he would be. I had The 20/20 Experience on repeat on Spotify for a while, so I was more than well versed with his newest album. He also spanned his solo career, which though much shorter than Jay Z’s still contains an impressive number of hits. I’ve been so focused on his new stuff lately that I had forgotten about some of his older stuff; when the opening notes of “Summer Love” started I was delighted to me reminded of a song that I loved but that has slightly fallen off my radar. He sang and danced around the stage, seemingly without breaking much of a sweat. He slowed it down a bit for a ballad and asked everyone to sit down, which was a much needed reprieve. I didn’t realize just how tired I was until I got a moment to rest. It didn’t last long – one song later we were all back on our feet singing along.

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The pair reunited once again for the final part of the show and the hits kept coming. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the evening was the medley of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and “Empire State of Mind.” As a Yankee fan, those songs mean something special to me – Frank’s voice serenades the Stadium after every Yankee win and “Empire State of Mind” was the unofficial theme song of the 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankee team. So hearing those two songs performed live in the Stadium in New York City was a really amazing experience for me…….

……and then Alicia Keys made a surprise appearance to sing the chorus and I about lost my mind.

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I had a feeling that there would be a special guest making an appearance, but I had no idea who it would be. I had originally hoped that perhaps Mrs. Carter (better known as Beyoncé) might drop in for Jay Z’s hometown show, but a look at her concert calendar showed that she would be in Minnesota (I wonder who was watching Blue Ivy while both mommy and daddy were rocking it out). Kanye was a definite no given his previous temper tantrum about “Suit and Tie,” though that would have been interesting. I’m sure he’s ready to get out of the house for a break from baby North and all things Kardashian. An appearance by Keys didn’t really cross my mind, which in hindsight was kind of dumb. But I’m glad I didn’t see it coming because that made her walking out on stage all the more exciting. It made a special moment even more special. I literally got chills, though in fairness that might have been heat exhaustion. I was less excited when Timberland came out for “Sexy Back” mostly because I didn’t recognize who it was and that song is a lot longer and more repetitive than I remembered. No disrespect to Timberland, but since I had no idea what he looked like prior to the show I just didn’t get that worked up about it.

 

The night finally came to an end with a joint performance of “Suit and Tie” and “Young Forever,” the latter song dedicated to Trayvon Martin.

 

Jay Z even donned a suit jacket for this final part of the show, which looked a little funny over what he was wearing. But I tip my hat to his dedication – putting on more layers of clothing was just about the last thing I wanted to do. Despite the heat and my exhaustion I would have been more than content if the show just kept going. Alas, all good things must come to an end it was time for us to begin the pilgrimage back to upstate NY.

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Of course, the excitement for the night wasn’t over – in Poughkeepsie I had a run-in with law enforcement after I made a left hand turn out of the gas station. Apparently they really mean what they post on street signs, even if it is 2:30 in the morning and there isn’t another car in sight for miles (other than a police car apparently). I’d never been pulled over before and it wasn’t until it was happening that I realized I really had no idea what the protocol was for this. I edge on the side of politeness and even asked permission to open the compartment so I could get out my registration, which was probably overly cautious. Whatever I did worked, however – after a warning I was on my way back on the road without a ticket and a story to tell about my experience with the po-po in Po-town. When we got back to my apartment around 3:30, I was all ready to take a cool shower and call it a night, but my friend Kristin’s car mysteriously wouldn’t start, so it was time to get back in the car and drive her home – the unanimous decision was that dealing with this could wait until sunrise. After a roundtrip to Scotia and a quick stop at McDonald’s (I realized that I never had dinner), I was finally in my pajamas at 4 am. I haven’t been out this late since the playoffs last year. I am far too old for this.

It was simply an amazing night; for all the additional complications it was well worth it just to get to experience the joint awesomeness of Justin Timberlake and Jay Z. Since they are performing so few dates together, I felt fortunate that I got the chance to see the together live and that I got to share that with some of my favorite people on the planet (even if one of them was complaining that Justin Timberlake got too much stage time – despite the fact that we have photographic evidence that he was boogieing to JT with the rest of us). If you get the chance to see one of their upcoming shows, you should absolutely jump at the chance. This show doesn’t quite break in to my list of top five concert experiences, but it is dang close. JT and Jay Z have amazing chemistry and play off each other tremendously well. To paraphrase the words of the great Shawn Carter “I got 99 problems, but a bad time at the concert ain’t one.”

Setlist:

Holy Grail

Rock Your Body

I Just Wanna Love U

I Want You Back (Jackson 5 Cover)

Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

Excuse Me Miss

Senorita

On to the Next One

Like I Love You

My Love

Big Pimpin’

Tunnel Vision

Jigga What, Jigga Who

U Don’t Know

99 Problems

Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit

Clique

Public Service Announcement

Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)

Heart of the City

Pusher Love Girl

Summer Love

LoveStoned

Until the End of Time

Cry Me a River

Take Back the Night

Future Sex/LoveSound

Niggas in Paris

What Goes Around….Comes Around

Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Tom Ford

New York, New York/Empire State of Mind

Mirrors

Run This Town

Encore

SexyBack

Suit & Tie

Young Forever

Living in a Material World….

Cross another one off the list.

This weekend I made another trip to Yankee Stadium for a concert. This was my third show at this venue and while the first concert (Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax) was more for someone else and the second show (Roger Waters’ The Wall) was pure curiosity, the third show was all for me.

I was finally going to see Madonna live and in concert.

I have been a fan of Madonna for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, there were two musical superstars that dominated the planet: Michael Jackson and Madonna. Everyone else paled in comparison. The first time I heard a Madonna song, I was instantly smitten. Every time she came out with a new album I snatched it up, even though I didn’t always understand what she was singing about.  I was 10 years old when True Blue came out and I thought that “Papa Don’t Preach” was a song about not wanting to give up your boyfriend, not about teen pregnancy; I interpreted the lyrics “I want to keep my baby” as baby being a term of endearment for the boyfriend, not an actual baby. I don’t think my young brain could wrap itself around that.  Kind of ironic since I wound up going to a high school that was rumored to be the teen pregnancy capital of the state and that had a daycare center. I imagine I was pretty shocked when someone finally filled me in as to what that song was really about. I’m sure my parents weren’t super thrilled that was so enamored with a performer that pushed boundaries and touched on adult subject matter, but if they were concerned about it they never let on. Though I’m guessing they didn’t appreciate Madonna all that much when I wanted to know what a virgin was.

As I got older, I appreciated Madonna’s risk taking and constant reinvention. She embraced all that MTV had to offer; she understood that you could usual a visual component, like a music video, to enhance a song. Even all these years later, I can remember almost every video that she released. She blazed the way for artists like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and of course Lady Gaga. I liked that she was willing to raise questions about sexuality and women; I may not have always agreed with some of her choices, but I always respected her right to make them and her fearlessness. I even forgave her the ridiculous accent that she now uses.

I stuck with Madonna through the early 2000s. She continued to try new things to remain fresh and relevant, but her foray into more dance/electronica just wasn’t my thing. I knew a few of the singles from her later stuff – I liked her song with Justin Timberlake (“4 Minutes”) off her 2008 album Hard Candy – but I no longer knew every track by heart. She released records more sporadically later in her career and as I get older I find it harder and harder to keep up with new music. I tend now to listen to the same stuff I already like over and over. So a new Madonna album just wasn’t on my radar as much. I still loved her older stuff; the one and only time I have done karaoke, I sang “Material Girl.” It was terrible; I am not gifted with musical talent despite my insisting on singing along with the radio.

I’ve always wanted to see Madonna in concert, but it has always seemed too cost prohibitive. Tickets for her shows are notoriously expensive and I don’t think her tour has ever come through my neck of the woods. So I’d have to travel to see her on top of the ticket price. It just never worked out in my favor.

When it was announced that Madonna was going to perform at the halftime show of the Super Bowl last year, I was more excited than I was for either of the teams playing. I thought it was fun and even liked some of the songs off her new album MDNA. I had a sneaking suspicion that the Super Bowl performance was in advance of a tour and I resolved then and there that this was the year I was going to see her. While I enjoyed the halftime show, there were obvious concessions to Madonna growing older. She’s in phenomenal shape, but even she has aged and can’t do the same show she did in her 30s. Her tours have become more and more infrequent, so I didn’t know if this was my last chance to see her for a while. I didn’t care if she couldn’t necessarily dance like she used to; I imagined that half the experience was just the spectacle of the show.

So when the tour that I predicted materialized and she was playing Yankee Stadium, I leaped at the chance to go.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t smooth sailing. I bought tickets for the Thursday night show, which wouldn’t have been my first choice but at the time was the only option; they only added the second show on Saturday night after the Thursday night show sold out. I didn’t want to have to absorb the price of the Thursday night ticket (there were no refunds or exchanges) for the more convenient Saturday show, but that is what ultimately wound up happening. Work got so crazy that I couldn’t in good conscience leave early or come in late in order to go to the concert; there were just too many details for a major event that we are hosting this week that had to be resolved, all of which ended up on my desk. So I had to make the adult and responsible decision to suck it up and buy a ticket for the Saturday show and just take the loss. I wasn’t happy to basically be paying twice the amount of a regular ticket, but it was the right decision. Madonna didn’t take the stage until 10:30 on Thursday night and I would have been an absolute zombie the next day, when I would need an eye for details.

And then Mother Nature decided to really muck things up.

A tornado watch for the Bronx on Saturday night? Are you serious?

I was beginning to think that the powers that be really didn’t want me at this show.

I briefly considered not going. But I was going to be damned if I was going to buy two concert tickets for a show that I never saw. I reasoned if it was really bad that they would cancel the show. And if it was my time to go, Yankee Stadium seemed like a fitting place for me to meet my demise. Other than one scary moment of hydroplaning on the Thruway, the rain wound up being an annoyance, but nothing that would prevent the show from happening. Armed with a rain poncho that my friend T gave me, I was ready (if slightly drenched) for the show to go on.

And what a show it was.

I knew going in that the concert was going to be much heavier on her more recent work than her classics; the tour is to support her new album, so I wasn’t surprised that she’d focus on the material from MDNA. While it’s not my favorite, there are a few songs on MDNA that I do like. Ideally I would have liked more of her older stuff; the concert was probably 70% newer material.

In the end, however, the songs were kind of irrelevant because there was such a spectacle going on. And I honestly mean that in the best possible way. You could not know a single Madonna song and you would have walked out of that show feeling like you had just seen something. It may not have all made a lot of sense, but it was definitely entertaining.

I was expecting the religious imagery and sex to be a part of the show – this is, after all, Madonna – but I was kind of surprised my how dark the show was. Parts of the performance were surprisingly violent. During her performance of the song “Gang Bang,” Madonna fought off masked assailants in a dingy hotel room set; every time she shot one of them, blood would streak across the giant screen at the back of the stage. It reminded me more of something that her ex-husband Guy Ritchie would have come up with in one of his movies. I wasn’t offended, but it seemed a little out of place. But that’s Madonna – just when you think you know what she’s going to do next, she flips the script on you. Even when she performed songs that were popular, she changed it up. Her rendition of “Like A Virgin” was very different than the version that everyone knows. It was more like a dirge. It was unexpected and an unusual choice, but I ultimately liked it. It had a weariness to it that gave the song a different meaning. (Probably goes without saying, but the video is NSFW or appropriate for kids)

It wasn’t all a downer; my favorite performance of the night was “Express Yourself.” For this number, Madonna transformed herself into a drum majorette, baton twirling and all. It was a complete non sequitur, but it was a lot of fun. She got in a little dig at Lady Gaga by seamlessly going from “Express Yourself” into Gaga’s song “Born This Way.” Madonna has accused Gaga of ripping her off and hearing the songs back to back, she has a very good case. They are basically the same song. Take that, Gaga.

Express Yourself – from madonna.com

Throughout the show, there didn’t seem to be many concessions to the rain. Madonna could have easily stayed on the covered portion of the stage for the entire show, but she periodically came out on the catwalk to be closer to the audience. I was impressed; as someone who was sitting in the pouring rain because I had no choice, I wouldn’t have faulted her for wanting to stay sheltered. She veered from the prepared set list to give us a bonus song (“Holiday”) as a thank you for putting up with the weather.

Some other random thoughts:

  • I got a chuckle out how different the crowd was from the normal crowd I see at Yankee Stadium. I’m willing to bet that this is the first time I saw someone in leather chaps at the Stadium. I was actually expecting the attire of the crowd to be more spectacular. I did see a few interesting choices, but most people were covered up with rain ponchos.
  • Speaking of which – no one looks good in a rain poncho. Myself included. They aren’t particularly comfortable either. I felt like leftovers.
  • Apparently they didn’t anticipate that Madonna fans would want to buy Yankee paraphernalia. The Yankee store was completely cleaned out to make room for Madonna merchandise. They missed the obvious A-Rod/Madonna cross promotion.
  • The decision of the woman sitting next to me to “strike a pose” during “Vogue” almost resulted in me getting a black eye. She wasn’t a fan of personal space.
  • Madonna’s son Rocco made an appearance on stage. He’s not a bad dancer for an 11 year old.
  • Much had been made of Madonna being 2.5 hours “late” for her shows. That’s not 100% accurate – while the ticket said 8 pm, most artists have an opening act. Madonna’s just happened to be a DJ. I’m not sure why so many people expected her to start at 8 pm. 10:30 was definitely on the later side, but most headliners don’t immediately take the stage (Springsteen being the exception). If you figure the opener plays 30 – 45 minutes and then time to reconfigure the stage, the earliest anyone should have expected her was 9:30 pm, in my estimation. Didn’t seem to be an issue at the Saturday show – everyone knew she’d be late, so most people just showed up later.
  • Fun fact – Madonna is the first woman to headline a concert at Yankee Stadium.
  • The one thing I did miss at the Thursday night show was her support of President Obama with a back “tattoo.” The show I went to, the “tattoo” said “forgive.”

I’m curious what the President thought of this endorsement

  • One downside of the rain (other than the obvious) was it made it very difficult to take pictures; I didn’t want my cell phone to get ruined in the process, so I used it sparingly.
  • I’m confused as to whether Madonna can actually play the guitar or not – she kept bringing one out, but I don’t actually believe she was playing it (nor do I believe that she was actually singing all the time). But if she can’t actually play, it seemed like a weird choice.
  • It was very cool to be part of something where people were so happy. Maybe they were complaining elsewhere, but from my perch on the lower level people seemed to be having the time of their life at this show. Seeing that much joy was contagious; the people who love Madonna REALLY love Madonna. It was nice to see.

While I ultimately had a good time despite the deluge of rain, I don’t know that it really lived up to my expectation. Even though I knew the focus would be on newer material, I ultimately was disappointed with ratio of old to new. I would have liked more tunes that spanned her extensive catalog. If I were dreaming up my ultimate Madonna experience, this wouldn’t have been it.  I probably should have seen her ten years ago; the likelihood that I would have known more of the songs would have been a lot higher. I have absolutely no regret in going and I’m glad that I finally saw her. But I don’t know that I would need to ever see her again.

Set List

Girl Gone Wild

Revolver

Gang Bang

Papa Don’t Preach

Hung Up

I Don’t Give A

Express Yourself

Give Me All Your Luvin’

Turn Up the Radio

Open Your Heart

Sagara Jo

Holiday

Masterpiece

Vogue

Candy Shop

Human Nature

Like a Virgin

I’m Addicted

I’m a Sinner

Like a Prayer

Celebration

Roger Waters – The Wall (Yankee Stadium, July 7 2012)

Color me impressed.

I’m not a huge Pink Floyd fan. I remember listening to Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall at my date’s house after Homecoming back when I was in high school, but I think that was the only time that I heard either of the albums in their entirety. I know the more popular songs, but have little to no familiarity with the deep cuts; if they don’t play it on the radio, I wouldn’t know it. More recently I saw the movie The Wall, but didn’t get a lot of it. As the only person in the room that wasn’t under the influence, I was annoying everyone with my questions about what we were watching. I was concerned with plotting while everyone else was interested in the “experience.”

So when Roger Waters’ production of The Wall rolled into town, I was kind of indifferent.  I would have been willing to go if anyone had asked me, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to be there. It was the night before the Aerosmith concert and I already had a busy weekend planned, so I figured it wasn’t something that I needed to see. I wouldn’t be missing much.

But then the reactions to the concert started rolling in over Facebook. A large number of my friends and acquaintances had gone to the shows in Albany and in Boston and uniformly all of them were raving about how amazing the show was and how it was one of the best concert experiences they had ever had. And much like with the show Revenge, the fact that so many people with vastly different interests and personalities were unanimous in their praise made me pay attention. I did a little research into the show to get a better idea of what it was all about and what I found intrigued me. Not only was Waters playing the entire double album, but the concert had a complex visual component as well. This was obviously not your average concert. This segment from 60 Minutes was especially helpful in giving me an idea as to what the show was all about (Thanks Mark!).

 

I began to worry that I had missed out on something groundbreaking, so I hopped on Ticketmaster to see if there were any other shows in the area that I could catch. Waters is 67, so who knows how much longer he’ll be touring; if I was going to see the show, the moment was now. Once I saw that the tour was making a two night stop at Yankee Stadium (basically my second home), my mind was made up. I was headed to the Bronx – only six days after I was there for Old Timers’ Day. Even without knowing all the songs by heart, I figured that with so much going on I’d be entertained regardless.

I didn’t plan on being as blown away as I was. This was not a concert; it was an experience.

Even before the show began, the Wall in and of itself is a pretty impressive structure. The thing is just massive.

 

The Wall – pre-show

Once it was dark enough, the show began. And from the first few moments, I was mesmerized. From a purely visual standpoint, this concert is spectacular. It’s going to be hard to going back to just watching a band playing on stage after this.

The Wall is not only a symbol for the evening, but the key set piece as it acts as a screen for images to be projected on throughout the evening that coincided with the message and songs that were being played. I found myself pretty much ignoring Waters throughout the show and focusing all my attention on the Wall; partially out of necessity as I was too far away to see him clearly, but mostly because the Wall was just so compelling. It demanded your attention no matter what it displayed. And what was shown on the facade was constantly changing – one moment it looked like a real wall, covered with graffiti and the next it was simulating an air strike. The most touching moment of the show came early on, when the Wall was covered with photographs of people who have lost their lives to wars – both civilian and military. It was a very powerful visual.

I’d love to say that I understood everything that was going on during the show, but I just didn’t. I understood the broad strokes of the message, but some of it was just beyond me. I think I got was important – to mistrust authority and the government, religion and capitalism as justifications for war and the indoctrination of youth. The show was anti-war generally, not the current war specifically. But there were stretches where I was definitely thinking “what is happening?” as I watched. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all – it all looked really cool even if I didn’t exactly get the symbolism.

While you could have gone just to enjoy the visuals, the music was great too. The man may be in his sixties, but Roger Waters can definitely still rock. I may not have been a huge fan of the songs before the show, but I left with a definite admiration for them and the performance. I particularly enjoyed “Comfortably Numb” and “Young Lust,” the latter of which I didn’t even know was a Pink Floyd song (or the actual title, for that matter). His supporting band was fantastic, which is not surprising as these were not studio musicians. He was backed up by G.E. Smith (former band leader on Saturday Night Live) and Snowy White (Thin Lizzy) among others. The more shows I go to, the more I realize that no one can rock out like the old guys. I may start just going to concerts that feature people over the age of 50 exclusively.

 

Some other thoughts:

  • There was definitely a lot of people partaking in some herbal supplements during the show and I’m really curious how it looked to them. Some of the images were kind of trippy to me and I was stone cold sober; the hardest thing in my system was a lemonade. So I imagine this show was pretty fantastic for the stoners (said with affection, not judgment), based on the reaction of the guy sitting next to me who was smoking up throughout the show. He just kept pumping his fist and yelling “This is awesome!” every once in a while.
  • I did find some irony in Waters criticism of capitalism and corporations while sitting in Yankee Stadium.
  • Speaking of the Yankees, if I had been at a game instead of a concert I would have had amazing seats as I was about 20 rows behind home plate. Of course, the tickets would have cost three times as much if it was a baseball game (and the concert tickets were already not cheap).
  • Waters generally played through without any interruption or patter with the audience. He did stop once to tell the story of one of the faces projected on the Wall – a young man who was killed in London on the tube because he was suspected of being a terrorist (he wasn’t). It was only a few minutes, but I could hear people kind of groaning during it. Hello – you are at a performance of The Wall. The whole thing is a political message. You knew what you were getting into.
  • It was kind of nice to see so many families at a show together. That doesn’t happen very often. If you are considering going with your children, be aware that there is some cussing in the show and there is nudity in the images displayed during “Young Lust.”
  • There is apparently not a lot of overlap between Pink Floyd fans and Yankee fans as there were a LOT of people on the train and in the stadium who were milling around looking confused. I actually wound up helping people get where they needed to be and answering questions, apparently because I looked like I knew what I was doing. That should make me an honorary Yankee employee, right?
  • The flying pig that debuted in the second half of the show landed two sections over from me and the audience promptly commenced in destroying it. I hope that was built into their budget. The poor thing was completely gutted. I wound up watching that spectacle more than the actual show for a little while. Those people were ruthless. And I have no idea why I thought it was so funny, but I was cracking up when the pig ran into the foul pole as it was making its trip around the stadium. Maybe I had a contact high.

Pigs do indeed fly

 

  • I think more rock shows should incorporate giant puppets into their productions. Puppets make everything better.
  • Local kids are brought on stage during every production to sing during “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2).” They did a great job.
  • There are some weird people on the 11:30 pm train to Poughkeepsie. Not weird scary, just weird.

I am absolutely glad that I made the extra effort to see this show and would encourage everyone to check it out if you get the chance, especially if you are a Floyd fan. It was definitely one of the best concert experiences that I’ve had. If they were able to wow me – a non-Floyd fan who was sober – then they should be able to wow anyone. It was simply remarkable.

If you want to check out the concert, but aren’t able to do so in person, someone on YouTube has posted the entire Melbourne show. It’s not the same thing as being there, but it gives you a taste of what it is like.