Saturday, July 05, 2003

First show of the Summer Sanitarium Tour

(Excerpted from a friends' posting on Usenet)

...for those who were interested in the start of the Summer Sanitarium Tour, here's my take:

Sitting in the parking lot at 1:00PM, waiting for the stadium gates to open and watching a tremendous thunderstorm roll in and out in ~1/2 an hour was an awesome start to the day's activities. Winds in excess of 60mph, torrential rains and lightning hitting all around the Silverdome was in a word "cool". Knowing that the first act, Mudvayne wasn't scheduled to hit the stage until 3:00, my son and I waited patiently in ther car as dozens of rookies braved the wind and rain to make a mad dash to the gate. What a mistake. Can you see "instant wet t-shirt contest". 8-)

After the storm rolled out, we made it through security with a minimum of hassle and found our seats. Ironically, we were almost in the same spot that we had been 12/31/99 for the Metallica Millenium Concert. If you've ever been in the Silverdome in the summer, you'd know that it wasn't air-conditioned, only heated. By the time that Mudvayne hit the stage at 3:00PM, it was toasty inside, but the place wasn't crowded yet.

Mudvayne had its amps cranked up somewhere between an f-14 on afterburner and a hydrogen bomb. The air was so still before they started playing that there was actually air movement as a result of the booming base pushing lots of air.
Distortion was so high (nobody ever goes to the Silverdome for its acoustics) that I couldn't make out any of the lyrics that the lead singer was screaming. Fortunately, they did a merciful ~1/2 hour set.

Similar comments about the second act, Deftones.

After a 40 minute wait for set building, Linkin Park came out and did a good 40-50 minute set with lots of energy. The mosh pits were in full gear by that time and people were being passed to the front of the stage at a rate of 1 every minute. Several ladies in the crowd, riding high on their boyfriends' shoulders, decided that it was too warm for their tops, so they either lifted them up or took them off completely. I considered that a fringe benefit and brought my handy-dandy pair of Bushnell's for just such an occasion. 8-) All-in-all, a good set.

By the time that Limpbizkit hit the stage, it was somewhere around 6:30-7:00PM and the ambient temperature was well into the 90's. The 50-60k people, half of which seemed to be on the floor of the Silverdome immediately kicked into overdrive and began jumping as Limpbizkit launched into their set. Fred Durst can certainly get a crowd motivated. The stretchers began making their trips from in front of the stage to the waiting medical facilities as groupie after groupie either passed out from the heat, injured themselves in a mosh pit or mistimed their drugs. No fights, no hassles, just raw energy. If the ability to harness people power, like that shown in the Matrix, was possible, the whole eastern seaboard could have been powered by the crowd last night. If you've never experienced youth being youth, you're missing a lot.

Loud, but not nearly as distorted, you could actually hear some lyrics. It also helped that the entire crowd was acting as back-ups. Great set. I'd recommend anyone, not wearing a pacemaker who works out regularly, see Limpbizkit at least once in their lifetime. 100% pure, adulterated fun. >;-)

After another hour to build Metallica's set, the familiar theme from "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" began to play and, once again, the crowd kicked it back into overdrive. By that time, it was almost 9:30PM, the kids had been running at high since 3:00PM and ambient temperature was still well into the 90's. For me, it was an exercise in survival at that point. Keep hydrated, but not so hydrated that you'd have to fight the crowd to the bathroom. Metallica came out loud (no surprise there) with lots of energy from the first note to the last. Unfortunately, the heavy distortion used and extreme decibel levels on the drums and guitars drowned out most of the vocals coming from the stage. They were supplanted, however, by thousands of audience members filling in for them as they bobbed, waved hands and jumped around in the Silverdome seats. And I'll admit it, I was one of those singing along as well. (Nobody sat from Linkin Park on)

Metallica played lots of their older hits: Sanitarium, Master of Puppets, etc) and came back for two encore sets. The final encore set included One and Sandman. As they were finishing up at 11:20PM, my son and I made a mad dash for the door, found our car strategically placed near an exit and were back on the highway heading home by 11:22PM. My ears still haven't fully recovered, but I'm no worse for wear.

Price of tickets: $189(pair)
Parking: $15
Food/drinks: $30
Memories of spending the day with my son who's starting college in the fall: Priceless

(thanks to Mark Simpson for the review)