Got up ungodly early & drove to BWI airport, flew Southwest to Ft Lauderdale and got a rental car. Briefly overjoyed at the Hertz counter when they tell me they are out of the cheapie econoboxes I have reserved and will give me a free upgrade to a Mustang : ) Unfortunately there is no Mustang waiting for me but they can find an ugly beige Ford Focus…oh well at least this time there is a CD player in it.
Check in early to Days Inn and try unsuccessfully to take a nap as I am so beat after the last week, instead I just lie there with my pulse racing & unable to shut my brain down, I can’t take this stress …. I head over to the club Revolution at about 4:30, it is another of those outdoors Florida venues kinda like the Jannus landing in Saint Petersburg and the Sunset Station I was just at in San Antonio.
Thankfully I run into a lot of folks I’d met earlier this year at AFI shows – Kristen who had also been standing with us at the Key Club when the AFI tour was cancelled and Art who I’d met at the Tiger Army show in May in Orlando. And Joe, Danny and Amy were there – I’d met them in March at an AFI show in Ft Myers & then again at a Tiger Army show in St Petersburg so it was great being there with a bunch of friends and not totally alone.
Art is very friendly & very cool, he’d cut his hair just like Nick's & has gone totally psychobilly in the last few months, he about died when Mike Ness walked right by us in line : ) Poor guy has had a rough time lately – he was nearly killed in Hurricane Charlie when his the roof was ripped off his house when a tree hit it & he was pinned under & broke many ribs & bones in both legs but has made an amazing recovery, looking forward to this show has gotten him through the last few weeks. I’d been talking to him a lot on IM’s and promised him if he hung out with me I could introduce him to Nick, I’m glad I was able to fulfill that as it totally made his week : )
Manbat comes out & says they’ll get me a photo pass & makes sure my name is spelled right for the guest list, makes me feel good to hear Nick was back staging telling them “we need to take care of Elizabeth & make sure she’s got a pass : ) OK I guess I can relax now since after Geoff & Fred left I’d been afraid I’d be forgotten since they always took care of that. I know, I get paranoid & have no self esteem, I am always afraid of being forgotten.
The Explosion play first, they are a lot of fun – when they end I motion to Andrew the drummer for him to come over – I have a note to deliver from his mom who works in the Waldenbooks in the mall around the corner from me.
I’d gone to Lakeforest Mall Thursday night to pick up some enlargements of pix from the Warped tour to give Nick and stopped in Waldenbooks to grab another copy of AP and was bounced on by a tiny enthusiastic older woman going “you like AFI?????” It took a sec but I said “wait, I know who you are”!!
I’d met Andrew in July 2003 up in Rochester where the Explosion had been supporting AFI – when he asked where I was from and I said Gaithersburg he was like “that’s where my mom lives” and told me that I needed to walk into Waldenbooks wearing an AFI shirt. –I had done this before but obviously not when she was working and then I’d kinda forgotten. Anyway we get to talking, she happily shows me the pic of her son in Alternative Press, I happily show her my photos and pull out the enlargements I’d just gotten for Nick – she loves the pix & flips over the one of Nick and Davey from the House of Blues so since I have an extra I give it to her & she is thrilled and tries to call Andrew on his cell phone to tell him who she just met. She’ very nice and very friendly, I offer her a ride to the upcoming DC show & when I tell her I’ll be seeing her son in Ft Lauderdale in a day she gives me a note for him : )
Tiger Army came on next, they sound great, Nick seemed SO much more relaxed and less stressed than he had in Texas, thanks to the pass I am able to bring in my nice D70 and get tons of great shots so I finally have pix of the new guys!!
TA's set list:
opener - Ghost Tigers Rise
Power of Moonlight
Santa Carla Twilight
Rose of the Devil's Garden
Wander Alone (Throught the Darkness was actually written on the set list that Dustin gave Joe after the show but they played WA instead)
Next up is Social Distortion – things start great, then about 3 songs into the set it starts to rain. At first its more like a mist, I wonder if people are throwing drinks since I’m mostly covered being up front so close to the stage but I look up & realize it is raining.
Then the power goes – everything goes black. Mike Ness is standing there with this “what the fuck look”, he taps on the mike – nothing.
Some power comes on, there are lights but the PA is toast. Everybody stands around shrugging, not sure what to do… the crowd starts chanting “Social D, Social D”, I worry that if the band leaves they may riot. A couple of roadies bring guitar cases onstage, I’m afraid they are gonna pack up and leave but instead they bring out some acoustic guitars. The drummer brings the snare and a stool down, Mike and Johnny Two Bags pick up the acoustics and Jeff brings up his standup bass and hands it to Matt Freeman and off they go – Social Distortion unplugged! Its hard to hear them at all with no PA but Mike gets the crowd singing along so it sorta turns into “drunken karaoke night” in Art’s words but dammit he got the crowd happy and into it and even tho everybody would have preferred a “real” show at least the fans didn’t feel cheated and I have so much respect for Mike and company for making the best of a bad situation and salvaging the show.
Since I was told with the photo pass I could only take pix of Tiger Army I pass Art my little mini digital camera (the new toy – a Nikon Coolpix 5200 about the size of a deck of cards and 5 megapixels!) & he’s able to get some good pix, since I see Jeff trying to get pix of Matt on his bass I make sure we get a few to give him : ) Matt actually did a pretty damn good job, I had no idea he could play stand up!
Pick up the new Explosion CD and head over to TA’s merch booth to say hi to Manbat & run into Nick (almost unheard of, it is so rare to find him out in a crowd of people!) He’s in a really good mood & totally flips over my new tattoo and insists I email pix to his webmaster (oh yeah, twist my arm LOL!), he loves the pix in AP & wanted to make sure I got proper credit & tells me he’ll make sure I can photo any of their shows where its possible, said some of the bigger venues get really weird about it like Roseland so NYC is out of the question but the others shouldn’t be any problem – yay!!! He’s glad to have some of the new lineup – after the Warped tour he’d intended they totally revamp the website but then with the lineup change…well…. Anyway I also offered if they need any help with the website I’d be more than happy to do it & I’ve got a lot of experience & he seemed to be thinking about it : ) Get some pix of Nick and Art, Art is totally blown away & thrilled to meet him : ) I tell Nick I’ve got a ton of stuff for him in my car & I catch him outside later, then spot Jeff on the way out & talk to him a bit & get some pix : ) Also catch up with Andrew from the Explosion who has been looking for me to thank me for the noter from his mom!
We find Art’s stepfather who’d driven down with him – he is 3 sheets to the wind & babbles about how he has to find THE BEACH and starts singing “Ring of Fire” very badly over and over.
Find Nick & give him the photos & the shirt I picked up for him at the Morrissey concert last week & he’s thrilled, so nice to see that huge smile & those eyes sparking, swoon....and its nice to be able to say “ see you in next week” – just a few days now & then I can go to 4 in a row (the 2 NYC shows, Philly & DC!)
Art’s stepfather takes off in Art’s car & we go to my hotel, since I’ve got an extra bed I offered them that they could crash there, poor Art is fretting about stepdad & afraid his cell phone will ring with news that he’s been picked up for drunk driving. Thankfully that never happened, Art & I end up babbling most of the night (and I get teased mercilessly about a certain obsession) & I download all tonight’s TA photos & burn him CDs so he has a nice souvenir : ) At about 4 AM stepdad calls to say he’s sobered up & can drive home now so I say good night to Art – I had so much more fun hanging out with him than I ever would have alone.
So now I just need to live through whatever gets thrown at me at work for two days since Monday is a holiday (hooray I can finally rest!) and then Thursday I am calling in sick & playing hookey to head to NYC and the two Roseland shows – Yay!
Nick 13 in Fort Lauderdale -
Mike Ness playing acoustic -
Art & Nick 13 -
More photos here - http://www.psychotica.net/tigerarmy/FtLa