I took a left, I took a right, I took another right, and then another left...and I was there! 3 miles as the crow flies, 4.5 miles as the roads go, and 10 minutes driving time...
The venue is Levitt Pavilion Arlington. Located in the heart of downtown Arlington, this small venue packs a powerful punch! They primarily promote "free music under the stars" throughout the season and rely on a headlining act at the end of the season to help offset the cost of the free shows, along with donor contributions. Usually it is "bring your own everything" but for tonight they had chairs set up in a VIP area and a general area for around 4000 total; although the seats were unassigned in each area, be there early to get the best seats! The show sold out about 3 weeks before tonight. The adjacent streets were blocked off and they were able to set up about another 500 seats to sell at the door.
Well, tonight's event was the biggest they had ever had. The venue staff and volunteers were exploring new territory this evening and they pulled it off with flying colors! Everything, to my eyes, went off seamlessly. The staff and volunteers were very friendly, helpful, and ready for a night of fun even though they were facing a never-before-handled challenge.
I bought my tickets in May and have spoken with Karen, the coordinator, several times. With the VIP tickets came a dinner at one of the University of Texas at Arlington facilities very close by. I planned not to attend the dinner as even though they were VIP tickets, it was not a reserved seat, so it was gen ad even for VIP...so you know what you have to do to get that coveted front row seat - be there early and be the first in line for when the gates open (and jumping ahead a bit, that's what I did and that's what I got!)
But I really wanted to take the time at the beginning of my review to congratulate Karen and crew for what they did to make the night such a tremendous experience for everyone,! Thank you Karen and crew!!!!!
I really kind of messed some things up though with the show selling out. My brother and his wife, my sister and her husband, and a couple others were supposed to be with me and we were going to make it a family event. I didn't effectively communicate with them, the show sold out without them getting theirs, and the plan never materialized. So I was "stuck" with an extra ticket.
Well, luckily Melissa Green lives down the road in West, TX, the town of West that is, the one that had the horrific fertilizer explosion back in April that devastated much of the town. Melissa was able to make it up, we met at my home around 1:00 pm and headed out to check out the venue. Our techie guys were already hard at work setting things up. We were able to stake out the venue, and much to our surprise, the front row was around 40-50 feet from the stage with a large grassy area in between. I knew then it was going to be a party night! So Melissa and I go to have a late lunch and run around a little, and get back to the venue around 4:30 pm to be ready to stand in line, with the gates opening at 7:00 pm. Luckily a "cold front" passed through the day before, so it was only in the lower 90's instead of the upper 90's. Summer still has a strong grip on Texas right now!
The venue accommodated those who purchased the VIP tickets who were not attending the dinner and had our VIP lanyards at a table by the gate. So around 5:55 pm we got them and were first in line at the gate! Others in line were complaining about the long wait. Come on - 1 hour? To have your choice of seat when the gate opens? They don't understand the life us die-hards lead at gen ad events, and how 1 hour is nothing!
So the gate opens and we get our seat. Well, the place we would be hanging out at until the show started...
Another first for the venue this evening was that there was an opening act, which started about 7:30 pm. But we had M/G tickets too, so at 8:00 pm we went to where we were supposed to meet up, with the couples on either side of us thankfully holding our chairs. A longtime friend of mine from work was at the M/G with her 10 year old son. He was so excited to have the opportunity to meet the boys, and it was so heartwarming to see him standing in front of them getting his picture taken, with all the joy and excitement just oozing from him! It was great to see this and his excitement. After all, isn't that what it's all about?!
So the opening act is through and our techies get out there and stage all set up. Finally the lights go down, the familiar opening music starts playing...Melissa says "Jeff let's GO!" and starts running down to the stage...I was a little reluctant to start so early, but my legs had a mind of their own...there was a concrete extension, not unlike a sidewalk, jetting out from the stage and we initially stopped short. Looking behind me, this unbelievable wall of people following our lead was about to run us down, so we quickly got right up to the stage at my favorite spot, in front of Mick and Bruce. (Unfortunately, Mick was not present this evening)....
All of this happens before Michael and Chris make their entry.I knew this was going to be a great crowd by the deluge of human bodies rushing the stage!
So now we are underway!
So let's get the set list out of the way...
Cold As Ice
Say You Will
Dirty White Boy
Feels Lke the First Time
Long Long Way From Home
I Want to Know
It was still quite warm at showtime, but not unbearable. Still I managed to be sweating quite a bit. You know I have this saying now, "If I don't sweat as much as the band, I'm not being a good fan." During Head Games, the sweat was pouring down from my forehead so much, I had to take off my glasses. I set them down on the stage in front of me, which btw, stood about 4 feet high, and wouldn't you know it? Kelly was right in front of me and stepped on them! He had no idea I don't think, and he didn't break them (thank goodness for titanium frames and impact resistant lenses) but it was kind of funny! I had Melissa put them in her purse and left them off the rest of the evening.
The boys were really on fire tonight, and were having a really great time. The audience was excellent! I was really quite impressed...I mean REALLY impressed! Of course there were those who were bound and determined to stay in their chairs, and you know what Kelly does when this happens. And yes he did, on a couple of occasions...one of those really stands out, as he was really picking on them, saying, "You're over 40, you're over 40"...as to be saying "you're over 40 and you're too old to rock...standing there for a moment, he then puts his thumb into his chest and says, "52"...I'm sure you can put it together!
Digressing a little, I told a few people how Kelly runs into the audience at least once and first during CAS, and I said, he'll jump down to these speakers here at the edge of stage left, run up the side to the aisle between the VIP and General sections, down the other side, and re-enter climbing up the speakers at stage right. I guess right! Only I didn't predict how long it would take him! That was the longest CAS run I can recall!
For those who don't know, and this was my first time to see it, Tom now plays the flute at the beginning of SYW. OH, this was truly awesome! My words can't effectively express the awesomeness of this!
It was a great night for interaction with the boys. As they new it was a very special night for me because it was the venue was so FREAKIN' CLOSE to my home, they seemed to be giving me a little extra time right in front of me. Bruce and I had a great time jamming together, and I got to "head bang" with Jeff quite a bit. Geez, I just don't know how he does that every night; my neck is still so sore 24 hours later as I write this!
Michael had some very special guests in the audience so it was a very special night for him. And that new base sax sound he has for LLWFH that he told me about how it all came about (while in Germany back in July) sounded really spectacular. And Chris has really got that water act during his solo down to a T! The audience really went wild over it!
Speaking of the audience again....I was just so impressed! There were times, especially during CAS, where you couldn't hear Kelly singing because the audience was singing so loud!
Oh, and the choir. This evening is the Arlington Lamar High School choir. The did a stupendous job, one of the best choirs I've seen! What stood out most to me was the incredibly fun time they were having. The large crowd in front of them did not intimidate them at all! They sang from their hearts and they swayed in perfect rhythm to the beat. A really great group of kids! Plus, they were really hustling selling the CD before and after the show!
So as always it seems, the show went by so quickly. It was a great night of rocking, in a really great venue, and an incredible time was had by all. I just can't say enough about the venue staff and volunteers and how dedicated and determined they were to do their part to make the night the huge success it was.
As usual, I've probably left some stuff out and will add below later.
So let's keep on rockin' my FOREIGNER sisters and brothers!