My first show of 2014! And a great show it was! As well as a SOLD OUT SHOW it was!
Although it came so close to not happening...Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area we were blessed with a surprise blizzard throughout Thursday morning...approximately one and one half inches of snow fell, virtually shutting the area down. Yes, a full one and one half inches of snow. The flight delays and cancellations carried over into the next day, yes, one and one half inches of snow in DFW. David was delayed from his hometown and then our flight we were able to take to Midland was delayed and we did not make it to Midland until about 5:00 p.m. Fortunately our hotel was at the airport and the venue was only 5 miles away, so after a quick change into our concert duds, off we went!
Midland, and it's sister city Odessa, are the business hub for the Permian Basin, the oil capital of West Texas. The Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, now in it's third year, is a beautiful and LARGE complex literally in the middle of nowhere! The concert auditorium seats 3000, with orchestra pit and floor seating along with 3 balconies. A very handsome auditorium ideal for everything from opera performances to rock concerts, it had great acoustics, however, the speaker arrangement was rather unique. There were no stage monitors, the two main left and right stacks were rather high up, with a center stack as well. More about this later...
Arriving at the venue a couple hours early to scope it out, the doors were still locked, with the exception of one, so we were able to get in and see the high school choir get the low-down on how to push the CD sales for raffle tickets for the signed guitar. In short order we ran into Cosmo and got to have a nice conversation with him. Great to have Cosmo - the King of Lighting - back for a while! We made our way into the auditorium to check it out and see the progress of the stage preparation, getting a quick pic of the set to post on facebook with my "Tonight's main event..." caption. We made a quick visit to Brandon, the merchandise guy. Glad to see him still on board. He packs a great deal of enthusiasm and knows his merch.
So off we go to the M/G. Tim, I hope I have his name right, is the new guy for getting the folks together for the M/G. Tonight was his first night and he was a bit nervous, but in my opinion, did a fine job. Hope he gets to stay around for a while; he seems to have great people skills and had a high level of enthusiasm. So back to see the boys for the first time in almost three months. Everyone seemed relaxed and refreshed from the holiday break and ready to rock a new year (although this was actually their third show of the new year). Was good to see Robin as well. Robin, the man of many wonders...the way he keeps everything going and on schedule and everyone in line, Robin, the organizational expert, and a great guy as well.
So after the M/G, we make our way back down to the stage to try to catch a quick chat with our techie buds, while not trying to distract them from their duties too much. Got to get in quick chats with Lorenzo and Eddie. Unfortunately we didn't get to chat with Josh; he was too busy back behind the curtains fulfilling his duties.
So while contemplating whether it was time to go back to our seats, the lights started going down, with us still standing there at center stage with no one chasing us off. So there we stayed, and managed to stay there for the entire show!
So the opening music begins signalling the eminent beginning of the show. After all the shows I've been to, the hair on the back of my neck still stands up, with the shear exhilaration and excitement of getting to see and hear my favorite music from my favorite rock group yet again. At the crest of the opening music, as Michael and Chris take the stage, mind and body prepare to get ready to rock my ass off! As Chris beats the drums and the guitars follow, the show is underway.
The energy level is high tonight, the boys are relaxed and refreshed, and from the get-go they show the audience they are there to ROCK, here at a SOLD OUT SHOW!
I wrote earlier about the way the speakers were laid out, or should I say hung from high. The sound was great, but, and I guess this is probably a good thing considering where we were standing, it wasn't very loud from our vantage point. I'm sure our ears appreciated this! The venue did not have as much stage lighting as we may be accustomed to, and was perhaps presenting a challenge for Cosmo, but he pulled it off quite well, thank you very much!
So here we are in a packed house, with just David and I at the stage through the first two songs. I must admit here, I was feeling a little self conscious with just the two of us up there and the rest of the audience still sitting, wild in amazement in the show building before them. But hey, we were there to ROCK and to SUPPORT our band, so self consciousness aside, ROCK ON BROTHER!!!
Luckily after Head Games Kelly let the audience know that STANDING was not prohibited, but those SITTING would incur SEVERE CONSEQUENCES.
And with the opening chords of Cold As Ice, the masses rushed the stage and those staying at their seats, for the most part, stood. Great audience participation at this show; always nice to experience!
So let's get the set list out of the way...
Cold As Ice
Say You Will
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like the First Time
Long Long Way From Home
I Want to Know
Okay, so it's still the same. But, and here I go again, let's remember that the masses in general do not get to see several shows a year like some of us here do. They are there to hear the hits, the songs they grew up with, the songs they have shared with their sons and daughters, the music of their memories. The songs that they say, "OH!!! That song that I enjoy so much is FOREIGNER!" The signature songs of this ICONIC band. I now step down from the soap box.
A wonderful stage performance it was, as usual. Kelly ran through the audience more times than I could keep up with. And during Hot Blooded, Bruce went out with him! Kelly had on some new jeans, a picture of which I put on facebook for all the Kelly girls. A medium blue denim, they had tan zippers up and down Kelly's legs, some vertical, some horizontal. Many of the girls at the stage had fun trying to get the chance to zip them up and down!
Jeff was particularly on fire this evening. He came down in front of David and I a few times head banging with us some. It's always fun to get to interact with the King of Head Bangers.
The talented Bruce was on fire as well, with his great smile and great hair. His ability to play the songs we love so much - I truly appreciate the role he so expertly fulfills. He's got a really tough job, you know, and I don't think there's anyone else out there that can do it the way he does.
Because the sound from the speakers was not so overwhelming, we could actually hear Chris's drums themselves, not an amplified sound. There were several times that really stood out as to just how powerful of a drummer he is.
Michael was his usual excellence. I'd like to point out how good Michael looks health wise. His recovery from his cancer is really inspirational, he is the picture of health and fitness.
The more I hear Tommy's flute introduction to Say You Will, the more I love it. It adds such a level of intensity and beauty to an already beautiful acoustic version of a song I have enjoyed for so many years. Also, for Long Long Way From Home, Tommy came out with TWO saxophones! Unfortunately I didn't see at what point he went to the second one as Kelly was performing some crazy antics throughout the song that drew my attention away from Tommy.
Oh, one thing I want to say here. About three quarters of the way into the show, the girl standing next to me turned to her boyfriend and said, "Aren't you having the time of your life?!?!" As this was something so heartwarming for me to hear, I hope the band reads this or hears about it, so they can enjoy it as well.
So it was a great night for my first show of 2014. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to start a new year getting to get away and see my favorite band on stage. I'm grateful that the band I have loved for so many years now is still out hitting the road. I'm grateful for the fans that fill the venues that keep this all going. I am also so grateful for the many of you that I have gotten to meet over the years and ROCK with you at a FOREIGNER show. Okay, I'll try to keep the sweet stuff to a minimum here.
So here's to another year of great rocking! May 2014 be the best ever!