Sunday, September 17, 2006

I don't care how red hot the chili peppers are, I am never going to another show at the Saddledome in my life

First, I have to admit that I am not as fond of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as I used to be. I'm not sure why. I still think Californication and Blood Sugar Sex Magik are great albums, and I liked By the Way, but somehow I just could not get into Stadium Arcadium. I tried listening a few times, but ... nothing. Maybe it's too long, or something.

Still, Jerry was really keen to go, so we got tickets - way the hell up in the nosebleeds (section 307 to be exact). I have never been that high up in the Saddledome before and hope never to be again.

We took the train, as the lot where we used to park is now a construction site. It was a bloody cold and windy day yesterday, but I only wore a light sweater because I thought I would rather freeze at the station for 10 minutes, than schlep a coat around all night. Mistake!

The doors which we normally access through a covered walkway were blocked off and we had to go down the stairs, back outside, and down the street about 2 miles to the end of the lineup, which was the result of people attempting to enter through a grand total of 8 doors. A huge sign warned us that cameras and video equipment were forbidden, as were "studded belts, jewellery, chains and backpacks". What?

We stood outside in that line for almost 40 minutes, then were patted down and had our bags searched. By the time we got inside the building, the Mars Volta were already half-way through their set. We tried to get to our seats, realized that we would be climbing about a mile up some incredibly steep, beer-drenched steps in the complete darkness and said, fuck that, we'll listen in the concourse and get to our seats between sets. And I never miss the opening act!

It was actually really scary in those seats, we were so high up. Of course we couldn't see anything as everyone in front of us was standing, but we were in mortal fear of going ass over teacup with one wrong move and plummeting 3000 feet to the stadium floor below.

The Saddledome was built for hockey games, not concerts, and the acoustics are terrible, especially way up at ceiling level - the sound just ricochets around endlessly.

But the clincher was the smoke. TOBACCO smoke! Now I don't mind pot smoke at a concert; I expect it, and I don't mind the smell as much as tobacco smoke and it doesn't bother my lungs and eyes as much. But for a non-smoking building, there sure were a tonne of people smoking cigarettes and of course all the smoke accumulated at the ceiling.

We didn't stay to the end. Once our lungs started filling with edema, we said what's the point and made our escape. Should have gone to Lorrie Matheson's birthday concert instead.


Anonymous said...

Well I usually don't sit that high for concerts. I didn't think that they sold tickets THAT high. I have sat 2nd level twice and it wasn't that bad. Most of my other concerts have been on the floor or closer. But I have to admit that OLP was really good at the Jubillie but it was built for that type of thing. I sat in section 3 something for a hockey game and I thought that it not for me. Too high! How was the music otherwise? I would have loved to have gone but I am trying to save my money for something else, whenever it gets here..

Stephanie said...

awww I'm sad that you guy's didn't have a good time.

But I can relate with sitting that high up, especially paying what a chili's ticket costs, kind of a waste.

I'm going to see them tonight. I have floor seats - I'll let you know how it goes.

hilary m. said...

I'm not too fond of the 'Dome either, although my young lungs can probably take some abuse, I don't second-hand smoke a lot. We cheated and stepped into a little line that was forming outside as soon as we got there. I did not feel bad for cheating. Then I had the lady touch me. Then we finally made it to the seats, which weren't too scary. The people around us were all drunk, and the air was kind of weed/tobacco/beer. Yay!! I didn't like the Mars Volta, would've sounded better on record. I pushed my way through people to buy a snicker's bar during that. Liked the Chili's though, they were fun. Didn't understand all the boobies during "Californication". Wasn't too bad. When I came home my parents must've wondered if I'd been smoking, or at a casino.

hilary m. said...

Ohh, by the way. I was at 222. Not too far from you, but I didn't see you amongst half of the city of Calgary and surrounding regions.

Barbara said...

Maybe you have had so many good concert experiences you are spoiled for what your average concert goer has to put up with.
The cheap seats in the stadium of life...

Allison said...

"NO studded belts, jewellery, chains and backpacks"
I have never seen that sign before, how strange.

Sorry to hear the rest of the concert wasn't that good either. I don't think I would have lasted as long as you did. I wasn't the biggest fan of their latest album, I like the last 7 songs or so.
The smell of smoke can ruin the best of nights...

Teddy said...

Funny. I was at the last RHCP concert, what, 3 and a bit years ago? Came to the same conclusion, even if they didn't pat us down. An auspicious beginning.

FUnny how they can't manage the smoke or drugs. But hten again, the nazis at Mac Hall can't either, and it's a hundredth the size.

And then there was an article recently, somewhere, talking about how the RHCP are a multigenerational phenomenon now.

They were fun, I'm glad to say I'd seen them, but likely won;t ever see them again.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I usually go to smaller venues, Monica, although I've been to a couple other Dome shows, once on the first level and once on the second. The third is ridiculous and the tickets were still $42.
I actually prefer to stand at concerts, but next weekend I'm going to a show at the Jubilee and that should be fine.
I think if I could have seen or heard the show I would have been impressed with the energy.

Stephanie, you are going to have a blast in the floor seats. That's where you should be for a concert like RHCP. Have a great time!

You may not have been that far from us, Hilary, but we were about a mile above you hahaha!
That was nasty with the touching. They actually did not frisk me as I am old, but Eva got frisked.

I was thinking something similar, Barbara W, that I have had so many great concert experiences that it's about time I had a crappy one. But I forgot to put that in the post and instead all I do is gripe. So thanks for putting things in perspective.

It was the weirdest sign, Allison - and half the kids in Calgary wear studded belts (thanks very much George S). I'll bet they had a big belt sale at the Saddledome today.
I'm sticking to smaller venues from now on.

Jerry and Eva went to the last RHCP concert too, Teddy, and they had a completely different experience then. Mind you they had the company seats then (10th row) so they missed the "atmosphere" of the third level. And they didn't have the walkway blocked off then either.
At least at Mac Hall, you can move away if you run into some smoke and the ventilation is pretty good.

mellowlee said...

Oh man, that totally sucks :(
Smaller venues are nice aren't they :)

Neil said...

As a rule, I hate large concerts anyway. Screw that hassle, noise, and crowds. I'd rather listen to a cd in the comfort of my home or car.

Now, watching Matt Good play in a 200 person bar... that was something entirely different which I will do again if possible.

Karen said...

Oh Barbara what a crappy concert going experience. 307? Oh god, what was the point? I figure if I can't see the band fairly clearly there's no point in going. Last "band" I saw - James Brown. He played the Shaw Conference Centre here in Edm and it was great (especially considering he's in his 70s and two weeks later he had surgery). I ended up about 10 people from the stage, he could have just flicked his head my way and I'd have got covered in the Godfather of Soul's sweat.

Yes we all expect the pot smoke, it wouldn't be a concert without it. However, the cigarette smoke is unacceptable. Perhaps another letter is in order? This time to the Saddledome? If it's the law (like here in Edm) and/or the building's policy,it's their job to enforce it.

I know what you mean about the Chili's. Perhaps it's us - as I get older, and the bands I've enjoyed age too, they're just not as good as I remember them being.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Love the smaller venues, Mel, the smaller the better. If I could host a show in my living room, I would.

For me there is something about a live show that you just can't get on cd, Neil. There's an extra energy, there's a new interpretation, and there's the fascinatation of watching the music get made, but a 200 seat bar is an entirely different animal than a 19,000 seat arena. Really no point in going to those.

hahaha Karen, Godfather of Soul sweat - now that would have been worth bottling! That would have been an awesome concert, especially 10 people from stage.
I'm afraid I don't have the energy to complain to the Saddledome about the smoke, good idea though that is. I have to pick my fights as there are only so many I can deal with.

Conky said...

welcome 2 old age my really picky about concerts and seating now too...ive seen a few bands at the saddledome but i was on the floor so i can only imagine nosebleeds...ive had crap seats a few times and i can honestly say id rather sit at home and hear the cd then bother.

Deb said...

It's funny how your gut instinct before the show had it weren't that excited for a reason.

I'm sorry it was a flop - I've had the opposite happen. I've gone to shows with that lacklustre attitude and had it knock my socks off. How unfortunate that, as things unfolded, it got worse instead of better.

I feel the same about their older stuff. I haven't even bothered to give their new stuff much of a chance...I'm just not blown away by the tidbits I have sampled of it.

While they're patting us down for water bottles (I had mine confiscated), they should take away the smokes/lighters too. Although people probably hide them in areas that are forbidden. Ew.

Will said...

Well, that just sounds like a nightmare. I try and avoid bigger shows for many of the same reasons. I saw the Chili Peppers in 1996 - when Dave Navarro was on guitars ... and I haven't paid much attention since. Sorry for your bad experience, though ... you have my sympathy.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm with you on that, Jen. No more crap seats for me, although some venues have crappier seats than others.

They took your water bottle, Deb? Cause we all know that water bottles are WMD.
I've had those concert experiences too, where I haven't expected much and have been gobsmacked. So it all evens out, actually better than evens out.

Thanks Will. I figure this just goes to show me what great concert experiences I usually have, and reconfirms my disdain for dome shows.

Anonymous said...

That's terrible. Still trying to understand the no jewellery policy.
I try to avoid stadiums (as I am sure you do also)..

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was really weird Jacquie, but I didn't see them tearing out anybody's piercings or anything. Small venues from now on for this kid!

Serah said...

I feel the same about RHCP right now,in regards to Stadium Arcadium and my fav. albums.

I talked with Flea on the telephone 2 years ago. He was looking for some model in an Adidas perfume ad to be on their album cover. I helped him navigate through the website, but we were a brand new store and I didn't know who to direct him to at our H/O, so I wasn't much help. It was kinda cool.

I think that there is something strange that occurs in such large venues, events that should ONLY happen at hockey games. And what is up with the crowds in attendence? When I went to see the Dalai Lama the people in the crowd had NO manners what so ever; it was embarassing and disressing. Also who the fuck eats popcorn at a spiritual gathering?? I swear to you that I have witnessed it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sarah who cool that you have chatted with Flea on the phone. He seems like such a cool guy.

But that is unbelievable that people could be so disrespectful at the Dalai Lama gathering. Shameful.

John Mutford said...

It's one of the reasons that Indie Bands are so much more diggable. It's unfortunate that success often leads to Saddledome experiences.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's true, John, and how ironic is that? Even my boys the Constantines have played at the Dome (when they opened for Foo Fighters) but they thankfully have gone back to small venues where they charge ridiculously low ticket prices.

karen said...

How rubbish for you. Huge concerts like that are only any good if there are some 'interesting' folks in the crowd - you can watch them instead.

Will said...

I'm sorry to hear you had a crap time Barbara. Your reasoning is exactly why I haven't been to an Enormodome gig since the early 90's. The sound is usually crap, I'm not a sitting down kind of concert go-er and I usually end up in row Z565 where the singers head is the size of a pin prick.

Give me a sweaty joint with the smell of stale beer, and a band you can get so close to you can almost tune their guitars for them.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I actually find that smaller places are better for crowd watching as well, Kees (which is another favourite concert activity of mine btw). I particularly like spotting the best patented indie kid costume.

Enormodome, Ben! How horribly true! I'm not a sit-down concert kind of person either, and while I can't tune a guitar, I certainly have no objections to getting a little guitarist sweat and spit on me.

Serah said...

Eww! I am getting that Hansen Brothers flashback again with the "spit drip". It was quite nasty and funny all at the same time. A night you would have expected to see the Trailer Park Boys at the table beside you.

And the dude in the band Seaweed that shook his sweat on us, back in 1995...I am gonna have to say no thank you still.

Maureen said...

that really sucks! i love the chili peppers, but i don't think i would have stayed in that situation either

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh but Sarah, there's a difference between Hansen Brothers sweat and ... John K Samson sweat, say.
Nothing nasty there.

Yeah, it sure wasn't worth sticking around, Maureen.