Friday, September 29, 2006

Tool, The Adventure 

Disclaimer: Right off the bat. I must admit that I know very little about the band Tool. Sure I know a couple songs here and there but I know nothing of the band, it's members, or it's apparently huge fan following. I've never seen them live or heard them live. Just getting that out there.

The clock was just about to turn the day over to the 29th and I found myself in another one of those situations where I just had to shake my head and have a good chuckle with BigMike. I was just finishing up another in a long string of birthdays moving ever closer to the big bar in the sky (or down below, depending on your beliefs). I was sitting on the side bench seat in a new stretch Benz limo. To my left were a couple of half passed out, soaking wet girls who were spooned up together near the front of the limo using Bounty paper towels as blankets to fight the cold. To my right were BigMike and a very inebriated BarTender Terri who were joyfully singing along to the song pumping out from the only radio station we could pick up. Donna Summers.

To recap, two drunk girls passed out on my left using paper towels as blankets, two friends to the right singing along to Donna Summers. Me, sitting in the middle, wondering how the hell I found myself in another one of these Twilight Zone situations.


Several months ago, during one of the standard drunken Thursdays, Terri mentioned that Tool was coming to town and she really wanted to see them. That's all BigMike needed to hear, within half an hour of them going on sale we had 4 prime seats to the show which just happened to land on my birthday. Bonus. I wasn't particularly a fan and I wasn't terribly impressed with most of the songs from their new CD that Terri had been pumping through the Boathouse sound system after hours.

But I'm rarely one to miss out on something which could turn into spectacle. Especially one that will involve booze, bands, and 30,000 of my closest friends.


"The limo will get to the Boat around 7 tonight, I'll meet you over there", BigMike said yesterday as we were getting schedules synched up.

I knew he planned on renting transportation to the Tweeter Center. Getting in and out of Philly is second nature to Mike, but Camden and the Tweeter Center is pure fucking hell both ways. Why not get there comfortably with many bottles of booze? He was having problems finding a limo company that would let us degenerates smoke to our hearts content in their vehicle. Damed filthy lung huggers taking away my fun.

Eventually he found the one last limo company in the tri-state area which allowed smoking. To say I wasn't expecting anything special for transportation would be an understatement. I couldn't be more wrong. Up pulled a brand spanking new Mercedes Benz stretch job with plenty of room for us plus the two stowaways we picked up at the last minute.

All hail the powers of BigMike.


I got my first big surprise of the night when we pulled up to the staging area for the limos.

Really, it was my second surprise of the evening, the first might have been having one of the stowaways dumping out the big crystal candy bowl so she could drop trou for a blander emptying whizz while we sat in traffic on the Skuykill. Brilliant.

Back to the concert surprise, there were people crowded everywhere we looked. Mostly dressed in what I assume to be the standard garb of Tool-heads (Tool Army? Navy? AirForce?). They wore black on black with the occasional splash of really really dark gray. But good fucking lord was there a ton of them.

I stood out in my dark blue t-shirt and jeans. That's me, always standing out in a crowd no matter where I go, but normally it's amongst the yuppies. Now we were in a different kind of crowd. One that BigMike would get to know quite closely when elbow meets face. Rollin' rollin'.

As we're walking in to find our seats, we have our first Otis moment. Terri falls.

Reminding everyone that we were there for Terri. She managed to drink more the one woman's worth of Chimay between the Boathouse and the concert. Gravity and Terri were in a mortal battle for her soul and gravity was kicking her ass. Thank god she had stone walls and BigMike on her side. I presume she made the rest of night in the full upright vertical position. I wouldn't know because that was the last I would see of her until the rain drenched walk from the arena to the limo.


The show, does anyone care about the show?

As I said, I knew very little of this band other than a few songs and they have some recluse named Maynard on vocals. As we were standing in the huge line to purchase $10 tiny shots of Soco, the lights went down and the show was on. BigMike and Terri made their way down towards the pit while I assumed my seat in the back right section. Perfect place to view the show now that I know more about the band. 4 guys, lots of lights, very little movement from the band members other the bass players thrashing like a mofo and the drummer beating the ever loving crap out of his kit.

We were 3 songs into the set when I started to have some revelations. I was so caught up into checking out the seen at the beginning that I never realized Manic Maynard never EVER comes anywhere near the front of the stage. He sang from the back left side of the drum riser the entire show. Odd. But he was wailing his heart out. My first thought, right or wrong, was that his voice was just another instrument in the band. He sat back to let the guitar and bass players melt everyone's face off. And they did.

I couldn't stop looking behind me either. For anyone who's ever been to the Tweeter Center or any other amphitheater type arena, there's a large seating area covered by a roof and a huge field behind the seats. In this case it's a monster hill with a large wall at the back. From the pit area in front of the stage to the very top of the hill, people were racked and stacked where ever they could find a square foot for their personal space. They sang every song at full voice.

I was floored. I'd never seen it like that. I didn't know this band I barely knew could draw a sold out crowd in an arena where they generally oversell the lawn area tickets. I was mightly impressed. And that was before they played a single note.

While the band was in the middle of their third 15 minute full volume jam, I had to think back to the last show I saw here. Phish with Pauly a few summers ago. I'm no expert on either band but they seemed very similar in their approaches to constructing their sets. "These guys are the hard rock version of Phish" popped into my head. Except of course Tool realizes that their instruments can go to 11.

Here's where I had a little problem. I'm from the era of the "3 minute ear bleed" song stylings. The ADD starts kicking about 10 minutes into a song. Don't get me wrong, I love a good jam. But good lord, when the bass player sit down in front of his monitor in the middle of a song, that one might have gone just a little too long. Thank god I chose that time to grab a quick smoke, shot, and slice of pizza. By the time I got back they were just finishing up that song.

If I were Pauly, I would be giving the setlist all nice and pretty about now. But I'm not him and I have no clue. The three songs that I know they played without digging around were Schism, Stinkfist, and ended the night with a BadBlood approved crunching version of Aenima.

Fantastic musicians who played their music to their adoring crowd and they ate every note up. We've both been asked all day today, would you go see them again? I'll use Mike's answer. Absolutely, as long as we don't have to take anyone else along. It seems BigMike had his hands full keeping Terri together which included him getting on the wrong end of rollin' Tool fan's elbow.


Concert over. Smelling, soaked, wasted, crazed Tool fans filing out the arena into yet another squaw and I was just imaging the look we were going to get from the driver when we strolled up to his brand new Benzie. Dale, limo driver extraordinaire, took it all in stride. Even after having to clean out a mysterious liquid from his crystal candy bowl.

Oh well.


And that, my friends, is how I came to find myself sitting between two passed out chippies and an impromptu Donna Summers songfest as the clock ticked away the last few minutes of my last birthday in my 30th decade on the horrid little rock.

God damn, can't wait to see what happens for the big 4 0.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nothing to see here... 

"Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing."

Robert Benchley
It's just another number. Nothing to see here. No profound words of wisdom or stories from the glory days. I have no whale tales or whale tails to speak of. I won't spend the day pondering my navel as I inch towards my doom. That just not how it works around here. So what does an old man do on this non-discript day?

He goes to a show with people half his age but in better style.

Cheers, and pray for me.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Surfing the Bash 

"The Bash has morphed into a Burning Man for Alcoholics, where people travel from all over the farthest corners of the world to gather together in the middle of nowhere to act weird and celebrate one of the greatest cultural icons of the 21st century... AlCantHang."
Dr.Pauly, Bash at the Boathouse Part I
"Greatest cultural icons of the 21st century" may be a bit of hyperbole but the rest of the statement from Pauly was pretty much dead on. Old friends from as far as Seattle and Los Angeles and Florida and South Cacalacky. New friends from North Carolina and Vegas. The weird and wild celebrations built up to the point at the end of the night that I didn't realize who was left and who had gone off to the great drinking netherworld called Passout Town.

I think it's actually going to take me quite awhile to get my tiny little mind around the event. I need to reconcile what I saw, what I think I saw, and what was just what I wanted to see. I'm getting a kick floating around the intertubes reading the different accounts and getting everyone's perspectives. The pictures are helping to put together the puzzle of the later evening when the "6 inches of vision" started to settle onto my poor demented brain.

I did find one upside to the no-food all-booze weekend. I seem to have gained a notch on the old fatman belt. Sign right up here for the AlCantHang Booze-away the pounds Diet.

I have a ton of specific people to thank and a crap load of emails to write and respond to. I'm working on that now at the same time avoiding the stresses of work that I threw off for a few fun filled days. Start looking around the other blog-hierarchy for updates.

"When degenerate gambling blogging alcoholics kneel to pray, they turn their faces in the direction of Malvern, PA and Flanigan's Boathouse."
JoeSpeaker - Bashed
Til later, cheers.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Random Bash Pics 

Click to enlarge

Gavin signs a chipset for Stef

Gavin signs the tournament table

Brandon signs the tournament table

Bobby Bracelet snuck in to sign it also

Bobby and Gavin

Gavin with Steve and Jen


Bash Highlights 

DJ Vudu, drunken hippy, DJ ScubaSteve

It's going to be practically impossible to describe what occurred this weekend. Mostly because there are huge chunks that just aren't there. Untold numbers of Soco were consumed along with kegs and kegs of beer. Sitting at the bar Sunday afternoon (yeah, hungover as a mofo, I still hit the bar for noon football although I didn't last past the second game) I was forced to recall my eating habits over the last 48 hours.

Friday - for the entire day, all I had to eat was half of a French Dip sandwich. Nothing else. Started at the bar around 3pm, finished up at the hotel sometime in the wee hours of the morning after playing poker.

Saturday - one buffalo wing. Not one ORDER of buffalo wings. One SOLITARY wing. That was it. As I was walking past the table I grabbed one. That was around 3:30pm. I was at the bar from noon until 4am. Probably should have been dead at that point. 16 solid hours of drinking, one friggin' buffalo wing.


- Friday night Gavin turned to me and said something along the lines that I am some kind of drinking maniac. That was before Brandon, Falstaff, and I finished off the half gallon of soco.

- Gavin also said that BigMike might be one of the coolest guys he's ever met. Anyone who knows BigMike would agree.

- I was well on my way to a final table appearance in the Friday night blogger tourney until Gavin busted out. He then bought my stack which I promptly lemured away at the mix game. Damned pot limit bullshit.

- "I'm mostly drunk, mostly colorblind, and don't know what color chips are what denominations. I'm just going to fold or pot it for the rest of the time. That ok?" - Drunken lemur PLO8 anti-specialist. That's me if you're wondering.

- The shuttle between the hotels and bar ruled. I hope a couple people tipped poor Ryan because he earned his money. I'm starting to hear some stories about "fireman carries" and "who's that passed out in the van?".

- I lost the first prop bet on Friday afternoon to JoeSpeaker when I incorrectly bet that Seattle was longer distance to Philly than Los Angeles. According the AndyBoathouse, LA is 15 miles further than Seattle. Had a chosen Speaker's exact airport location, Ontario, CA, I would have won.

- CJ aka Luckbox won the charity tournament going head's up against Falstaff. Jim from Riverchasers did a great job dealing and getting us a bunch of swag to give way. That's including the poker chips and full table we were playing on.

- After the charity tourney, Gavin challenged anyone to play head's up, $100, for charity. Veneno has another head's up scalp when she took him down during the last match.

- I temporarily flagged myself at 8pm. Realized I hadn't eaten and still had another 6 to 8 hours of solid drinking. That lasted about 15 minutes before Brandon wanted to do a shot. That's why I only flagged myself at one bar. That left me the option of still drinking at the other way. SMRT

- My officemate Lou won the beer pong tourney by taking down Brandon and BadBlood.

- I think it was a unanimous decision amongst the bloggers. TripJax won this year's Drunken Lewey Award taking it away from last year's winner, F-Train. Two straight nights. Impressive.

- The sorority girls showed up with the posse. 10 minutes they were running out of there like the scared little school girls they were. Oh well.

- Things start to get a little bit fuzzy around the edges. Boobs were flying around all over the place. That reminds me that I neglected to mention that within 5 minutes of busting out the Mardi Gras beads, AuntieMaudie and Gracie had already "earned" their pair with a pair.

- So far I have received three emails from friends pleading with me to avoid having any bloggers post their topless pictures. So I'm pleading to the bloggers with cameras, if you have any such pictures, send them to me first. Not that you can't post them, I just want the blackmail evidence and post them also. Email away

Finally, it will be impossible for me to list everyone who came out without missing someone along the way, so I'm just going to send out one big huge mother fucking thank you to everyone who made the trip to this tiny little corporate town for some ridiculous drunken debauchery. This party wouldn't be nearly as much fun without my friends who went out of the way to drive many hours or battle moronic airport personnel just to hang out at our little party and drink for a couple of good caused.

You, my friends, are what makes the Bash cool. Who knows.... maybe this wasn't actually the last one.

Cheers and I'll be back with more.

Update: Pictures are starting to get posted. So far only a few embarrassing ones of me.

F-Train's pics
Hubukai's pics
Carter's pics

The writeups are starting to come in

TripJax - I forgot to mention that I found out later the reason for his mass drunkeness. I didn't realize that he was trying to go shot for shot with me. That'll get a good man dead.