Evo Experience on 9/21 – Quick Post and A Few Pictures

Jonna and I attended the Steve Vai Evo Experience at the House of Blues last night. Jonna played photographer and took about 300 or so pictures. We are in a rush this morning, but I have gotten a few up. Throughout the week I will continue to sort through and upload pictures.

Real quick review, too many people at the EVO experience this time. Last time it was about 25 and was really nice. This time it seemed there were close to 40. However, given all that, watching the soundcheck and rehearsal was completely fascinating. This guy gets better every time I see him and the new band is absolutely incredible. Probably the best Vai show I’ve ever seen. Definitely check them out if they come to a town near you.

I hate the House of Blues as a venue, however. We basically stood for 7 or so hours. We were completely dead by the end of the show. All and all though, the music and the band were second to none. Best show I’ve seen so far – ever.

More pictures will be added to the set as we have time to sort through them, and I plan on putting together a more extensive post as I have time.

A Hard Landing At Galt Airport

Last night we attended the Hard Landing event at Galt Airport in Woodstock. The featured bands for the evening were Hudson McCoy, Rare Earth, and Blue Oyster Cult.

I had never been to a Galt Airport event, so I had nothing to compare it to, but we had a pretty good time. Rare Earth and Blue Oyster Cult are seriously at the top of their game. They sounded absolutely great.

Hudson McCoy was pretty good as well, if you like blues music. I’m one of those people who likes blues, but when I’m seeing a band live its more meaningful to me if I have heard their music before. I tend to me more receptive to unfamiliar music with an album than I am seeing a live band. Most of the Hudson McCoy set seemed to be originals that I had never heard before. So overall, for me, Rare Earth and BOC was the highlight of the evening.

We tried to get pictures throughout the night, but we didn’t get many that turned out well. Our camera just doesn’t do very well at long distances when it starts to get dark.

The event was quite a bit smaller than, say, a Ribfest – and it showed. One of the things that they really have to work on for next year is having more hand washing stations around the washroom area.

I’m a compulsive hand washer – its one of those weird things for me that I’ve never been able to get under control (though, thinking about it, it seems that if your going to have an obsession, hand washing is a good one). For me, there is nothing more horrible than walking around somewhere and having the urge to wash your hands and having one station available that is completely out of water and / or soap. Worse than that though, is watching so many people come out of these washrooms trying to wash their hands and having no water available to do so.

Last night there were two scenarios. In one instance there was no soap in the station. For a neurotic like me, washing your hands isn’t washing them without soap. The second scenario was worse though – only soap and no water. For some reason, having soap all over your hands with no ability to rinse it off just sends my brain off into a ‘tizzy’ – that’s my obsessive-compulsive side at its finest. I wound up going to the beer tent and asking the people attending there to drop large handfuls of ice in my hands so that I could rinse the soap off.

So to summarize, the event was fun. There was great music and the crowd was considerably more laid back and considerate than they were at the REO concert earlier this month. The organizers definitely have to make some improvements in the hygiene facilities moving forward though.

Ribfest 2006 in Naperville

We hit Ribfest again this year in Naperville. This year, REO Speedwagon was the headlining band. Consequently, all the 80’s heads (us included) came to see the show and the festival wound up selling out for the third time since its inception.

There were three bands in total that played yesterday while we were there. The first band was called The Hacks. I enjoyed their set (it was a long one). The crowd was minimal at this point in the afternoon and there was plenty of space to walk around, or sit back and enjoy the music.

The second band was a band called Hello Dave. I really enjoyed these guys. They play country / blues / rock and mixed cover tunes with originals. I don’t think I heard one song I didn’t enjoy. I definitely want to look these guys up the next place they are playing and check them out again. During this set is when the crowd really started building up. Hello Dave played until around 7:00 or so.

Once Hello Dave finished is when the crowd really started building. It was literally impossible to get through the crowd at points to get back to your seat if you, say, had to make a bathroom run. People were packed so tight that there were rather large groups just looking for one little piece of free showing grass to set their blanket down and squeeze in for the show.

REO was scheduled to start at 8:00, but the band didn’t hit the stage until around 8:20p. It was really amazing to watch this sold out crowd and how into this band they are. Attending a show like this and watching the crowd that assembles when they play really shows what a huge impact this band had on the music scene in the 80’s. What surprised me was that even the younger kids knew the words to the songs.

The band also played a couple of songs from their upcoming album (due to be released in December or so). They were pretty good, and I might just pick up the album when it comes out. I thought the band put on a pretty good show.

Aside from hearing the songs that really were a staple on the radio during the 80’s (and there weren’t many REO songs that I didn’t like), the most fascinating thing for me through the whole thing was watching the crowd once the band came on the stage. I felt compelled to take as many pictures of how the crowd grew as I could, just to show what a draw this band still is after 30 years.

I’ve uploaded 88 photos from the event yesterday to the photo album. Some are family shots, many are of the crowd, and the rest are pictures of the band that we took from the overhead projection screen next to the stage. One of them is an interesting tattoo that Jonna noticed on a guy who later was quite happy to let me take a picture of it. The tattoo cracked me up.

Overall, the event was fun. I love going to see these bands that we liked so much in high school as they tour these festivals and watching how much people are still into them after all these years. Its a totally cool thing to watch.

Oh yeah, aside from the music, the ribs were pretty damn good too. I think we’ll definitely be heading out there again in 2007.

Styx – Elkhorn WI

Styx - Elkhorn WI 073

Photo by rbieber

We went to see Styx last night at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn, WI. We got about 32 pictures that actually turned out, with one that was so reminiscent of the Black Sabbath Paranoid cover that I had to include it.

The band sounded great. Its odd. I can’t see these guys too many times. We go to see them almost every time they are in the area (I think we’ve missed one or two shows in the past 4 years).

The pictures we took can be found in this photo set. Don’t expect anything spectacular. We were pretty far away, and haven’t quite mastered our camera yet.