Friday, October 13, 2006

Bow Down to Gigantor!

Most recent effort: Gigantour 2006, at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island on September 29. I definitely had a good time (and because of the layout of the venue, had a more consistently good time than I did at Gigantour on Long Island last year), but as usual, there were some things that just weren’t going to make it into the review. Three things, to be precise, but that’s why this blog exists. Here goes:
  1. The Nassau Coliseum smells like moldering death and the surface of the general admission area was peeling off the floor in clumps. The Coliseum is also home to the New York Islanders (hockey), New York Dragons (arena football) and New York Titans (lacrosse), so the smell was probably a mix of sweat and the damp left over from melting ice, but over all, the place is a concrete bunker (literally; I’m pretty sure we had to go underground to get inside) that is in terrible condition, especially in comparison to the Continental Airlines Arena, a concert/sports venue in New Jersey. Come on, Long Island – you don’t want to lose in yet another comparison to New Jersey, do you? On a positive note, though, the moldy smell was a great addition to Opeth’s set – if you’re going to be singing songs about gloom and desecration, I think the only better place you could play would be inside a decaying mansion that had hosted a grisly murder or two.

  2. This show was not only my first freebie (courtesy of Arch Enemy), but my first photo pass: for the first three songs of every set (except Megadeth – my company isn’t cool enough to run with the big boys yet, I guess) I was all the way up in front, standing shoulder to shoulder with other photographers and the security guards who take down crowd surfers, snapping away. The experience was terrifying and exhilarating; terrifying because I was competing with professional photographers with massive cameras and gear bags (some of whom looked like they could care less about the music) for shots with my small Canon, exhilarating because I was mere feet away from all of the action, without anyone crushing me against a barrier. I think I got some good shots, though. One interesting thing I did notice: musicians must feel like they’re performing to a vacuum on stage, with the lights blocking their vision and the 7- or 8-foot gap between them and the audience on the floor. The ones who seemed to have the solution down the best looked like they were staring right through me, which was almost as intimidating as fighting with the photographers. It made me wonder a bit about my professional detachment when I write reviews and whether or not I would feel compromised if I went to a show to review it and made a concerted effort not to enjoy it at the same time just to be more “objective.” I’m not sure about the answer to that one.

  3. While waiting on the floor for Megadeth to start, I spotted a trio who could have been actors for a movie about the bygone days of metal. First we had 80’s Thrash Representative: converse high-tops; rolled, tight jeans; Somewhere in Time t-shirt with the arms and midsection ripped off; and hair that would have done Marty Friedman proud. Talking to him was Early 90’s Guy: combat boots, cargo shorts, Megadeth shirt from the late 80s and the same Marty Friedman hair, although on this guy it made him look more like a member of Alice in Chains. And then we had their buddy, Late 90’s Guy, with the same general look as Early 90’s Guy, but rocking the shaved head and James Hetfield style super handlebar. And all of these guys were about my age (i.e., too young to have sported any of those looks, except for Late 90’s Guy, when they were current), which made the whole thing that much more surreal. It wasn’t funny per se, so much as it was defiantly cool. And it made good people-watching material while I waited for the final set of the night.

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