Wow. Talk about an all-around fucking fun day. Like norm and other's have said, going into this I checked any/all expectations at the door and just enjoyed the day.
We got their around 1ish and tailgated in the parking lot with some friends, met up with Norm and his posse (thank you again for the awesome, brow wiping bandana. it came in handy more than once. and i hope you all weren't to, uh, lethargic during the day), and made some new friends. Funny thing about tailgating is the venue website says tailgating is a no-go but everyone was doing just that. Can't go wrong with good friends, good brew, and good food prior to any show.
The show actually started before the doors even opened. Up on the mountainside there was a fire (from the vip parking lot you could see some of the flames) and we got to watch Cal Fire come in and handle it. All types of aerial equipment was used and the highlight was the DC-10 flying just a couple of hundred feet right over us before dropping a butt-ton of fire retardant on the hillside. It was my first time seeing that happen, live, and it was pretty impressive.
We actually ended up heading inside around 3ish and from the vip parking lot it was seriously a 1-minute walk to get into the venue. Totally worth the extra $10. By the time we all hit up the potty and got some beverages, parted ways with our friends we ended up missing probably about 1/2 of Fantomas' set. Can't really say anything good or bad about 'em other than I was definitely more impressed than I would've thought by what I heard. Get to add them to the list of bands I've seen.
I'll also add, before I forget, that I was really digging on The Crystal Method playing in between sets. I liked it a lot and definitely is better than random, generic radio music playing between sets.
We stuck around for the first 3/4's of The Melvin's set and there were a few songs I kinda recognized and more that I didn't. Again, over all impressed and like above now I get to add them to the list of musical acts I've seen. It was funny when my wife asked me which one up on stage was Buzz and I told her the dude with the big head of hair and she goes, "Yeah, he looks like he'd go by Buzz."
When we bailed it was so we could hit up the merch tent where we scored a couple of tool concert shirts, a poster and I had to also nab a Clutch shirt.
After hitting up the merch table we met back up with our friends for another round of beverages. We had previously discussed moving down and sitting with our friends in the orchestra seating but once we got to our seats we decided we liked being up higher as it'd give us a better view of all the lazers and lightshow that we knew were upcoming later (and we made the right call). Around this time I also randomly ran into Jose (who used to post on here and TA for a good while) in the beer line. It was a funny encounter and good to see yet another familiar face.
Clutch ended up coming on a few minutes earlier than scheduled and because of it I missed their first song. Once I realized they were on I bid a quick farewell to my wife and our friends and made haste back to our seats. Ho Lee Fuck. These dude's are simply bad mamajama's. They play some kick-ass rock and roll and just blew the doors off the place. I really can't describe how much I enjoyed these guys set. They bring a lot of energy. About 1/2 through their set I realize that my wife still hasn't made her way back and I'm like "well, her loss" only I look over 1 section to my right and I see her rocking out. Turns out I was getting down to the tunes so much I didn't realize I was in the wrong seat. Whoops! These guys set a high bar (that at the time I didn't think even Tool would be able to match).
After Clutch we sat down and had a bunch of snacks. This venue really is pretty cool, in that regard. They let you bring in 2 water bottles and a big bag of food. It felt good to re-hydrate and get some more food in our bellies before Primus came on. Plus by now the sun had really started to set and lower the temperatures a bit.
Like I said last time they played with Tool, I only know a handful of Primus songs (a few more now since the last time we saw them) but both time's I've seen them I've really really enjoyed their show. And I was able to even get, I guess, a new perspective on "My Name is Mud." So I got that going for me, which is nice.
After Primus it was time for one last potty-break and beverage refill before those jerk-asses from Tool came on. They actually ended up coming on maybe 10 minutes late (maybe someone was stuck on the crapper or something). But, man, they opened up with The Grudge and it was amazing. I'll never tire hearing (especially live) the whole "sinking deeper.......<insert kick ass rock here> bit. I remember after the last time I saw them in S.D. that after Parabol/Parabola and Opaite they kinda, to me, seemed to go into autopilot with the "usual" tour songs. This time I definitely didn't get that vibe at all. Always enjoy the extended Schism bit and it seemed as though they've added a 2nd extended bit to Opiate. 3rd eye, Sweat and The Pot were all very much welcomed surprises. And luckily, too, we didn't even get an intermission. Just rocking out for a good long while.
Highlights for me were definitely The Grudge, Descending, The Pot, DC's solo in 46/2, Sweat, 3rd Eye, ah fuck it, simply the whole show.
I'll also add that these guys' stage-show is on fucking point. They continue to evolve with the background screens and lazers and lights (shout out and knob-gobble to Junior for a really good job) and the whole production is, just wow. There were a few times I found myself kinda just looking around at the whole stage-show and murmuring "what the fuck!?!?" There were also a few times where I'd just turn around and soak up the entire crowd up on the hill and it was kinda hippy-neat to see so many people all kinda focusing on the same thing. As mentioned before, the entire day seemed to have this really-positive-energy-vibe going. Getting back to the visuals, I also really, really liked the whole pyramid and burning sun kinda-deal they had going for Descending. The visuals during Danny's drum solo in 46/2 and were really cool where it was kinda like all this chakra, sacred geometry, mystical energy was being transferred from him directly to the video monitor behind him.
I've read some complaints about the same-old same-old set list and the whole "nothing special" for this show or how Maynard doesn't do the long scream in The Grudge or even the not singing the final "vicariously i live...." in Vicarious (even last time I think I poo-poo'd it as him being too cool for school) but this show, for me, left me with nothing to complain about. I dunno if it was because of just how nice their set was or all the other acts we saw or a combination but the day was pretty close to perfect, as far as I'm concerned and I got way more than my money's worth. No question.
After the show we just were able to finally sit down in our seats and really kinda, for the first time that day, just really absorb everything that we had seen/heard. We stayed their until they essentially kicked us out and we made our way to the car. Yeah the parking lot was nuts (another big complaint I've read) but what do people expect when 60,000+ people are all leaving the same place, at the same time with 3 (sometimes 2 or even just 1) lane of traffic all going in the same direction? So we took a nice 3 hour nap, woke up and were able to get right on the road and were home 15 minutes later.
All in all, after Saturday I'm still more than happy to give these guys a couple hundred of my dollars to see them every 14-15 months. No qualms at all and as mentioned above, I was definitely just fortunate to be a part of the experience.
I like to poop naked.