The Best Things In Life Are Free

Have you ever felt the stars align?

I was checking my email on Tuesday while I was working and I got what at first glance I thought was spam email. It was Ticketmaster telling me about some concerts in my area that I might be interested in. At least, that’s what it looked like. I ignored it and did some other things, but about an hour later I was staring at it again.

It wasn’t spam. It was an invitation to get some complimentary concert tickets. Velvet Revolver with Alice In Chains and Sparta on October 3rd at the HiFi Buys Amphitheater. I suppose the reality is that the concert was not selling as well as they wanted, and rather than play to empty seats, they were giving away tickets. I “bought” 4.

Nobody went with the wife and I. It was too short notice and everyone had plans or something. Except one guy, but he had a bad day at work and decided not to go out. No loss though, they were free tickets, if no one went it didn’t matter.

We got to the show and it was worse than I thought. Ticket sales had been so bad that at the door they were allowing people with lawn seats to upgrade to reserved seats for no charge. The lawn was closed. Even with the free ticket offer they’d spammed out (likely to everyone who had purchased tickets to a “rock” show in the past 30, 60 or 90 days … I went to Def Leppard) they hadn’t given away enough tickets to fill the seats. The ones we got online were pretty good. Section 203, row QQ on the inside aisle.

We sat down and listened to Sparta. They did what a good opening act should do. They played, they played well, and even got me wanting to go find their CD and give it a listen.

When Sparta left the stage, we went back out to the Zune booth… oh wait, I left that out. On the way in, we got raffle tickets. After the first band, the Zune booth was having a drawing. We won a 30GB Zune. Been playing with it this morning, its pretty sweet.

Alice In Chains took to the stage next… I saw AIC for the first time back in 1991 when they opened for Van Halen on the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour. I’ve been a fan since Facelift. When Layne Staley died, I figured the band was done. Well, they aren’t done. With new lead vocalist William DuVall, the band is tight. There were times during the night that I could swear the man had to be lip syncing. It was eerie, but also fantastic. They played through all the hits and fan favorites. I look forward to hearing more from Alice In Chains.

After another break, Velvet Revolver took the stage. I’m not a huge fan of VR, in fact the only song I really know is Fall to Pieces. Scott Weiland has decided, apparently, that he is a Mick Jagger impersonator, and his voice just doesn’t sound like it used to. Stone Temple Pilots was a great band that I loved. With VR, at least live, Scott sounds like he’s on helium or been kicked in the nuts, about an octave above what would sound good. They played a few songs I didn’t know and really at that point it wasn’t likely that their performance was going to surpass the previous band, it was a weeknight, and I hate traffic. We left.

All in all, a free concert, a free 30GB Zune… a good night.

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