Marcy Playground, Dramarama, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Everclear, Heart, Def Leppard at Jack FM's Sixth Show
September 10, 2011
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine
Holy cluster fuck!! I can easily say the theme for Jack's Sixth Show was pissed. After a morning full of thunder storms and hail, people came out to rock with their friends at Verizon Amphitheater and to catch a glimpse of their favorite bands from the past. The real catch though? Well there were a few--starting with the fact that on Jack FM's website, there was a video telling fans that the gates opened at 1:30 p.m. Apparently Verizon Amphitheater didn't get the memo because tailgating party people were turned away until 3 p.m. Not a good way to start what was supposed to be an amazing day.
Once through the gates and past the long trek to the "festival stage" area, there were vendors of all sorts selling overpriced food, drinks, and concert t-shirts. It sounds pretty normal if you enjoy spending $13 on a beer or $4.50 for a bottle of water right? Well here is where the second catch comes into play.
This "festival area" is where the side stage was located. That was where all of the bands were to play, except for tour mates Heart and Def Leppard. What this meant for thousands of people was that even though some paid upwards of $600 total for their tickets, they would not be allowed to sit in their seat until Heart took the main stage at 7:50 p.m. (Keep in mind the doors opened at 3 p.m.) This fact left plenty of Jack FM fans angry and promising this would not only be the last Jack FM event they'd attend, but that they'd be asking for a refund. Matter of fact, as you walked into the venue a crew was on hand to "upgrade your tickets" for an extra $10. Imagine the rage of the people who paid this "upgrade fee" only to find out they would not be able to access their seats until well after 7 p.m. Not cool, Jack FM. Not cool at all.
After two mediocre cover bands (M80's and Metal Shop), Marcy Playground hit the Festival Stage at 4:30 p.m. For the 300 people that could actually stand in front of the stage (and the thousands that couldn't even see the stage) they brought back memories of high school with a few songs including their hit, "Sex and Candy." The crowd while responsive, was clearly still holding a grudge about not being able to get to their seats.
At 5:15 p.m. Dramarama took the baby stage and sang way too many songs I've never heard in my life. They sounded good but really, the only song that mattered to me personally was "Anything Anything." Not that it really mattered because at this point I couldn't see anything but floating heads because I am only 5' 2". This didn't stop plenty of people from pushing and shoving their way in front of me to park their 6 foot tall selves in the way...yes hipster asshole in the blue fedora I am talking to you. This is yet another reason seats would have been great.
Finally Sir Mix-A-Lot jumped on stage with the help of some hype men, and he probably gave the best show...all 15 minutes of it. He actually said, "You give me 10 minutes in a closet and I'm gonna put it down!" I guess we should be lucky we got an extra five minutes. By the time Sir Mix-A-Lot sang, "Baby Got Back" (four minutes later) people were restless and shoving while trying to channel their inner stripper grinding to the club classic. One asshole in particular tried to "dance" his way past the woman standing next to me and when he pushed her, her husband came out of nowhere and a fight literally broke out a foot from me. Lucky for me I'm quick and was able to move but "Baby Got Back" will be forever changed for me.
Everclear was next and by this time, people were not having it. They sounded great but by 6:30 p.m. people were tired of standing, complaining, and pretty wasted. I thought Everclear rocked out pretty hard with "I Will Buy You a New Life" and "Father of Mine," and I rather enjoyed their cover of "Brown Eyed Girl" even though I have blue eyes. On the other side of that, I also think that when bands cover a song they don't have enough hits of their own. They also must have not realized they were in the heart of Orange County because they said, "We love L.A.!" What the fuck?
FINALLY the nonresponsive staff at Verizon Amphitheater opened the gates to the main stage so the angry mob could find their seats. At this point pretty much everyone was super drunk and tired but when Heart hit the stage at 7:50 p.m., they mustered up the excitement to cheer them, bounce beach balls around (that were taken away by the haters that staff the venue), and to sing along.
The woman in front of me even gave her husband the raunchiest and drunkest lap dance I have ever seen. It was almost better than the show. Heart though, well they sounded amazing as ever. They looked great and the stage was set with LED lit panels that flashed graphic that matched the music. They sang hits "Magic Man," "Heartless," and "Straight On," and then got into the introduction of the band with Nancy introducing Ann and vice versa. Ann told the crowd they were, "here to rock and roll" and that is exactly what they did. Covering their greatest hits they followed with "Listen to Your Heart," "What About Love," "These Dreams," "Alone," "Crazy on You," and "Barracuda." They seriously rocked the house and as it ended, Nancy turned her guitar over to reveal a huge US Marine Corps sticker on the back of it, fitting on the eve of 9/11. An encore was to be expected and Heart used it to cover the Led Zeppelin song as "The Battle of Evermore" well as a cover of The Who's, "Love Reign O'er Me." Two thumbs up for Heart. Not sure it was worth standing for four hours and 50 minutes prior, but they did make it worthwhile at least for me.
Completely exhausted and buzzes wearing off, Def Leppard took the stage at 9 p.m. with a new song called, "Undefeated." They followed that up with "Let Get Rocked" and it was evident that this crowd really came to see Def Leppard all along. Once again finding their energy, the crowd was on their feet most of the show while they sang their long list of hits like, Animal, Foolin, Love Bites, a cover of Rock On, and Rocket. It was at this time a drunk guy hopped on stage to remind the band that tomorrow was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and lead singer Joe Elliot said, "We were about to say that but you beat me to it. Because you are drunk." He was right...the guy was wasted. The band then dedicated an acoustic version of Two Steps Behind to, "everyone who tried to help on and after 9/11 unless you are a terrorist, then we want you to stay two steps behind." This led into Bringing on the Heartache, Hysteria, Armageddon It, and Photograph. Not to be outdone as headliners, the guys ended the show with Pour Some Sugar and Rock of Ages. To sum it up, the show was long but Def Leppard sounded exactly like they always do, perfect. They never missed a beat but I will say that the show would have been half as long if they cut out one of the MANY guitar solos. It was kind of excessive really.
In all, this show was for charity with paltry $1 from every ticket being donated to Taca (Talk About Curing Autism) but consensus says (from reading Jack FM's Facebook page) that the fans were so mad with the event they'll be giving their donations elsewhere next time. While it isn't the charity's fault, it is Jack FM's fault and if they want to redeem themselves, maybe refunds should be given in the name of Team Taca. Oh and next year, get your shit together. Just a thought.
Critic's Bias: Thank god the rain cleared up! I am ready to relive my youth with the crazy random line-up...after we tailgate a bit of course!
The Crowd: While they came to have a good time, the all-around vibe was angry, complaining, drunk, and rowdy. That aside, I will say I saw some people overly enjoying themselves. I sense the full day of drinking also had something to do with that.
Overheard in the Crowd:
"We had to come back to the car to bring back our water and next they'll probably turn away cleavage! Then they'll be cracking down on ass cleavage!"
"That kid is waaaayy too young to be smoking!"
"Pour some oil on me!! Ohhh in the name of love!"
"I paid for seats so my pregnant wife could sit down and now she has to stand for hours on end?? I want a refund!"
"I am never coming to another Jack FM event again!"
"Get the fuck up and dance!"
Random notebook dump: While I was glad to see that Def Leppard's lead singer Joe Elliot got rid of his feathered mullet, I noticed he has the same microphone as Taylor Swift. It seems a little more "pop" than "rock" but we'll let it slide since Def Leppard is legendary.
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