It was a night of clichés and familiarities last night at the Pacific Amphitheatre, some good, some not so much. Not so good cliché: Horrifically awkward looking people single handedly driving up the county average body mass index (I know – at the fair???). Oh so good clichés: a blissfully warm summer night, three hours of solid rock music, a dancing crowd, and a practically endless line of beautiful people milling around holding big glasses of beer.
Queens of the Stone Age headlined a perfect show at the fair-adjacent amphitheatre last night, one of those concerts you go to when you’re a kid. It was strongly reminiscent of that time your mom dropped you and your friends off in the parking lot, and your friend Nick pulled the two bottles of wine out of his backpack, and then you totally kissed that pretty girl, but lost track of her and never saw her again – ahem, I mean, something like that (I wonder what ever happened to her).
It’s a stunning venue, the amphitheatre, despite the security staff, who go about their jobs in a manner reminiscent of a secret service agent – a nervous one who’s kind of a dick about it. I personally witnessed at least a half-dozen people removed, one, who was shirtless and holding a half-yard of pina colada, by means of a full nelson. Listen, do NOT fuck with a man in a yellow windbreaker holding a flashlight, at least not here (cliché number four, for those still counting).
Eagles of Death Metal opened for the Queens, and what a bizarre, comical, fun set that was. Front man Jesse “The Devil” Hughes is so deliriously happy to be in a rock band that he can’t be contained to the stage, which he actually left during a song to go explore the audience, blazing smile spread across his mustachioed face.
Between sets, I was fortunate enough to overhear one of the best conversations I’ve heard in a long time: two guys, sitting in the row behind me, discussing the possibilities of “scoring some pussy” that night before coming to the conclusion that there was room for some “serious pimpification.” One then went on to inform his friend why white people can not contract the AIDS virus, explaining that he recently “took a biology class.” Yes they were white, yes they had clothes from Tilly’s, yes the bills on their hats were flat, and turned slightly to one side. They would later go on to clap on the 1s and 3s of the songs (clichés 8 through 12).
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The Queens finally arrived on stage with a fantastically creepy stage setup of lightshow chandeliers in haunted mansion style, and by this time, the crowd was sufficiently amped. Homme, still suffering from a serious knee injury hobbled across the stage, cane and guitar in hands. He made the most of it, however, by showcasing his very own, one-legged spin move. He exclaimed that despite his doctor’s recommendations, he couldn’t miss out on his “Orange Crush.” Aww shucks.
The Queens finished off a set of mostly Era Vulgaris material, with the older hits plugged in, gratefully thanked the audience before leaving – and coming back for an encore of Song For the Dead, their high-energy fan favorite, extended for the live performance.
The fans poured out drunk, happy, and half deaf, off to the fair for deep fried Snickers bars and overstuffed animals. A pack of early teen, brace-faced boys pursued a giggling gaggle of brace-faced girls into a summer night, after a memorable rock concert, drunk on the notion that there are plenty more of these nights before school starts again. Man, I love summer (cliché, cliché, cliché).
See photos of the night over here.