Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Iron Fist Over Disneyland

House Of Blues, Anaheim, CA

September 2, 2008

On this date 25 years ago I was seeing this show in Berkeley:

Come to think of it, during that same Summer 25 years ago I also saw Motörhead twice on the Another Perfect Day Tour. It's trippy that I've been seeing the band for over half my life so far (!!).. Hope I die before I get old.

I admit that I've taken Motörhead for granted in the same way I took the Ramones for granted... When I was a young Music Geek these bands were always there and it seemed like they'd always be there; now I wish I could see the Ramones live one more time. I won't make the same mistake with Motörhead and Lemmy.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and I found myself on the grounds of Disneyland walking towards a recital by Lemmy & Co.. Although METAL is always my mission, I was also tasked with escorting some business partners to the show to meet with Motörhead's manager. Weird, right?

It was oddly fascist that Motörhead's own All Access laminates were useless within the confines of the House Of Blues. In order to navigate backstage at this venue the most powerful item was a plain white paper wristband with the House Of Blues logo printed on it. Weird.

After navigating the venue's policies, I escorted my business peeps backstage where we then had to locate Motörhead's manager for our scheduled meeting. The best place to start when you're lost backstage is to ask someone wearing a laminate and a walkie talkie for help, which I did. The dude turned out to be Phil Campbell's guitar tech and I must go on record right now and say that Motörhead has some of the nicest crew guys I've ever met; they were not assholes to us civilians. The band's stage manager went out of his way to assist us and even set us up with front row balcony seats in the VIP section. Thanks Adam!

Yes, we were able to pay our respects to Lemmy in his dressing room. Yes, he was smoking. Yes, he was drinking. Yes, he shook our hands. Yes, he made sure the female in our group stood next to him for the photo. Yes, he's cool as fuck.

To be honest, I hadn't seen Motörhead headline a show in years... and since I'd just seen them a couple of days before at the Metal Masters Tour I was curious to see what they'd fill their setlist with.. and I wasn't disappointed. A nice addition was the Thin Lizzy 'Rosalie / Cowgirl's Song' cover dedicated to Phil Lynott... and also 'I Got Mine', which has been an Umlaut favorite since Lemmy & Co. first played it 25 years ago:

Vid by Umlaut

At one point, a kind woman in the balcony flashed her tits at Lemmy, which he acknowledged by dedicating the next song to her. Lemmy!! Always the gentleman.

Every once in awhile I hear a song and it's like I've entered a time machine. Such a moment happened when Lemmy hit the notes to start the main set's final song 'Iron Fist'... The song is one of my favorite MH songs and I was hit by a wave of nostalgia... or maybe it was the 4 beers that my business associates had bought me over the past couple of hours. Either way, it was a magic moment in the Magic Kingdom.

For the encore, the band pulled a surprise move and played the acoustic 'Whorehouse Blues' with the entire band at the front of the stage: Phil on acoustic guitar, Mikkey on acoustic guitar AND bass drum and high hat, and Lemmy on vocals and HARMONICA! WOW.. Why hasn't Motörhead toured with Social Distortion or the Reverend Horton Heat?? It makes complete sense to me... After that musical surprise, it was then a sprint to the finish via 'Ace Of Spades' > 'Overkill'. Whew... There was alot of sweat and bruises in the house for sure.

The two bummers of the night were (1) Airbourne having dropped off the tour due to a medical emergency with a band member and (2) Umlaut failing to meet up with his Old Metal brutha Cuevas at the show. Thankfully we touched bases immediately after the show via cell and I ranted about 'Iron Fist'... and thankfully Cuevas sent over his report of the night:

You know, I have to say you were totally right about 'IRON FIST'. I had the same misty eyed, sentimental reaction; made me think of certain times, certain people – an era. It was a trip. It made me smile. Shit, I had a big stupid grin on my face the whole time. I mean it’s not like I need to hear 'Stay Clean' or 'Over the Top' for the thousandth time, but when they busted em’ out and THE MAN is right there in front of ya, phew! What can I say? I was moved. I was 16 again!

Plus, they played all my favorite newer tunes ('Tragedy', 'Be My Baby', etc.). It was also fun getting caught in the “surge” up front and watching a lot of the 20-somethings weaken, or get all uptight about having people crush up against ‘em. I had several elbows shoved into my ribs (like it was MY fault). Didn’t even feel ‘em. Fucking pussies. No etiquette, no brother/sisterhood. Posers didn’t even know what the Lizzy medley was all about. Pathetic! It’s not church, it’s fucking MOTÖRHEAD. I stood down for the last couple numbers and encore, soaked to the bone. Talk about sweatin’ to the oldies!

Number of times I was carded: TWICE! I mean, maybe I really WAS 16 for the night!!

Word, brutha! When we do meet up again the first round will be on me; at least Old San Francisco Metal was represented at Disneyland for the night!

I didn't do a merch audit, and I probably won't until further notice. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. As I typed this I was also illegally downloading the new Metallica album... I'm going to Hell, aren't I? For the record, it's their best album in 17 years... but, for the record, it's not as good as the new Motörhead album. Seriously.