Backstage with Baldy
Rockford – May 25th
The final show of this month-long run was an all day outdoor festival held on a racetrack in Rockford, Illinois.
And appropriately enough, it was called the Wing Ding.
It was also the fourth show of four in a row, which no one in the band could remember doing before. Three in a rows are fairly common, and those are enough to send you into your day off with a glazed look in your eyes, so four in a row is the touring equivalent of running the Boston Marathon then walking home to Cleveland.
But no one was complaining, because a break was right around the corner.
I observed a few things while watching the fans at the WXRX Wing Ding.
First off, as is the case with most day long concerts, the crowd skewed a bit younger than what we usually see.
As the years have gone on and this band has moved forward, they’ve had the good fortune of not only having their fan base continue to show up at concerts, but they’ve picked up newer, younger fans along the way.
At a typical show, I would guess that the median age is somewhere in the upper 30’s or low 40’s, with plenty of people younger than that as well.
However, the crowd at the Wing Ding was easily mostly in their 20’s.
And as is typical for a rock crowd in their 20’s, they like to get drunk and go nuts.
People in their 30’s and 40’s drink and go nuts too, but it turns out there’s one major difference separating the groups: throwing stuff.
With age comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes the knowledge that buying beer at a rock show is expensive.
An older, wiser concert goer will say to themselves, “This 18 ounce beer cost me 10 bucks. I’m going to enjoy every last sip.”
Whereas a dude in his 20’s thinks, “I’m f*#^ed up! I love this song! I wonder how far I can chuck this half empty beer?!!”
And that thought was clearly popular in Rockford tonight,
The Wing Ding was selling beer in miniature pitchers.
Miniature is actually the wrong word though, because they were bigger than an average cup size.
Anyway, I can report that the night skies were filled with partially full flying plastic beer pitchers.
Two songs into the set I had one zip over my head and spray my camera with lukewarm Budweiser, so I took that as my cue to leave the racetrack field and make my way back to the safe (and dry) area on the side of the stage.
That’s when I observed a young couple that stood out from everyone else.
The guy was actually pretty typical looking, but the young woman with him wasn’t sporting the standard rock attire.
She was wearing a wedding dress.
It was a nice one too.
And as Martha Stewart has said over and over again, “Nothing brings out the traditional white color of a wedding dress quite like a couple of beer stains and the accumulated dust and dirt of a day spent on the infield of a racetrack watching rock bands.”
So Alice In Chains provided the final 90 minutes of the soundtrack to this wedding celebration and flying beer extravaganza, and just like that, the show was over, the night was over, and this leg of the tour was over.
We now have 3 weeks to go home and burrow into our caves and hide for a while before heading over to Europe and seeing just how far their 20 year olds can launch a half-empty beer.
I’ll provide the details in June…