OMFG, this weekend was amazing.
Friday night: Reel Big Fish at Club Nokia, opening acts Supervillians and English Beat.
First of all, let me say that I hate this new trend starting in some of the larger/higher-end clubs: needing a special wristband in order to get access to the pit. Sometimes they charge extra, sometimes it's first come-first serve. Either way, it's stupid. A lot of the younger patrons aren't going to pay the extra fees, yet they're going to be the ones who want access, which just results in more people sneaking in, which then results in more people getting kicked out. And ya know what that leads to? Less people going to concerts. Even when it's first-come-first-serve, it's for the intent of limiting the amount of people in the pit, when there's no real accurate way of measuring the amount of people in the pit at any given time, wristband or not. All it does it create a huge pain in the ass for those of us who like being close to the stage and having enough space for a good circle pit.
The first act was half an hour late going on stage, which along with the whole wristband thing, pissed me off. However, once they started (and I got past a distracted guard), things got good real quick. I also noticed that there's a greater sense of unity at ska shows than with other crowds. People aren't assholes. They'll pick you up if you fall down. They'll lend you a dollar if you can't afford an overpriced bottle of water (but need it because you're sweating like a mofo). They'll move for people who can't see. It's all part of why I love ska so much. Go to any other show, and I doubt you'll get the same treatment.
Once my body's profuse sweating betrayed me for the zillionth time and I had to leave the pit to get some water, I couldn't get back in. However, this group of guys, all dressed up with their pork-pie hats and two tone suits, started a good skanking circle during English Beat. In general, I'm not the biggest fan of the Beat, but they're great for dancing.
Reel Big Fish was amazing, even though I was seeing them for the zillionth time. They might be getting older, fatter, and balder, but I STILL LOVE THEM. I just wish I had been closer so I could flirt with Little Johnny Christmas, and/or get noticed for wearing a tube top when they played "Ban The Tube Top." Note: skanking in a tube top is generally not a great idea.
Saturday night: No Doubt at Verizon Amphitheater, opening acts The Sounds and Paramore
My calves being insanely sore from the previous night, I really did not feel like making the trek up to the lawn seating area, nor did I feel like making a mad rush in hopes of getting a good spot. In fact, I didn't really even want to walk across the parking lot (which you have to pay $20 for a decent parking place in) to go sit in line.
Once getting situated, the venue kept a tight schedule. The Sounds started at 7:15 on the dot, and played an amazing half-hour set. I get the feeling I'll be buying their album soon. Paramore went on at 8:15 and, eehhhhh
. Everything they did sounded the same.
No Doubt went one at 9:15 and HOLY FUCKING FUCK. They opened with Spiderwebs, one of my favorite songs. The set design was all white, and the members were clad in black and white mod outfits. Gwen also has the best abs ever
. And she's such a little fireball of energy. Holy shit. And she sounds AMAZING. It's all too much to describe without simply running around in a circle screaming from an overdose of awesomeness.
The band's really gotten in touch with their ska roots. They played a hefty amount from the album Tragic Kingdom, and introduced the two horn players as part of the band. Gwen even donned a checkered outfit which she changed into while the rest of band played Guns of Navarone, a horn-heavy arrangement originally done by the Skatalites.
And omg, the old footage shown while they played Running.
AHDFBJSADFHF IT WAS SO AMAZING. It was everything I wanted and more. Oh man. I'm almost crying now. No Doubt has been one of my favorite bands since I've been in 5th grade. And to see them in Orange fucking County. And Adrian Young in his tutu and thigh-highs. And just EVERYTHING.