Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Empty (gas tank): Stone Temple Pilots @ Mohegan Sun 7/17/09

Last Friday I spent the day up in CT with a bunch of friends as we trekked up to Mohegan Sun Casino for the Stone Temple Pilots concert. I've decided I'd post this in a "running diary" format because I think it'll be easier to follow and it's kind of fun, so here you go.....

9:00 AM: Wake up in NYC, quickly pack and head out for the trip up to my old stomping grounds of southern Connecticut.

9:45 AM: Waiting for M23 crosstown bus, not coming..... as usual (I NEVER see this bus, except when I absolutely don't need to take it). Stop in the deli to grab a bagel and an orange juice. I look out the window as I'm paying and what do I see?.... the M23 bus roll by. Awesome.

10:00 AM: Head down the steps to get the 1 train on 7th avenue and arrive just in time to see it pulling away (you can tell my transportation is off to a great start, it only gets better).

10:15 AM: Another 1 train takes me up to Times Square where I transfer to the shuttle rather seamlessly and head over to Grand Central Station.

11:00 AM: Metro North (New Haven Line) to Connecticut, no issues.... here we go!

12:20 PM: After a quick meeting with my brother Andy, I meet up with my buddy Luke, the ringmaster of this great night at the casino. We proceed to stop by his place quickly before heading to our friend Tim's place on the Housatonic River down in Indian Well State Park.

Sidenote: If you've never been down there, you should take a trip. Really fun place, we've had some great days boating, tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, etc.

1:00 PM: Luke and I are the only ones at Tim's place waiting for Tim and the rest of the crew to show up and nearing our departure time (it's impossible to hit your designated time when 7 people are involved, just not going to happen). Everyone else showed up pretty quickly though...... Eric, Jen Moose, Tim, Brian, and Angela all arrived shortly and we loaded up the two cars and were on our way.

2:00 PM: As we're heading up the hill out of the park, Tim's truck begins to stall and we realize that he has no gas..... literally, we're not making it a mile down the street to the gas station. (At this point, I'm thinking maybe I'll head down to NJ to see STP the next night at the Borgata.) One good thing about Tim living on the river is that he has a lot of toys (boat, waverunner, etc.) and that meant he had a gas tank in his shed. The other car went down to get it and came back and I seriously think Tim had about 10 drops in there.

2:45 PM: We were able to get the small amount of gas into the tank and roll down the hill (most the way in neutral) into the gas station. Not a good scene but we were FINALLY on our way to Mohegan.

4:30 PM: Took us awhile to get up there with a couple pit stops but we arrived in Groton at our hotel (which is about 10 minutes away from Mohegan) and met up with our buddy Vinny in the parking lot. Eric sent us to get more beer because he was convinced that he'd drink his 30 pack of Bud on his own ( I gotta give the guy credit, I think he pretty much did between Friday and Saturday).

6:00 PM: After about an hour pre-game at the hotel, we headed over to Mohegan Sun in our hotel shuttle bus. It would have been great to stay right at Mohegan, but with 8 people that would have been pretty expensive. We chose to stay at the Best Western in Groton, CT which was a sweet deal. $120/room gets you a bed for the night, shuttle to the casino, buffet at the casino and a breakfast buffet at the hotel. Not bad for about $30 a head! This is my only picture of the day, I know it's pretty awesome...... just about to take off in the van.

6:30 PM: Anyways, after about a 10-15 minute drive, we arrived at the casino. We proceeded to stuff ourselves with a ridiculous mix of food. Only at a casino buffet do you walk back to the table with ravioli, mac & cheese, salad and a few shrimp on the same plate. Brian topped that off with his final plate consisting of ribs and a brownie sundae. Eric noted how disgusting the whole scene was, and we all agreed as we washed down our 2nd plates with mugs of Budweiser.

7:30 PM: After almost passing out from eating everything in site other than the blackjack table, we proceeded to the arena for the show. This was my first time seeing a show at this venue and it was a pretty cool place. The arena is usually used for basketball games so they have levels of seating and then also chairs for floor seating. Tim and I sat in the 2nd to last row on the floor but they were pretty good seats (at least for both of us since we're fairly tall). The rest of the crew was just a few rows up in the risers behind us with a great view of the stage.

8:05 PM: We caught a bit of the Meat Puppets and they played some of their well known songs like "Backwater" but I really dug "Lake of Fire" which I originally found out about years ago when Kurt Cobain sang it with the guys on MTV Unplugged (video below):

9:30: STP took the stage and sounded GREAT from the opening note. I caught them at the PNC Arts Center in NJ last summer and the show was a bit of a mess. The band came out almost two hours late and Weiland was really sloppy that night but they were totally different this time around. The band sounded tight and Weiland was really sharp, they played a ton of songs I wanted to hear including Big Empty, Creep, Interstate Love Song, and Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart.

I never got to see STP in their prime of the mid-90s so I really enjoyed seeing them rebound from last summer and play well this time around. All in all a real solid show and I'd definitely recommend checking them out on this tour if you've ever been a fan of the band. Full setlist is below:

Silvergun Superman
Wicked Garden
Lounge Fly
Army Ants
Big Empty
Sour Girl
Seven Caged Tigers
Interstate Love Song
Sex Type Thing
Dead and Bloated
Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart

11:00 PM: We met up after the show and gambled a bit, unfortunately nobody won big but nobody lost big either so that was a good thing. We hung out for awhile at the bar before we met up with our shuttle back to the hotel, but it was again another great night on the road checking out live music with good friends...... almost always a recipe for success (as long as you have a full tank of gas).

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