Saturday, October 14

Hollywood Bowl

Silly me. The sign said "Def Leppard Journey," so I thought "Journey" was the name of the tour. Someone asked me on the entrance line if I had come to see Journey and I thought he was kidding. It didn't even occur to me that it was the band Journey (formerly my favorite band) until they got on stage...
It was at the Hollywood Bowl, a huge amphitheater built into a mountain. I was seated way up top, happy again to have such a good camera. (I used to bring binoculars to concerts, but those don't have image stabilization, so I think I can officially declare my binoculars obsolete.) Journey was on first, for an hour and a half, then they changed the stage for 15 minutes or so and Def Leppard did two hours. The girls behind me shouting along with every song were tone deaf, but it's all part of the fun. In a way it's funny that these guys who were huge in the 70's can still sell out a show and still have kids singing their lyrics by heart. Rockers never get old, I guess. Or as Neil Young sang and Def Leppard sings in one of their intros, "it's better to burn out than to fade away." Amen. I'd rather do neither, though, given such a three-option choice.
One thing they didn't have in the 70's is the huge high-definition screens that cover the back of the stage and the sides, adding a whole new dimension to the performance. Oh, and I almost cracked up when Steve Perry called for everyone to shine a light - by opening their cell phones! (In the 21st century, lighters are a fire hazard...)
The drummer for Def Leppard has one arm - he lost the other in a car accident years ago - so he plays with one arm and lots of foot pedals, which is pretty amazing.
The only problem was, the Bowl seats 18,000, it was almost sold out, and everyone drove there in a car. By some miracle they had enough parking, but it also turned the freeway into a parking lot. And it was raining the whole way in, until about halfway into the concert. (Umbrellas weren't allowed into the Bowl, but I managed to sneak my backpack - which happened to have an umbrella in it - past the security guard without it being checked, so they didn't make me leave it at the information desk, a good thing because the line to retrieve checked items at the end was a mile long.)
The traffic going in gave me a chance to enjoy the absurdly dangerous but legal practice (only in California) of lane splitting (or lane "sharing" as they call it). That basically means motorcycles are legally allowed to create a lane wherever we feel like it, between cars, between lanes, just about anywhere but the shoulder I think, so long as it's "safe and prudent." (We can also use the carpool lanes which is nice. The AMA must have a very strong lobby in this state, though the mandatory helmet law must have been a painful concession...) Anyway, with traffic at a standstill, lanes wide enough for several motorcycles, and without all the gear on my bike, I gained a little time (and lost a few heartbeats) by doing that. The drivers are used to it so they don't mind.
They even had a special area of the Bowl parking lot designated for motorcycles, a very smart and space-saving idea. Altogether I'd have to say California is a very motorcycle-friendly state.

(I uploaded a video collage but it's still "processing" so I'll post it later.)


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