Saturday, October 14

Video from the concert

A collage of clips I took at the Hollywood Bowl last night. Press Play.

San Diego

More California highway fun this morning, with heavy traffic on 405 through L.A. More lane "sharing," this time with the road bright and dry (unlike last night). At one point I was in the regular lane doing 25 or so and a whole bunch of Harley choppers roared by in a lane of their own. (Then the Israeli part of me said "don't be a sucker" so I joined the parade, albeit much slower as I don't do this every morning on my daily commute.) The traffic cleared up later on, which meant the lanes were doing 70, 80 and 90 respectively. I was in the carpool lane (allowed because motorcycles don't pollute that much, or something like that) following the car in front of me and passing the cars in the left lane. There were sections with a wide area between the regular lanes and the carpool lane - about 4 feet wide and separated by yellow lines - so I used that as my own lane when the traffic slowed down again.
Route 405 turned into 5, which went all the way to San Diego, about 130 miles altogether. I continued on 5 into the city, getting off by Mission Bay. I stopped at a burger place, and as I sat eating lunch, a woman sitting at a table nearby (who had been panhandling by the entrance when I walked in) suddenly went into what appeared to be a seizure - she was sitting up one moment, then her body flopped backwards against the wall and I'd rather not describe the first I thought it was deliberate, but quickly realized even if it was, it required some kind of attention, so I went to the front desk and got the manager, who took his time coming over...he finally called 911, and I got out of there by the time the paramedics showed up. Fortunately there was a wifi cafe across the street, so I'm sitting there now enjoying a fast internet connection, mocha and a chocolate crepe.
I'm going to stay at a motel in San Diego tonight, get up early and rent a sailboat in Mission Bay for the morning, then ride to Las Vegas in time to find a motel and see Penn & Teller.

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.)

The concert was great, it was Def Leppard and Journey touring together. The traffic was exhausting, though, so I'm going to sleep now and I'll write all about it in the morning.