I always wanted to be a scream queen. And, for one night in San Jose, my wish was fulfilled. Only the director was singing on stage and I was screaming unfilmed from the rail.
My experience really couldn’t have been more different from the Halloween Zombie show on Saturday in LA. This was mostly because I decided to buy a VIP upgrade to my ticket so that I could meet Rob Zombie. I was on my own for this one, and my solo adventures are always….interesting.
Besides being totally fangirly about Rob Zombie, I was really interested in how this I Love All Access thing would work. The only other meet and greet I ever did were the NIN ones, but that was through the band and just entirely different. I had seen these kinds of packages for sale before, but never for an artist that I cared for. It ended up being a helluva deal.
It took me an hour and a half to get to the venue’s parking garage (parking was free with the upgrade) from SF. I was starting to stress but ended up arriving at the meeting spot exactly on time at 4:45p. There were about 30 in the group, and we were quickly checked in and given laminates and envelopes. Inside the envelopes were 2 drink coupons and a raffle ticket. We were escorted inside and get to walk across the main venue floor where Captain Clegg is getting ready to soundcheck. We were taken into a medium sized room where we are able to get drinks and snacks. I had a glass and a half of local Chardonnay out of a plastic wine glass- how perfect!. We were told that Rob will be coming in at 5:35-5:40pm (precise!) and that we were allowed one item signed and the I Love All Access rep would take the picture with her camera, and she would upload it for us that evening. We were instructed to not be afraid to give him some fanfare when he entered the room, and that we were allowed a couple minutes to chat because he didn’t want it to be a rushed thing, but to please not grab onto him or kiss him because they are trying to keep him well as this is only the fifth show of the tour.
He comes in the room at precisely the right time, everyone claps and cheers, and the meet and greet begins. You had to go with the members of your party, so since most people were in couples or threes, it went fast. I had the ticket stub from my White Zombie / Pantera show in 1996 for him to sign clutched in my hand. I had carefully pried it out of it’s home where it had rested for 13 years the night before.
It’s my turn. I walk up to him and say, “Hi Rob, I’m Jamie”. He looks at me and says something like “hey, I have those pants, too”. I giggle. I hand him my ticket and explain that this was my first metal show, and that considering I write a rock and metal music site now, this is pretty monumental for me. He looks at it and goes, “let’s see, where was this…” and I say San Antonio. He carefully signed it and handed it to me and asks, “do you remember it?” That caught me off guard, because I wrote that whole piece linked above about how I wish I could remember it more. So I said, “not really….?” And he said, “Yeah, me neither”. And then it was picture time. I kinda stood there and he stood next to me, and then he put his arm around me and stuck his fist in the air. I said thanks and that was that! It was awesome. And no, I didn’t ask him anything about being scared.
After that we were given our goodie bags that came with the upgrade and got to hang out and finish our drinks. The bag contents were: a thermal shirt, a drink cosey, a bottle opener, and a dog tag. Pretty cool! Then they had a raffle for several various shirts. One ticket number called was 666, to which everyone was pretty psyched about, and then the last one was one little number off from mine 🙁
Then we were taken up to merch, where we could buy stuff and then take it out to our car and come back in before everyone else was let in. I grabbed a….guess….poster and ran everything out to my car. I made it back and could walk right in and up to the completely empty rail. Sigh…so easy and stress free to get the best spot in the house. That was almost worth the $125 upgrade alone. Though I had noticed that when I arrived at 4:45- slightly less than two hours before doors, there were only about 10 or 15 people queued in the normal line. NIN is certainly different from most bands.
I killed the hour easily chatting with my rail neighbors. Then, promptly at 7:30p, Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures came out. No Uncle Seymour tonight! As soon as they came out is when I got really excited realizing how awesome this spot was in comparison to Saturday’s. I really enjoyed them- especially because I could watch Dayton’s guitar work. Their songs are really fun, and they have to be with titles like, “I Was at Home Getting Hammered While She Was Out Getting Nailed”.
There’s something cool about Nekromantix, but their rockabilly weighed heavily on my ears after a while, as it did on Saturday.
And then it was time. It kicked off with a snippet of El Superbeasto, and then Clufetos walked out to the drums, and Piggy D and John 5 walked up through the cold fog wearing their skull masks. The mash up of ‘Sawdust in the Blood’ and ‘Electric Head’ Pt. 1 (The Agony)’ begin. And then out strolls Rob Zombie.
It’s weird to go from two normal people standing in a room making small talk to assuming our proper roles- he, the psycho cowboy rocker from hell, and me, professional front row fangirl. He’s maneuvering the stage with his part kung fu, part male go-go dancer moves, working the front, the back, the sides- he’s all over the place. As with Saturday, he’s having serious mic issues- it was even worse this time. The beginning of ‘Superbeast’ was lost and he was storming towards the sound guy. He made up for it by jumping offstage and coming into the crowd, starting at one end of the rail and walking over to mine, where he stopped right in front of me and sang on top of me. HE SANG ON TOP OF ME! My eyes were exactly level with that little hole on his left hip pocket….HAHAHA…..but I leaned back and just grabbed onto his leg for balance. It was rad.
The crowd was pretty rough at the beginning, and there was one priceless moment where Rob was right in front of me on one of the blocks and security pulled an empty wheelchair out of the pit and you could hear him go “what the fuck?” mid song. He talked of playing this venue before when there were no cameras in the crowd…I know, GUILTY, but this band is just so damn photogenic. I was actually worried about my new camera so I barely used it, and was really into the moment of this performance so I even kept my tweeting to a minimum…I know, shocker. It felt great to be front and center at a big rock show again…it’s so exciting.
Part of this excitement was watching John 5….one of my favorite guitarists. I went to his Guitar Center session last year and it was awesome. I love his aesthetic- he looks like he’s escaped a mental asylum to play on that stage. He darts around with his guitar, often coming up to the blocks in the front but dashing away before I can take a picture. When he was in front of me I would get this huge grin on my face, and when he’d look up he’d stick his tongue out. Every time. It got to the point that I started doing it back at the end. Tit for tat. He handed picks out to lots of people around me, but I never got one. 🙁
At one point he played riffs from ‘Jessie’s Girl’ (to which Rob exclaimed ‘this crowd had too many smiles when you did that’) into ‘Back in Black’ (I think) into MJ’s ‘Black or White’ and ‘Thriller’ (Rob said ‘too soon’) into the theme from The Munsters. His solo in the middle of ‘Thunderkiss ’65’ showed off his speed, skill, and variety of playing styles…..love me some John 5.
Piggy D is fun to watch as well….he mouths along to every word for every song it seems. He’s really good with the crowd and emotes a sense of being dark yet funny. He’s very animated.
Tommy Clufetos…..rawr. That is all. Kidding. He’s a very focused drummer- no flashiness or headbanging….just perfectly executing every beat with a vengeance. He keeps his eyes on the three up front from his perch, making sure the foundation for the music never falters.
There’s a lot of crowd participation type stuff at a Zombie show- and normally I am not down for that kind of thing- but here I’m all about it. It’s fun to be part of the show when you believe in the performance. I’m clapping, I’m yelling as instructed, I’m a Zombie cheerleader.
During the new song ‘What?’, something happened at the rail that I can add to my list of ‘never seen that before!’. The poor guy next to me got sick- I hadn’t even noticed it until I saw the security guard bringing a bucket over for him to puke in….then I looked down and it was everywhere. Then the guard told him he needed to come out, and he did not want to, so they fought about it on top of me through the whole song. He finally came out, and security laid some towels on the ground…and the show went on.
I spent the last part of the show soaking up my final moments with Zombie. I thought about how it’s interesting that I can be just as into this as a NIN show, but it’s just a completely different part of my personality. At NIN, I cry during songs, and it’s generally like an exorcism of deep dark painful feelings. At a Zombie show, I just have fun. I think about things like I’m in a movie- I’m choreographing dance moves in my head- since I spent over half my life thinking I was going to be a professional dancer, sometimes that type of thing inhabits my thoughts. I think about campy horror films and meaningless yet totally fun sex. These are the kinds of things that Rob Zombie’s music evokes in me, and I make no apologies about it.
And then it was over. I stood there hoping to get one of the remaining John 5 guitar picks from the tech, and sure enough he threw them out onto the floor. As I bent down to pick it up, a security guard stepped on it and picked it up himself. Imagine this in slow motion…HRC bends down and goes “NOOOOO!” as his foot comes down inches from my fingertips. And then I’m tackled from behind by someone. I stand up and brush myself off and say ‘What. A. Dick”. Then I spin on my heels and leave in a huff.
So there you go….two excitement-filled shows with Rob Zombie. And since I know they are touring most of next year…stay tuned for part two.
1. What Lurks on Channel X?
3. Super-Charger Heaven
4. Living Dead Girl
5. Demon Speeding
6. More Human Than Human
7. Sick Bubble-Gum
8. House Of 1000 Corpses
9. Drum Solo
10. Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
11. Scum of the Earth
13. Thunder Kiss ’65
15. American Witch
16. Werewolf Women of the SS
17. Lords Of Salem