Dallas- Big D
Gas Monkey Live
So, as I mentioned previously, I was looking forward to comparing the audiences for the three shows. Well, Dallas was about the same as Houston, but one difference was the early arrivals were enjoying some tailgating in the parking lot. The early evening air was mild and breezy, making for a good time to chat with my fellow concert-goers and compare stories. I ran into some of the fans I met in Houston. They flew in from Sacramento, Ca for the first two shows. One self-professed UFO fan said that this would be his 55th show.
From the stories I had heard regarding Gas Monkey Live, it would be a better venue from lighting to the pit. That was the absolute truth. The photo pit was a good six feet wide, compared to the Scout Bar where it was barely wide enough to squeeze by another photographer. The lights were first class. There were so many it would sear your retinas through the lens if you were not careful. Jared James Nichols kicked it off once again. Even tossing in a classic uncle Ted- Cat Scratch Fever in addition to Mississippi Queen. They are most definitely a band that is going places.
The second night, Saxon played direct support to UFO. They blew the place apart. It was basically the same set as Houston, but I was interested in the audience’s reaction to “Dallas 1 pm.” The song is about the saddest day in this city’s history, the story of JFK’s assassination. As sad a story as it is, the audience went crazy when it was played. The lights, as I mentioned, were spectacular. A full compendium of lighting. From swirling spots to digital backdrop and blasting strobes, it was a photographer’s wonderland. The venue had two videographers filming the show and projecting it up on two massive screens on either side of the stage. A must for anyone unlucky enough to be in the back area of the building. The crowd chanted ,“UFO-UFO-UFO,” as the tour manager walked the stage one last time. He pointed his flashlight out to the back of the floor to get his lighting and sound guys to dim the lights. The crowd noise rose to a crescendo. Vinnie Moore was in the side stage area getting the band pumped up with jumping jacks.
Then the band was escorted to the stage. Phil wore a black jacquard jacket and vest, the dapper man that he is. Song after song, the Dallas audience ate it up. It was the same set-list as the night prior, but the main difference being the much larger stage. They had more room to wander, but as I will discuss in my upcoming interview with Rob DeLuca, sometimes bigger isn’t better.
As my “three songs and out” criteria for pit photographers had been exhausted, I had o make a difficult decision. Do I stay for the whole set? I needed to get to San Antonio as soon as possible. The 5-hour drive would be complicated by the insane bumper to bumper traffic that occurs in the Austin area, especially during the days leading up to the South by Southwest conference. The predicted rain would also make this weary rocker more edgy. I had to also prepare for my interviews with Biff Byford and Rob DeLuca. Time was fleeting and so was my ability to get enough rest in either town.
I opted for the midnight run to the Heavy Metal Capital of the World: San Antonio.