So we're sitting around the pool with some friends last Friday and the subject of concerts came up. My buddy says Cheap Trick and Squeeze are coming to the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia next week and we should all go. The Mrs (surprisingly) is up for this and she wants to take the Boy and the Pudge. I said "OK hon, get the tickets". The Mrs tells the boys and they're stoked for it. The Boy has been to a couple of local concerts including Paul Rodgers this past 4th of July. This would be the Pudge's first concert. Fine.
Well, come Sunday, my buddy and his family bailed and the Mrs tells me she has to take her sister out that night for her sister's 50th birthday dinner. That leaves me (set up) taking the boys. So I buy 3 tickets and I'm set for this Friday.
Now, my across-the-street neighbor has always maintained that he was a roadie for Cheap Trick about 10 years ago and still stays in touch with them. The Boy tells him we're going to the concert and he says he is too and can get us backstage. I say "fine" but I'm skeptical.
We get to the Mann around 7:00PM for a 7:30PM show. Not a big crowd (maybe 8 - 10,000) and the Mann is an outdoor amphitheater with covered and lawn seating. We have tickets in the 2nd section back about 125 feet from stage. Pretty good seats I think. So we take our seats and get ready for the opening act - Squeeze. Low and behold, there's my neighbor and he comes up and gives us three of these and says to meet him on the left side of the stage at 8:25:
Squeeze comes on and I know Black Coffee in Bed, Annie Get Your Gun and Cool for Cats. Surprisingly, so does the Boy and he's only 17. There are a lot of Squeeze fans in the audience and, from overhearing conversations, a lot of British accents. The Pudge is a little bored because he doesn't know any of the songs but is kind of mesmerized by the spectacle surrounding him. Interestingly, I don't smell any pot and notice quite a few families. Not the concerts I remember from 20 plus years ago.
So, at 8:25 we meet my neighbor at the designated place with about a dozen other people and are escorted into a small room (full of laundry machines and bad lighting as you will see) and in walks - Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson. Are you fuckin' kidding me.
Here are the bad telephone camera pictures to prove it:
This is the view we had when the Boy took the Pudge up front, then came back and got me. We were there for about 15 minutes until security made us leave. We went to another place for a few minutes that was even closer to the stage (about 20 feet). Awesome. Rick has about a thousand guitar picks taped to his mic stand he constantly tosses them into the stands like death stars. It's pretty cool. He also brought out his trademark 5-neck Hamer guitar.
Their finale was Dream Police and it was very much like this clip I lifted from a January 2010 concert down in Atlantic City. Same stage setting but what we heard sounded much better.