Soundgarden/Queens Of The Stone Age/Mastodon/Meat Puppets 07/30/11
Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA
Words/Photos by Jakobross424
On July 30, two epic concerts graced the west coast. One of them was LA Rising, which featured Rage Against the Machine, Muse, and Rise Against. The other was at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington. The bands included Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon and Meat Puppets. Many other Concert Confessions writers were there that night, so here was one side to the same story. My dad and I got to the Gorge with little to no trouble. We didn’t get lost, there was no traffic, we got a good parking spot, and we arrived an hour and a half before doors opened. So with time to kill, we cranked up the Echo Movement and we chilled. At around 3:15 or so, a heavy metal looking dude with a nipple ring came up to us and asked us if we wanted to buy a shirt. I’d experienced this before, it was a bootleg. But it was cool and $20, so we bought it. I looked at the back where it showed all the bands, and saw a picture of Pearl Jam above the Queens of the Stone Age logo. Upon questioning the heavy metal looking dude, we found out that there was a rumor that Pearl Jam would play a few songs and that got me even more excited about the show.
Before going into the line, my dad had to get his wrist band so he could purchase alcohol, which is funny because I don’t think he drank at all that night. So we are in that line and it’s my dad’s turn and I am right behind him. My dad hands the dude his ID, and receives his wrist band. I wanted to have a little fun, so I said to the security guy, “I forgot my ID at home,” which got a laugh. We went to the real line at about 3:30 and we were towards the front of one of the lines. First, the VIP/Fan Club members were let in and then us regular people were let in. When we got inside, I bought a legal shirt and my dad bought a Queens of the Stone Age shirt. We bought some water to fill our Camelbak with, and we made our way to the amphitheater in hopes to find something to do for two hours until Meat Puppets came on. We sat in the shade, ate some mediocre food, and at about 5:30, we stood up in the crowd to wait for the Meat Puppets.
After a quick sound check, I immediately saw Curt Kirkwood arrive on stage, followed by the drummer (whatever his name is) and Curt’s brother Cris. They immediately broke into “Oh, Me” and they were jamming out. Curt didn’t sound great, but I wouldn’t expect him to since that song was written almost thirty years ago. Next was “Sam,” the song I was looking forward to most. If you don’t know the song, Curt and Cris both sing incredibly fast. Like 400 words a minute or something. And it’s great to see that they both still know the words and can sing them without any mistake.
Then they played “Plateau,” an odd song about nothing in particular, I think. After that, they played their biggest main stream hit “Backwater,” which sounded amazing. The Kirkwood brothers’ harmonies together sounded better than Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus by a mile. After that they played “Sloop John B,” a song originally written by the Beach Boys. Then they finished their too-short set with “Lake of Fire,” which, for some reason, induced a mosh pit. People are stupid when they are drunk. Meat Puppets finished their elongated jam version of “Lake of Fire,” and if there was anything I could’ve changed about the entire show, it would’ve been that Meat Puppets would’ve played longer. They were so great, and even at the ripe old age of 50-something, the Kirkwood brothers can still rock harder than Black Veil Brides ever will.
Sort of at the last minute, I decided that I didn’t care to see Mastodon. So my dad and I walked around, shared a funnel cake, and listened for the cue that Mastodon was done. When they finished playing “Blood and Thunder,” they left the stage and my dad and I went into the pit to wait for Queens of the Stone Age.
The roadies started setting up the back drop for Queens of the Stone Age, which was the detective notes for the assassination of JFK. Why they chose that, I will never know. Somewhere around 8:00, QOTSA came on stage. Josh Homme spoke in his lovely country accent, telling us how beautiful the Gorge was and how happy they were to open for Soundgarden. QOTSA broke into “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I’m a Millionaire,” which was a relatively short song. Afterwards they played “3’s and 7’s” and the hits just kept coming. They played songs like “Burn the Witch,” “Little Sister,” “Go With the Flow,” “No One Knows,” and “A Song for the Dead.”
The band sounded so great and the crowd was really into it. The problem was the two moshing idiots in front of me. One of them looked like the creepy dude in the Die Antwoord “Enter the Ninja” video.
When QOTSA left the stage, my dad decided he didn’t want to be in the pit during Soundgarden, so he left and went to the very back, while I stayed where I was. Some dude made his way through the crowd with his hand up to his mouth. He passed me and a few others, and then found out what happens when you drink a lot of alcohol.
After a sound check and some technical difficulties involving the images on the screen, we were ready to let the Sun set on the Gorge while Soundgarden jammed away. We heard some feedback and then what was certainly the opening bit of “Searching With My Good Eye Closed,” (This is my good eye; do you know a cow; a pig says; this is a rooster; the Devil says.) The band broke into that song and played it like it was nobody’s business. Chris Cornell sounded better than I expected him to. Ben Shepherd wandered the stage, made funny faces, and was a very entertaining performer. Matt Cameron banged the drums like a gun was being held to his head. And Kim Thayil looked like a gun was being held to his head if he didn’t reunite with Soundgarden. He had a smile on his face, but it didn’t seem like he was enjoying any part of it.
Soundgarden broke into hit after hit. They played “Spoonman,” “Blow Up the Outside World,” “The Day I Tried to Live,” “Superunknown,” “Slaves and Bulldozers,” “Black Hole Sun,” “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage,” and so many more that I can’t even remember. They even played some old songs like “Gun” and “Beyond the Wheel.”
I was in a lot of pain after the show, and my hopes that Pearl Jam would come out were crushed. No Pearl Jam. Just Matt Cameron. Not even Eddie Vedder would come out and play “Hunger Strike” with Soundgarden. It wouldn’t be much of a Temple of the Dog reunion since 5/6 of TOTD is Pearl Jam, but whatever. All in all, one of the best shows I have ever seen.
So I hope that Justito had a good time at the RATM show, because I definitely did. Unfortunately I didn’t run into any of my Concert Confessions peers, but I met a guy named Jeremy who saw Slightly Stoopid last weekend. That’s just as good, right?