My oldest friend from elementary school and I grew up bonded with "Bay City Roller" memories and things like first crushes and first kisses with boys. I have been waiting for her to be able to travel with me and it would finally happen. Just a short trip to see Guns N' Roses, but it would be us getting away together. I was really happy! Tickets after fees and exchange were about $170 CAD each for really shitty seats.
I should start by saying: In 1990 I gave birth to my son and his middle name is “W. Axl”. My dad said, “Don’t name him that – people will call him Asshole”, :) lol.
I saw GNR in Tacoma – Summer 1991. By that time, Steven Adler was already out of the band and Matt Sorum was drumming. It was another road trip and I remember my friend singing "You Could be Mine" from the "Terminator 2" movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger on my cassette tape, all the way to Washington state - I think it was the only GNR song she knew. I remember us being on the floor at the concert. GNR started LATE - everyone was getting more bombed than they already were. It was worrisome at times that Axl was going to cancel the concert due to the crowd excitement/wastedness... What I remember most is that my friend got to piggyback some guy and then sit on his shoulders so she could see better and I was so jealous - she wasn't even a GNR fan like me, just more social! I still have their song list from that night, handwritten, tucked away somewhere in a suitcase with my old memories (I call it the "suitcase of broken dreams") and it was a night I will never forget, one of the most spectacular, memorable nights of my life...
Below is the poster I had on my bedroom wall - for years. I taped my Tacoma ticket to it.
To say that they were one of the most influential bands in my life would be an understatement, so much a part of my formative young adult years. EVERY single one of their songs has meaning to me. To see what happened to them was crushing to me and I felt awful for naming my son after Axl the misogynist. I felt they were destined for SO MUCH MORE!!! Axl not showing up to the "Rock n Roll Hall of Fame" just solidified what a douche he was...
Now, it feels full circle to be going back to Washington state to see them again….oh, and where the Seahawks play too! How exciting is that? ;) Just kidding…
I’m stoked...In fact, I’m thrilled! Time heals all wounds, right? I hope Adler will be there as I heard he’s done a performance for a few songs and I only wish that Izzy Stradlin had made the tour too. Nonetheless, I’ll take what I’m getting. This picture below reminds me of THAT place in time when I loved them with all my heart and soul. I’m going with a positive attitude and hoping it’s not anti-climactic after all this anticipation and my “appetite for destruction”...
I had giddy points of just looking at GNR and how I remember(ed) them. Then I got all teary-eyed and goofy...believe it or not, not that much wine was involved either...I went to bed at midnight.
Pic from www.rollingstone.com
My friend was due to pick me up at 8:30am. I awoke at 6:00. I had done most stuff night before except packed my clothes and toiletries, which may mean I didn't do much...I did make breakfast/lunch for the road trip and food for my son, so that is what took my evening up. I woke up and saw that "Alice in Chains" was opening for GNR. I was really happy about that too! I was TIRED this morning, I didn't sleep well and my head was stuffed up - figures...
She was right on time and we went on our way. During the drive down I remembered I had forgot my pills, as in my meds. I could see them packed into my "first-aid" bag, sitting on my dining room table...
We arrived around noon and our room was ready.
We got a two bedroom suite (family suite) for $187 USD per night. The hotel was old, but comfy and it suited our purposes. There was free parking, the area was great and had everything we needed. Below is the living room.
The doctor was nice and filled the prescription for me. They were not successful billing my insurance so provided me a receipt. The visit was $145 USD. We went back to Walgreens and they couldn't fill it so sent me to another drugstore (Bartell's) about 4 blocks away. Unfortunately Bartell's couldn't fill it either but phoned one close by our hotel who could. It was about a mile away so my friend drove me there. By the time that was all done it was about 3pm. I had a "peace of mind" and could relax now. I went to Walgreens and grabbed a bag of ice.
We sat and I had a drink and rested for a half hour. Then we got ready and I called for an Uber car. It was my first time using it and I signed up before I left and got the app on my iPhone. It was really neat - they tell you your driver, you get a picture of them and what kind of car they drive. The fare was $22 USD. I'm guessing a cab would have been about $40? We soon saw our driver "Mo", and he was taking us to a restaurant near CenturyLink which was called "Jimmy's on First" which was in the Silver Cloud Hotel.
Traffic was crazy but he dropped us right in front. We tipped him, he was really happy and we went inside. Now, before we left home, I had googled and found this place. I emailed and tried to make a reservation but they said because of the concert they don't take reservations as it would be packed. However, the director of F&B said he would make an exception for me and put me on the waiting list and we would get the first available table when we arrived. When we walked in, it was of course packed and my friend said she overhead the people in front of us being told it would be about and hour and a half wait for a table. When I went up, I told them about the waiting list, they pulled up something on the screen, and my name popped up. She said, "We have a table right now for you". That was sooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I sent him an email and thanked him when I got home.
We were starved! We ordered drinks and meals.
CRISPY FISH & CHIPS
panko crusted cod, manny’s pale ale batter, jimmy’s tartar sauce, fresh house-made slaw $15.25
CRAB MACARONI & CHEESE
cold water crab, jack, cheddar, parmesan, fontina cheeses, toasted brioche bread crumbs, jimmy’s mixed greens salad $17.75
JIMMY’S DON JULIO MARGARITA
don julio anejo tequila, agave nectar, lime sour, lime & orange $14.00
We headed for the show...the hotdogs and onions smelled so good, it made me hungry again!
My friend wanted to buy T-shirts but the line up was huge and moving very slow. T-shirts were $45 USD. We just continued on at this time. When we got in, we were directed to a "ramp" to make our way to our section which was 335. And that ramp went up and up and up! Below is a picture just after we started climbing the ramp.
Below are shots of when we finally made it up to our level.
"Alice in Chains" was on so we had completely missed Duff McKagan's daughters band which was the opening act. When we got to our level, my friend commented that she would not go up the final flight, that she was having a panic attack. I made my way up to see if she would follow eventually. Our seats were almost up at the rafter and that last hike was a doozy! I sat down and my hair was soaked! I messaged her (free WiFi!) and she told me that "they - staff" had a place us for us. So back down I went splashing my wine out of my cup with every step. :P .
They had 2 spots standing room by the wall for us. The view was definitely better. It was a beautiful night in the open air setting.
So, by the time GNR was about to start and no one had filled the seats in front of us along the railing, we moved.
I had my own seat with no one beside me as it was a wheelchair space. I got to sing at the top of my lungs and enjoy myself. The people on the level below were all standing but did not hurt my view at all.
The video above is a clip of my fave GNR song "Estranged". Axl looked in good shape and fit but his face was weird and plastic - whatever surgery he had done, did not do him justice. His voice could still reach those notes, but it seemed like he sang very low key to reach the high keys. Still great, but not as sharp as the old days.
However, Slash is timeless and really was the star of the show to me. He can play that guitar so well, I was in awe and he made me smile ear to ear.
Duff looks better with age. He was fantastic and time has served him well.
Izzy's replacement looked like him and if you didn't tell me it wasn't Izzy, I would have assumed it was...
The band barely spoke at all other than introductions from Axl for the rest of the band members. It was two and half hours of just a solid performance. I was taken back 25 years to what I loved and remembered. This show was soooo worth it to me!!! I am so happy I got to go. It was kind of like closure too which I never thought would happen: "Not in this Lifetime", which is their tour name. They ended with "Paradise City", had a fireworks show and it was brilliant! I got the song list, this time from a review:
- Catcher in the Rye
- Don’t Cry
- The Seeker
- Paradise City
Both our phones were just about dead. We tried to stop for T-shirts again but it was absolutely ridiculous. We made our way back to the Silver Cloud hotel and there were guys selling T-shirts there for $10 and $20! She bought eight. I just bought one for my son for $20. It was very nice with original GNR logo and concert info. I could not get an Uber (no cars available) and we did not see one taxi! 40,000 people attended that concert. We got out about 11:30 and it was 1am now. The hotel staff went above and beyond trying to help us out. One got us a cab but then the driver told us to get out as he had another fare. Finally another staff member got us their "town car". It cost us $60 but honestly, at that point we would have paid $100 to get home... Super great staff at that hotel!!! We got in and both went immediately to bed, however, I was so wound up in my head, I didn't fall asleep until after 3:30am...
Saturday, August 13th:
We slept in and got up sometime before noonish. Had the lunch that I had packed, sat and chatted and got caught up. Around 3pm we went back to Walgreens and then to Trader Joe's which was a couple of blocks from where we were staying.
I was so excited. I have never been to one and wanted to experience it. One of the staff told us that Canadians always buy "cookie butter". She did, I didn't. The store didn't disappoint and we filled the trunk of her car up with goodies to take home. We went to the room, snacked, blabbed and had a couple of drinks before dinner.
Dinner was at Ristorante Doria. It was about a block or two away from our hotel so we walked over.
Service was good, the food was tasty (especially the soup of the day which was crab bisque). We enjoyed the meal, some drinks and more chatter. It was about $160 USD after tip.
Complimentary bread and olive oil
My friend's "Negroni"
That delicious crab bisque
Antipasto Misto (for 2 people) --- $14.95
Linguini alle Vongole --- $18.95
Linguine and clams sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes and tomato concassé
Doria’s Tiramisu --- $7.50
We went back to the room, had a few more drinks and were in bed pretty early. My friend is not a drinker so wasn't feeling too well after her imbibing this evening.
We were ready and out of the hotel for the road trip home at 10:30am. I had a made a reservation at a very popular (local, organic, sustainable) brunch place a couple of blocks away.
We still had to wait about 10 minutes but it was okay, as it smelled delicious and it was great people watching. Very nice atmosphere and they had an outdoor patio too that would have been lovely to sit on. Their motto is: "EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN". :)
I ordered one of the specials which was the wild mushroom omelette. It just sounded amazing.
I also got a drink.
BLOODY MARY $8
local seattle pickle company makes our bloody mary
amazing. gekkeikan sake, crisp pickled vegetable
garnish, chipotle salt rim.
DUNGENESS CRAB CAKE BENEDICT
dungeness crab cakes with lemon & dijon, 2 poached, organic
stiebrs farm eggs*, fresh hollandaise, tarragon garnish. $18.50
This was a perfect meal to start the drive home. We both enjoyed it immensely. The area we stayed in was a lot of fun. We both thought it was great.
The drive home was fine and uneventful. I was home just before 4pm.
This was a wonderful weekend and I will forever be grateful at my opportunity to have seen Guns N' Roses again. My heart is fulfilled. <3