The Trip: FedEx Field allows tailgating, but those plans were nixed due to impending rain, so we went later. But we were smart and bought a parking pass earlier in the week, so they let us through like royalty. SaWEET! The first thing we noticed was that trash was EVERYwhere, and the little idiots were putting beer bottles behind everybody's wheels... along with the cold and wet, it was also the DIRTIEST festival I've ever attended. But in and out were no problem.
The Venue: PSINet gets the vote. FedEx Field was ridiculous; no big screens, lousy acoustics... seemed a little thrown-together IMHO. More cops than ever (must have been the angst-ridden line-up). And security at the gate was a joke. We weren't allowed to bring in anything this year, yet all the guy did was squeeze my bag a couple times like it might as well have been my, well you get it. I could've brought in an M-16. BUT, we were lucky enough, thanks to Sir Steve, to have grooved our way onto the club level, which is key if a) it's pouring, b) you want to get a decent seat with some decent soundwaves, and c) you want your drink and you want it NOW. My condolences for anyone who didn't score the club.
The Crowd: Easily drunk and passed out by two. Ridiculous (they missed the best part). Your usual array of multi-colored 'dos and piercings, but a lot less skin due to the temperature. I've been pleasantly surprised by the lack of deviance the past couple of years, but there was a little nastiness this time around. Too many fights on the field and way too many bottles being chucked out over the crowd. The rain actually helped.
The Artists: We missed the first four acts, got there while the Deftones were on. And of course we spent that set acclimating ourselves to the venue. Up the ramp, down the ramp, pushed down to the field like cattle, and then separated... They'd reached their max on the field, so we were stuck in the line down... Uggh. Watched Filter down on the field, they were great. Take a Picture was sweet... a little crowd singalong happening there. After that, Steve got us into the Club, so we were set for the day. It still hadn't rained, just gray and pyucky. Godsmack was basically Metallica, nothing remarkable. Cypress Hill wasn't as much fun as expected... spent most of that set on a t-shirt hunt. Third Eye Blind was impressive on stage, and that was pleasantly surprising (made a fan out of Evil Conan, I'll tell you that). But that was when the great rains came. Half-way through their set we made a run for the club, only to run back out clad in ponchos for the entire performance. They did a classic set--all the hits, threw in some cover snips (Ramones "I Want to Be Sedated" and the Who's "Teenage Wasteland") and saved the biggest hit for the finale... And then they threw in the secret, not Green Day as was leaked, but the Blue Man Group--cool when I saw them in New York in '93, but ultimately STUPID in a venue this size, and hardly a musical treat. I sat that one out inside the club with T, which was surreal... all those people sitting there at tables watching the festival on a screen... damned weird! And then I left my cohorts behind, donned poncho rojo and headed out to the front row to await the Stone Temple Pilots, the whole reason for going in the first place. I am happy to have spent the entire set with some new STP fans (thanks to this performance), who were all too happy to share their fries and dance along. The set was Core-heavy, and they gave us diehard fans all of our favorites and skipped the overplayed Sour Girl. Scott Weiland, lean and clean, donning boas and fedoras and stripping down to near nothing as usual, is the ultimate entertainer... a classic rock star in every sense of the word. I was so physically spent after their set that I watched Rage Against the Machine inside with T and Fun and cocktails while the boyz braved the downpour for most of their set.
Final Word: If not for STP, I'd not have gone. All agreed it was a great day as usual, but it won't be worth it next year unless the line-up blows us away. A word from someone in the Post's review: "...I can't be doing this anymore. I'm 28, and I'm too old for this." To that we say get a life, old geezer. You ain't seen NOTHIN'.