CSKA Ice Palace
June 13, 2000
was a lovely sunny evening in Moscow, the wind was blowing into your face,
and the toxic clouds of car exhausts covered the evening sky that was that
rare golden colour that one can spot only for a few moments, before it starts
to get dark, and the dome above turns bloody red. The foul smell of pollution
in the air over the Leningradsky motorway tickled the nostrils and the dust
and sand felt nicely grinding on the teeth. The sensation was perfectly finished
with a gulp of strong and warm beer bought in a nearby seven-eleven. All in
all, everything promised it was going to be an enjoyable evening.
The crowd started gathering around the ice palace long before the show started, getting drunk, socialising, singing along the band’s songs and queuing up at the entrance to the building, and there was much rejoicing... A drunken skinhead was terrorising a group of some 10 to 15 punks checking out the solidity of his Dr. Martin-boots on the ass of the fattest one. The police dudes stood idly nearby, more interested in staring at the teenager chicks, than in the problems of some Sid Vicious followers. Already knowing, that the show might actually start at 20.00 sharp at this particular venue (as it had happened with the recent Rage gig) we hurried to take our place in the 300m-long queue at one of the entrances. Finishing the beers we gradually moved in, and after a brief search by the cops, who (for some reason) were unhappy with the size of my buckle, we rushed to the merchandising stand (buying a T-shirt at each gig I go to, has already become a tradition) and then went down to the toilet to rid our bladders from the excessive amount of beverages consumed earlier.
Having managed to get through the thick fog of cigarette smoke around the
restroom we proceeded over to the hall, enjoying a wondrous sense of relief.
This was when the disappointment started. We had some really shitty seats,
in the far corner of the area, where you really needed some naval binoculars
to see anything that was happening on the stage. We tried to go down to the
floor, but regardless of the fact that the hall wasn’t even half full and
that the tickets to the floor and to the seats were the same price the security
did not let us to enter the rink. This was another major disappointment and
I will blame it on the promoters. The TCI Corporation, although being one
of the best promoters on the Russian market, did fuck up big time here. Why
rent an ice hall if you can’t fill it? Why not organise a proper promotion
and advertising? I have not seen a single gig-poster in the streets, and I
do quite bit of walking around the city. Some people told me they have spotted
the posters, but I don’t know, obviously it was not enough. I mean, when Apocalyptica
came to Moscow dozens of posters were like all over the place. Anyhows, as
a result of this, those people who were up-front were packed like herrings
in a tin moshing and jumping around, and we were sitting up around the arena,
picking boogles and trying to make out what was going on. This was the time
when I understood how much depends on the crowdedness of the venue. The energy
has to go back and forth from the musicians to the crowd, around the crowd
and back to the stage, but in the case when the energy runs into the half-empty
hall it simply dissolves, and you don’t really feel like head-banging and
stuff. Just imagine seeing the crowd down on the rink going apeshit, and you
yourself sitting up-high comfortably, and not even getting up because you
don’t feel like it. So, summing it all up I did not enjoy the show as much
as I could have, had I been on the floor, I guess.
But, let us maketh haste and moveth over to the performance. Despite everything said above, I have to admit it, Jimmy Pop and Co. did all their best to put on a killer show and hadn’t it been for promotion (or lack thereof) they would have managed. The very first cords of «Boom» broke out from the speakers and the rink flew into a bouncing moshing spree. But we still were in for a surprise, the end of the song Lupus (the guitar player) went out to the front of the stage with what looked like a flame thrower attached to the neck of his axe. I have to admit it I did not recognise the riff at once, but when the flame-thrower started spitting fire into the hall and Jimmy Pop went - «Du! Du Hast! Du Hast Mich!» I got the message. The gimmick yet was developed throughout the show, so that in the end of each of the song the band started playing somebody else’s song and you were having a hard time trying to remember where you heard this before. I mean there was Rammstein, 2 Unlimited, Michael Jackson, and a whole lot of other things I could not really get my thumb to. Another important thing, since I only have the One Fierce Beer Coaster album I did not really know about half of the set, but it did include Fire Water Burn, I Wish I Was Queer, Kiss Me Where it Smells Funny, and them two songs that I don’t know the names of but that go like: «it’s hard to rhyme a word like vagina», and «let’s do it like they do on the Discovery channel». All in all the sound was great and the show included a lot of practical joking and this typical Pop Ali humour with Packman walking on stage in the middle of the show and getting his ass kicked by the band, a USD100 worth a dare for drinking a whole case of Coca Cola (about 6 litres I think) by one of the fans on stage in the course of the show, Lupus «swimming» across the whole venue on the hands of the fans, Jimmy Pop daring the guy, who was picked to drink Coke, to puke on his T-shirt, and last but not least Lupus making a full monty striptease and then playing a whole song butt-naked. Excellent... and well a couple of beers after the gig I did not really regret going there.
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