Download Fest 2008 - The Full Report
August 2nd, 2008


James's Pictures of the show

The Killers Set


Part 1 - Almost Didn't Go

For those of you who don't know, my beautiful wife Jackie is a HUGE fan of the band The Killers, and specifically their lead singer Brandon Flowers.  If this Brandon guy and I were in a burning building, and Jackie could save only one of us, I would be quite worried who she would pick... Luckily, the Killers don't play the New York/New Jersey area very often, and that scenario's possibility is at a minimum... 

Last night (August 2nd, 2008), the stars aligned for Jackie, and the Killers played the Susquehanna Bank Center just outside Philadelphia in Camden, NJ.  (Yeah, I know, I was worried about Camden's reputation as well - but the police were all over the place).

Personally, I think the band is pretty good, but I wouldn't have gone to seen them on my own... But since it is Jackie's favorite band, how could I not go?  If you look thru all my pictures, she has ALWAYS gone to all my goofy things...  So Jackie got the tickets about a month or two ago the day they went on sale (and I didn't look at them closely until yesterday morning - you'll see why that's important to mention later)...

After Jackie ordered the tickets, I went online to see exactly where they were playing...  And I found out they weren't playing their own show, but were part of this thing called the Download Festival 2008...  I thought, "Oh great - in the middle of a bunch of teeny-boppers watching bands like the Jonas Brothers and Hansen" until the Killers came on some time between 2pm and Midnight...

But then friends, the stars aligned yet again - this time for me...  Freakin' Iggy Pop and the Stooges were playing!!  This is much more my type of music - 1970's NYC Punk!!  Iggy is definitely a band i would've gotten my own tickets to see...  So I was quite happy to go to this festival too.

There were a bunch of other bands on the ticket that I really hadn't heard of, and there was no schedule at this time of when The Killers and Iggy were going on stage... I figured they would be the later acts, but we didn't know and since it was Jackie's first Killers show, we weren't going to risk missing their rare NJ appearance...  Luckily last week they came out with times the bands were appearing and they were going on last, so we didn't have to watch the nameless (to us anyway) teeny bopper bands...

So yesterday FINALLY came around, and in the morning I looked at the tickets closely for the first time, and realized they were freakin' in THE PIT...  That's right - the MOSH PIT!!   Yeah, I dont know about that - Jackie and I gave up our moshing days back in our twenties...  Not too worried about the Killers moshing, but I think Iggy was one of the early moshing pioneers!!

After some hesitation (just a "little" bit) and verifying with the box office that we were indeed in the Pit, we decided to go and see just how bad it would be...  And thus began yesterday's adventure!

Part 2 - Iggy Pop spit on me!

Iggy went on around 9pm, so we left for Camden around 7:30.. After a non-eventful drive, we got to the Susquehanna Center in Camden a little after 9... The parking lot was pretty full, but we easily found a spot... (By the way, there are beggars in the parking lot) to dodge.  We got to the building and on the closed-circuit tvs, Iggy had just gone on..

We rushed to the Pit Gate, and there were signs that entering the Mosh Pit was done at your own risk...   Real Nice...   We entered into it and realized we were right next to the stage!!!  We found a spot to the right of the stage (away from the main moshers), and planted ourselves... This wasn't so bad at all...

Iggy was awesome... He did some of his greatest songs like "Wanna Be Your Dog", "Search & Destroy", "No Fun" and plenty of others... We probably just missed his pop hit "Lust for Life", but thats ok...  Iggy was nuts as always up there and even diving into the mosh pit!  This dude was born in 1947 making him 61 years old, but he didn't look a day over 30...  As you can see from the pictures, his body is ripped - both muscularly and from scarring from all those years rolling around on stage in broken glass (yes, seriously).  Jackie says he was limping, but I didn't notice... Either way he was running all over the place on stage...  Which brings us to the title of this part of the blog...  "Iggy Pop spit on me"...

At one point during the show, he came over to our side, and Jackie and I were literally five feet away from Iggy...  He was above us and singing right to us...  Jackie saw his earlier stage dive and was worried that he was gonna jump on me...  I was more interested in getting killer photos of him to think about that... As I was snapping pix, I realized that something wet hit my arm... I looked up and while Iggy was singing, he was spitting while he sang (he kept pouring water over his head during the show so I'm sure that helped...)  So, yes, I was spit on by Iggy...    I know it sounds gross, but its not like he hocked a green loogey on me...  I still think its cool (even if RiffSurfer Jeff got grossed out LOL)

Iggy was a great performer and this may have been one of my favorite shows I've ever been to (besides the RiffSurfers of course)...   As a side note, Jackie noticed that Brandon Flowers and the rest of the Killers were on the side of the stage watching Iggy too...

My video of some of Iggy' set



Part 3 - The Killers singer checked out my wife’s boobs (kinda)

So now that we got Iggy Pop's show out of the way, now to talk about the Killers...  They didn't spit on me like Iggy did, but lead singer Brandon Flowers checked out my wife's boobs (kinda)...

Ok, So around 10pm, Iggy finished his show... They broke down his stage and reset it for the Killers... 

Took about 45 minutes -- most of it being the stage for the Killers..  And man, it was quite the stage...

The drum kit was the first piece out, and it was covered in hay or straw... Very country-ish...  Then they wheeled out this HUGE pot of flowers (Jackie said it was because Brandon liked to throw flowers out to the audience - he threw out maybe 2 flowers last night - the rest were thrown out to the audience after the show...)    Then they put the stage lighting up - and it was no small task as there is a pretty heavy light show involved...  Which also means a photographers worst nightmare -- THE SMOKE MACHINES...  The smoke absolutely kills any chance of taking flash photography.. Oh well, we'll improvise...

Then they laid freakin' carpet down...  Thats right -- CARPETING!!! This was not going to be your average show!

Looked around after the arena after Iggy finished, the arena lost about 80% of their audience...But as it got closer to showtime, the crowd built right back up - maybe even MORE people than Iggy had...I expected to see a lot of teeny boppers, but there were a lot of adults who were probably there during the Iggy show (would've hated to see those bathroom lines during the intermission). Short while later, the lights went out and they put up this huge backdrop of a fall scene behind them...  Jackie can probably explain the symbolism, but damned if I knew it...

As soon as they lit the backdrop, it was time for the show...

The Killers came out and were awesome...  I'm an Iggy fan, so I'm naturally going to say his show was better, but it was close...  What Iggy had was pure Raw Power & Charisma, but the Killers had great showmanship, a great stage show, and more range in their vocals...

I wish I had a set list (for both shows actually), but The Killers started off strong, and didn't slow down till they were done...  I knew most of the songs and they did a great job with them...  For the few I didn't know, the crowd really seemed to know em...  I gained a lot of respect for the musicianship of the Killers last night...

Lead singer Brandon Flowers didn't bounce around the stage nearly as much as Iggy did, but he would do these daredevil moves on top of the front lighting boxes...   He would jump up on them and go walking back & forth on them, almost falling at least twice that I saw...   He finally made it over to our side of the stage which brings us to the title of this blog "Brandon Flowers checked out my wife's boobs"...

Well kinda...  He came over and when he looked down into the front pit, Jackie was there with her "Victims" (The fan club of the Killers) T-shirt...  "Victims" was written right in the front, so yeah Brandon checked her boobs out...  Jackie of course, was thrilled and just added to the great time she was having!



Trying to take pictures of all this was hell - the smoke and lighting made it difficult to focus shots.. Luckily digital cameras immediately show the blurriness, and allow for quick retakes...  I took 193 pictures of the Killers set and barely had 30 clear shots...  But thankfully cameras with expensive film  & developing are a thing of the past...

The show ended around midnight making for an hour and fifteen minute show - which was kinda short, but it was a fully packed hour and fifteen minutes...

My video of some of the Killers set

 


Part 4 - The Aftermath


We picked up a few "souveniers"  from the merch booth, and headed to the parking lot...  Passed the beggars and watched the big cluster-f that was the exit from the parking lot... No order whatsoever...  We sat on our car watching the near misses, and puking out the windows as the cars tried to get out...  About 20 minutes later, cop cars driving around told people they had to leave the parking lot...  Which added to the mess of people trying to leave...  They could've been more helpful..

Parking lot issue aside, most importantly, Jackie had the time of her life...And I had a pretty good time too...   Definitely glad we went after the initial hesitation about being in the mosh pit... 

Definitely would see either Iggy or the Killers again!


Thanks for reading all the way through - Dont forget to check the individual set pictures.

 

James's Pictures of the show

The Killers Set

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