Monday, December 29, 2008

The Jody (and Lauren) hit the Spectrum for some Neil Young

The (Wachovia) Spectrum opened in the fall of 1967, originally to accommodate the Philadelphia NHL and NBA teams, the Flyers and the 76ers.  It seats roughly 18,000 people, depending on the event, as it now also is home to the Arena Football team, the Soul (Bon Jovi’s team); minor league hockey, the Phantom; indoor soccer, the Kicks; and indoor lacrosse, the Wings.  It also hosts the circus and numerous concerts throughout the year.  Being 40 years old, it’s a tiny, dark, cramped place. And that is why I love it.

Aside from hosting the Flyers during the Broad Street bullies years and the Sixers during the Dr. J years, it also hosted the regional finals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for three years.  One such year was 1992 – when Christian Laettner’s last second overtime shot (off a perfect pass from Grant Hill) beat Kentucky. Duke, and my boyfriend at the time, Bobby Hurley, went on to win their second consecutive championship.

Back to the Spectrum. You may not remember the Duke-Kentucky game, but I’m sure you’ve all seen the Rocky movies.  A statue of Sly Stallone, as Rocky, used to be in front of the main entrance to the Spectrum; however, it has since been moved to its permanent home in front of the art museum.  This did not stop Lauren and me from accosting a security guard, asking which way we should go out to get our photo with Rocky. Oh well. Unfortunately, the Spectrum is set to be torn down and replaced with the Philly Live! Complex. Tears.  The last event will be a concert on September 30.  So far, Bruce and Phish are rumored to be acts that could fit the bill.  I would pay a good sum of money if it was either of them.

So, since the Spectrum is being destroyed, when I saw that Neil Young and Wilco were playing in December, I jumped all over it.  

We arrived at the Spectrum, grabbed two beers a piece and headed to our seats.  Since the building was built before neon, glo-in-the-dark paint was invented, this proved to be a very challenging task.  In fact, we gave up, and just grabbed two seats that looked good.  And proceeded to laugh at all the people stooping over, using their cell phones to navigate.  We stayed in these seats for the Wilco set, which was quite good.  They played a bunch of stuff from their solid 2007 album, Sky Blue Sky.  Every song was great, and we vowed to keep an eye on them for when they return.  And, who knows, maybe we’ll catch them at B-roo ’09.

During the set break, we went for more beers (and to use the restroom…which in an old building is not so much fun), then used the house lights to find our real seats.  Neil Young soon came on and immediately started rocking.  I first saw him several years ago, at Farm Aid, in Indiana, when he stole the show.  Hey Hey My My was awesome; the band really jammed it out.  Neil did a great job of mixing in his classics with the material from his new album.  I’m not as familiar with the new stuff, but I know a Cortez the Killer when I hear one.  Cinnamon Girl, Unknown Legend, and Heart of Gold were all just perfect.  I was really hoping for Sugar Mountain, but when he came out and played Rockin’ in the Free World, I was quite pleased.  Lauren and I even managed to sneak onto the floor by the end of the set, mostly because our section was pretty lame.  The encore was a cover of A Day in the Life.  It was awesome!  The whole show was great, exactly what I was hoping for.  He played for nearly three hours and rocked the whole time.  Some of these guys just get better as they get older (the new Jackson Browne record is great).  And he’s not as scary looking as Mick and Keith.

Now, if only I can get my hands on some Phish tickets…



Via Chicago

Impossible Germany

You Are My Face

Spiders (Kidsmoke)


Jesus Etc.

Hate It Here


I’m the Man Who Loves You

Neil Young and His Electric Band

Love and Only Love

Hey Hey My My

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere


Spirit Road

Cortez the Killer

Cinnamon Girl

Oh Lonesome Me

Mother Earth

The Needle and the Damage

Light a Candle

Unknown Legend

Heart of Gold

Old Man

Get Back to the Country

Just Singing a Song

Sea Change

When Worlds Collide

Cowgirl in the Sane

Rockin’ in the Free World

A Day in the Life

(Yes, The Jody realizes that some of these photos are blurry, but that's part of the fun.  Plus, we're excited that she simply remembered to bring her camera and it was charged.)