No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Feel Me In Your Bones

August 23, 2015

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 photo 2_15_12__B_motley_crue_kabik-124-33_t653_zpsc7knijit.jpg Motley Crue

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Feel Me In Your Bones

One of the things that I always do when I am visiting anyplace is look in advance to see what might be going on in the way of concerts, shows, events etc. that might interest me since I am going to be there anyway. In Indianapolis, in addition to the wonderful Indiana State Fair, my August visit coincided with a concert by the band Motley Crue at the arena home of the Indiana Pacers, Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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I am not a huge Motley Crue fan, but I have seen them a couple of times before back in the mid to late 80s and they have always put on a good show. Now after thirty-four years together, the band has been touring extensively on what they assure everyone is their farewell final tour. Their final show is set to take place on December 31st of this year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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If nothing else it is a great marketing technique, but on the chance that perhaps this really is their final tour, I thought that I might want to check it out and revisit dome of the heavy hair metal glory of the eighties on the way. I invited my friend Kevin along and after a quick bite to eat at a place on Mass avenue, we headed over to Banker’s Life for the show.

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 photo 109_zpsgzihmw2h.jpg Alice Cooper

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The opening act was Alice Cooper, someone who I had never seen live in concert and after seeing about 5 minutes, I began to regret that. His show and band were fantastic. It was a great opening act and the theatrics and music were both spot on. It was a really great surprise as I did not really expect all that much and the set was long, good and full of energy and excitement. The crowd really reacted well too as it seemed almost as there were as many Alice Cooper fans in the crowd as Crue fans.

Alice Cooper

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By the time Motley Crue took the stage the crowd was fired up and ready for something special and the band, with all original members, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee, delivered big time. The stage set-up was about as incredible as you can get for a rock concert, with incredible lasers, pyrotechnics, exploding bursts of flame and risers that rose and fell depending upon the particular song.

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Even if the band had sucked, which they did not, the show itself would have been worth the price of admission. It was nothing short of amazing. But it was not all the staging that kept the fans interest, the band was energetic, excited and just plain happy to be playing. Sure Vince Neil was somewhat beefier than in his heyday, but his voice is as strong as ever and he had the energy and enthusiasm of a much younger man.

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I could not help but think during the show that David Lee Roth and Van Halen should take a night off from their lackluster tour and come see Motley Crue to see how it is done. Motley Crue played for more than two hours, playing all their hit songs and more in what was a real treat to both true fans and casual fans like myself. It was awesome.

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It was one of those shows where I knew way more of the songs than I had previously realized and with 34 years together, there was plenty of material to choose from. Possibly the highlight of the show was the ten minute drum solo by Tommy Lee during which his entire drum set was propelled in the air and rotated on a huge rollercoaster like contraption that flew him hundreds of feet above the ground as he continued to play as he was suspended at times upside down as the drums moved along the track rotating slowly in a 360 degree motion. It was an impressive and exciting part of the show.

The show concluded with their hits “Kickstart My Heart” and “Home Sweet Home” in thrilling fashion and it was truly a night to remember. If you get a chance to catch one of their shows as the tour winds down over the next couple of months, I highly recommend it. As they say, “All Bad Things Must Come to An End”, I guess that is true, but kudos to Motley Crue for going out while they still have it and are on top of their game.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Indiana State Fair

August 22, 2015

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Indiana State Fair

One of my all-time favorite events in the world is the Indiana State Fair. It is something that I have been attending regularly since I was a small child, growing up with-in about a mile or so from the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, I was able to ride my bike over to the fair often and usually went multiple times throughout the course of the event. Kathy, our friend Dakota and I were able to attend last year, but I thought I was probably out of luck for this year until I learned that my friends Jody and Deron would be getting married in Indianapolis during the time of the fair.

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Of course I would not miss their wedding under any circumstances, but having them schedule it during fair time was an added bonus, so I headed up a couple of days early to be able to take advantage of the fair.

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The Indiana State Fair has been an ongoing annual occurrence since 1852 and has been held at the fairgrounds every year since 1892. The fair is the third largest state fair in the US and attracts close to a million visitors annually. It has been host to many famous musical acts including the Beatles and has also been the site of a couple of disasters as well. In 1963 a propane tank exploded at the Coliseum which killed 74 people in the worst disaster in Indianapolis history.

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More recently, in 2011, high winds caused the collapse of the grandstand stage during a Sugarland concert killing 7 people and ended the long standing practice of outdoor concerts at the racetrack grandstands. But in spite of these tragedies, the fair has been host to way, way more happy memories. It has something for everyone and just about everyone shows up to check it out.

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One of the things that I like most about the fair is the great diversity of people who show up to take it in. Thousands of farmers and rural folk show up to show their prize livestock and enter all the 4H competitions, but also since the fairgrounds is located in the heart of a very urban neighborhood, city folk who may have never even seen a cow show up in droves as well.

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You might think this mix might be a cause of some tension, but just the opposite seems to be true as the diverse crowds interact and enjoy the fair together. Everyone seems to love the fair. I know I do. Whether the tacky carnies on the midway, the crazy food vendors offering up the latest fried concoction or the farmers showing their swine, cattle, and other farm animals, it is a glorious mix of traditional and tacky.

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 photo 616_zps7rmokspz.jpg Erika & Michael

Last year, for the first time ever, the fair began allowing limited alcohol sales in a special section honoring the state’s Craft Beer and Wine industry and once again I was back to enjoy this wonderful new pavilion. Here I could taste a variety of Hoosier beers just like I could sample tomato juice or local honey in the agricultural building. It is a great new addition to the fair.

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I was so happy to be able to attend the fair again this year, in fact I am going to try and return before heading home, as I was only able to spend the day on this visit and the fair at night is an entirely different animal.

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