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Published: September 18th 2012
11-12th Sept ’12 Atlanta, Georgia
We drove through Mississippi, a slight wrong turn into Arkansas then through Alabama (which was really green, with loads of forests) to eventually arrive in Atlanta.
The whole purpose of coming here was to go to the Uproar Festival in Atlanta the next day. We did a practise run to the venue as we gave up on the idea of trying to get there by public transport and hopefully we will be able to find our way back again in the dark tomorrow!
The next day we woke up and got up late and then in the afternoon drove to Aaron’s Amphitheatre for the gig. On our way in we were told that the Lawn was closed (this is the grass area at the back of the amphitheatre and basically the cheapest tickets, which we had) so everyone was getting a free upgrade to the seats, so I wasn’t going to complain at that.
The venue is huge but they also had two small stages where the smaller bands were playing in the afternoon so we headed over there, had a look around at the stalls and listened to some really good
music. Now this was more like a rock festival! However despite POD’s best efforts they couldn’t get a pit going, there was the odd crowd surfer but once again I was amazed at how tame the American crowds are.
After having listened to a couple of Fozzy tracks on the netbook I wasn’t expecting much, but live they were great! Really got the crowd behind them and I will definitely be looking out for them at HRH in December. As it happened once we were in our seats in the main amphitheatre I was looking at the crowd and spotted Billy Grey the guitarist standing not far from us, so when he walked past I nabbed him and said hi and for once Howard managed to just snap a picture (as opposed to the usual 10 minute setting it up) so that was a nice bonus!
Our free upgrade seats were really good (I bet there was a lot of ticked off people who had paid full price for them though). The bands were great, we hadn’t heard of Adelitas Way but they played a good set, Staind were great, I was really looking forward to Shinedown as
I think their music is excellent and they were really good – the singer and guitarist popped up in the middle of the back seats at one point which was funny but the band that stole the show and really knew how to please a crowd was Godsmack. I was still gutted Papa Roach had to pull out, the sound wasn’t the best but it was still a great show and we got chatting to the people next to us who were locals and thought we were from Scotland!
We managed to miss our turn off on the way back! But after a bit of detouring around we got back ok in the end.
13th Sept ’12 Ashville, North Carolina
Still road tripping through the southern states, Georgia is really green and full of forests too. Were briefly in South Carolina at one point and then we took the scenic highway through the Cherokee foothills on our way today, didn’t see a lot to get excited about though. Then we drove through very windy forest roads up and down mountains until we came out onto the Blue Ridge Parkway with fantastic views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Atlanta Uproar Festival
Me and Billy Grey from Fozzy
We spent the night in Ashville a really nice town with a very boho vibe, interesting little shops, bars and restaurants and lots of t shirts for sale with slogans like keep Ashville Weird on them.
We had a fantastic Indian meal for tea followed by our first excursion to a Dairy Queen, where Blasters were on offer buy one get one for 99 cents so it would have been rude not to! They are a kind of giant version of a McFlurry but with stacks more nice bits! The end result - a lot of groaning and undoing of buttons on our jeans!
14th Sept ’12 Roanoke, Virginia
Another day’s driving into Virginia, a salad for lunch(!), briefly entered Tennessee again, had a failed attempt at finding the mountain with a star on it in Roanoke and then went to the motel.
15th Sept ’12 Roanoke to Gainsville, Virginia
Driving to Gainsville today so we can go to the DC101 Kerfuffle at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheatre. Not sure what to make of today’s festivaly thing as apart from The Offspring headlining, Dead Sara opening and Garbage in the middle there isn’t a
lot else worth seeing. I reckon it will be a very different experience to Atlanta!
Anyway by the time we got to our hotel for the night and got our vodka smuggling supplies we had missed Dead Sara which I was gutted about. There wasn’t much point in getting there now until Garbage were due on, so we had a drink in the room and stashed our illegal voddy in our hiding places (we are getting really good at this now!) and went to call a taxi.
We stayed in the Hampton Inn and very nice it was, above our usual price bracket but as it was the only place to stay that was vaguely near the concert venue we splashed out. The hotel was full of very large Americans who were all there for a wedding so we did look rather out of place but the staff were lovely and friendly. They advised us not to walk to the venue as it was just under 2 miles (Howard had told me it was only one mile!) and along main roads without pavements, hence the taxi.
It didn’t take long to get there and the driver kept
saying I can’t believe there’s a concert on as the roads are so quiet, but there was fortunately.
He dropped us off and told us where the taxis wait at the end and we went to collect our ‘will call’ tickets. There was no queue and we got the tickets without any hassle but just about every member of staff had to come and look at us as we were from the UK, clearly they don’t get many foreigners here!
Once again we had lawn tickets but sadly no free upgrade this time, despite both sides of the amphitheatre being virtually empty. So we hiked up onto the lawn and sat on the grass in the sun with everyone else and although the stage looked miles away you still got a pretty good view. I’m not sure about the amphitheatres though this is the second one we’ve been too and once again the sound wasn’t that good.
We caught the end of Anberlin who were actually a rock band and pretty good from what we heard and then it was time for Garbage. I had mixed feelings about seeing them, I like some of their stuff but
the rest is pretty poppy but Howard was really looking forward to seeing them again after all these years. They did a good set and the crowd really liked them which was nice to see.
The crowd was a real mixed bag, of ages and musical tastes and the atmosphere just didn’t have that charge that you get at a rock/metal gig. So by the time Sublime with Rome came on we headed down to the ‘restrooms’ area where the food and merch stalls were. Once again there weren’t any t shirts to tempt me, the beer was $13 a can!!! So we just bought some pop and added our vodka to it and sat having a drink. Several people came up to ask us if we thought Sublime with Rome were rubbish and went on to say they were just like a cover band now, I replied well I’ve never heard of them anyway which got a few raised eyebrows. I did agree they were rubbish though! I also asked everyone if they had seen
Dead Sara and no one I spoke to had, which made me feel even worse for missing them!
We chatted with quite
a few people, some said ‘oh I could talk to you all day I just lurve your accent’ ha ha, some gave us advice on how to sneak down into the front of the stage area and another couple sat with us for ages chatting about rock music and how they like British bands. So the time past quite swiftly (and so did the drink!) and as the Offspring were due on we went back into the amphitheatre and attempted to blag our way into the front section……..and failed miserably!!! So it was back up onto the lawn, the lights went down and the crowd roared!
Luckily everyone decided to get up for the Offspring so there was a bit of atmosphere and we sang and danced like loons (again). I narrowly avoided doing a nose dive down the bank during a moment of over enthusiastic bouncing and decided the time had come to move down into the seats.
We could see loads of free seats so we just walked like we knew where we were going and ended up with a group of very enthusiastic like-minded fans, with a great view of the stage and carried on
singing and dancing until the end!
So we ended up having a great night and once it was over, followed the taxi driver’s advice and found the taxis waiting near the police.
Then it all went slightly pear shaped, we got a taxi fine but the driver said he had to go back a different way because the police were directing the traffic. Howard wanted him to do a U turn like the ordinary cars were and he wouldn’t, he took us a mega long way back, Howard had a face like thunder, it cost us about three times as much as it did going and Howard went into a sulk!!! I just laughed and said ‘sit back and relax’ in an Offspring stylee and made things worse ha ha. Oh well it was better than walking and we didn’t buy a t shirt so what the hell!
16th Sept ’12 Gainsville to York, Pennsylvania
Oh dear my head!! Still woke up in time for breakfast so we went down and all the wedding guests looked just as bad as we did! Some were even wearing their pyjamas – I thought I was back on Teesside
for a minute!!
As this was a nice hotel check out wasn’t until 12 so we went back to bed for another hour before setting off. Our route took us to Gettysburg which would have been really interesting on another day but as it was it was hard to muster much enthusiasm. Still we went to the visitors centre and drove around the battlefields, walked around the cemetery and looked at lots of the memorials.
Then carried on to York where we are spending two nights, I’m still slightly puzzled as to why we aren’t spending two nights in Gettysburg which looked a lovely little town but I suspect the Harley-Davidson factory has something to do with it.
When we checked in to the motel we discovered it too was full of people attending a wedding, is it wedding season in the states I wonder? There was music blaring and kids running around and the people were wearing the most amazing outfits, I think some of them had actually flown in from Africa. The ladies were wearing incredible head gear, which was elaborately twisted, tied and really tall and with very high heels so they looked about
The near miss hill!
seven feet tall and really elegant. The couples all had outfits that matched so visually they looked really impressive. We just shuffled past in our jeans and t shirts looking like tramps!
17th Sept ’12 York
Oh what wonders a good night’s sleep does! So yes today I am ready for the tour of the Harley-Davidson Factory. We got there and had a while before our tour started so spent it looking at the exhibits and I tried on all the bikes for size! I didn’t realise Harleys are so low, I could just about touch the floor on all of them which made a great change and now I want one even more!! The trike was like sitting in an armchair, not my style at all but I found a lovely 1600cc mettalic green softtail, had it been in purple who knows……. Get yer motor running!!!
Howard thought the tour was great, it was a bit too full of robots, engineering and technical stuff for me and no free samples of chocolate!, but the bit where they test the finished bikes and put the additional bits on them was pretty good. Still going to a Harley-Davidson
Little Round Top Battlefield
factory in the States seems like the right thing to do! They did give us a free badge and postcards to write out and they post them for you free of charge – so the grandkids and nephews are going to get a nice surprise, personally I think a bar of chocolate would have been a better idea!
Then we headed into ‘historic York’ which did have a fair few historic plaques marking things to do with the civil war but really there was nothing to see or do – we decided against the police museum and once again I wished we had been staying in Gettysburg.
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