I almost didn’t go to the show on Tuesday night. What a silly idea that was. Like I was going to miss a chance to see one of my favorite bands of all time. Sure, I’ve seen Rancid before but it has always been in a festival setting and I was always too far away to really see what’s going on and a bit too distracted to pay attention to the music. Not on Tuesday. On Tuesday I was front and center just taking it all in with a giant smile on my face.
My friend and I were a bit confused as we drove to Waite Park, MN. Just over an hour away from the cities, it truly felt like a whole different world as we drove through empty fields and, well, emptiness. There was an air of uncertainty as my GPS told us we were just a couple of minutes away yet we saw very little other than small-town Minnesota. That’s when we saw The Ledge Amphitheater and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed. A gorgeous and brand new structure, even though we were over an hour away from home and my surroundings were unfamiliar, I instantly felt at ease. I don’t know that I will ever understand why this tour kicked off in such a random place but why question a good thing? It wasn’t until we got into the amphitheater grounds that I realized just how amazing this place is. Clean bathrooms, an organized layout, and a larger-than-life stage. Was this heaven? No, it was just The Ledge Amphitheater in Waite Park but I think that may be as close to heaven as I’ll get. I promise I won’t continue to just drool over this new venue but, seriously, go check it out. it doesn’t matter what show it is, you are going to love it.
The Bronx kicked things off with a short and impressive set. Unfortunately, my anticipation to finally see Rancid in a more intimate (although intimate is a strange word for such a large venue) was unbearable and I found myself having a hard time paying attention to the band. I’ve seen The Bronx before and will be seeing them again before summer is up which didn’t help my lack of attention span. I didn’t seem to be the only person spending their opening act just taking in the venue and the fact that we were at a live show again (I swear, I don’t know when I’ll get over that and just realize that life is back * knock on wood *) but I also wasn’t the only one who was subconsciously taking in the sound of The Bronx. Power and energy were the names of the game with their set and, even if your eyes weren’t glued to the stage, your ears were. My apologies to The Bronx for not paying closer attention.
Being a co-headlining tour between Rancid and Dropkick Murphy’s, I was anxious to see who was going to take the stage and, I’ll be honest, a little relieved as the stage was set up for Dropkick Murphy’s next. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dropkick and will always adore seeing them live but I’ve seen them enough and, again, I felt that anticipation of seeing Rancid take over me as Dropkick powered into their set. It was banger after banger with these guys. I was seriously floored by it. I know that these guys are a huge band and have been around for years but I lost count after their twelfth song. What was the point in counting? The number of songs they played and their song choice wasn’t the point. The point was their Irish-influenced punk sound taking over the speakers and giving the entire audience something to dance to. Dropkick Murphy’s ended their set with a personal favorite of mine, “Rose Tattoo” (and, yes, I have a rose tattoo because of this song) and that’s when my anticipation reached a palpable level.
Rancid is that band for me. They are the band that, when a friend says “What should we listen to?” I instantly put them on. Maybe not the most accessible band to my more commercial music-loving friends but there’s just something about Rancid’s blend of street punk, ska, and straight energy that I have always adored. I couldn’t contain my excitement anymore as the band took the stage. As soon as I saw Tim Armstrong take the stage, I lost it. Sure, the entire band is great but Tim Armstrong… I mean, come on. He’s legendary and was one of my gateway drugs into the punk scene. But I digress, much like I won’t spend this entire post drooling over the venue, I won’t spend a lot of time drooling over Tim (as I did enough of that last night).
Rancid’s set on Tuesday night was absolutely in the top ten sets that I’ve seen my entire life. From the song choice to the energy to just being able to see this legendary band up close and personal, it was just pure perfection and a night I will never forget. From them playing “Radio”, “Salvation”, “Time Bomb”, “Ruby Soho”… I mean, their setlist couldn’t have been better but it was when they played “Fall Back Down” that I really lost it. That song means so much to me and has helped me through so much. Being able to feel the music in my soul while watching the band perform it live was just the icing on the cake when it came to the show on Tuesday night. I’m lost for words (can you tell)? Being able to Rancid and being super close to the stage was just a true dream come true and I couldn’t ask for a better night.
My words will never do Tuesday night’s show justice and I’m okay with that. Although I don’t have a super detailed recollection of the show, I do have the feeling that the show gave me situated right in the middle of my heart and deep in my soul.
Venue: The Ledge Amphitheater
Sausage Fest Meter- 8 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – Spilled Beer and Whiskey
Average Age of the Crowd- 30
Crowd Surfers- 4
Mosh-ability- 10 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Drinks and a few bodies
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Injuries- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None Spotted
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
The Bronx- 1
Dropkick Murphys- 4
Rancid- 2 (but only ever at festivals before Tuesday night)
Celebrity Sightings- Wrestler Arik Cannon; Wrestling Ref Clark Feldman
Overall Score- 11 out of 10
Show on Deck- Nur-D
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