If I had to choose one word to describe the past four days it would have to be a simple WOW!! The craziness started on Friday as Woody and I took off for Amarillo to check out Otherwise, Stone Sour, and Papa Roach.

Venue impressions....

Friday Night in Amarillo The Azteca Music Hall

This venue is on the very outskirt of town in a huge field in a big metal building with plenty of FREE parking. One thing we noticed immediately, was how clean and well groomed everything outside was.

And inside was just as well kept. As we rounded the corner to enter the arena it was clear there would be more than enough room to accommodate the huge line of people wrapped around the building waiting for the doors to open. There was plenty of room inside, it didn't matter if you were one of those who likes to stand back and watch the show, or if you wanted room to dance, there was even room to have a mosh pit that would not require those who just wanted to watch the show to have to keep one eye on the pit and one eye on the stage. Every corner of this place offers a great view, an elevated stage with a very high ceiling where absolutely nothing can obstruct your view. And there were several bars scattered throughout, and food vendors located inside ( where you can still see the show while you wait in line), with nothing over $4.00!! And don't even get me started about how clean  the restrooms were (yes, I asked Woody about the ladies room), complete with toilet paper, soap and (warm) water at every sink, even the option of paper towels or hand dryers...

Yes ladies, it is possible, even at a rock show...


Saturday Night, Lubbock... Lonestar Event Center, Inside the Pavilion...

The first thing you notice when you drive up to this venue is the drab, dingy, run down appearance of the entire facility. There are weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement and along the bottom of the chain link fence that surrounds the entire place.

If you are willing to pay five dollars you can park inside the fence, but be ready to wait when it's over because there is only the one way in and after the show, it's the only way out.

Once out of the car and heading into the venue, you notice the big RESTROOM sign all illuminated to make it easy to find them, since when you drink you have to pee eventually.

Once inside the Pavilion, you notice right away that if you want to see the show you better get as close to the stage as possible because it is only a few feet high and the sound and lighting equipment has to be stacked to the side of the stage because there isn't anyplace else for it to go (which prevents anyone from being able to stand off to the side if they want to watch the show).

But, if you are not at the front of the stage you're either gonna have to sit on someones shoulders, or use your cell phone held high above the heads of everyone in front of you and video the show, then just watch it when you get home. But that is only if you are lucky enough to not be stuck behind one of the big concrete polls or having to dodge the dangling wires at the front of the stage.

At least there is beer, drinks usually start around $3.00 for water and go up depending on what your drinking.

I bet you're very glad now that those huge bright signs are there to tell you where the restrooms are since you have decided to hang back near the bar since you can't see the show anyway.

And hopefully by the time you have to go to the restroom you have had a lot to drink, because then maybe you won't have time to notice the condition of the restrooms. On this particular night I personally cleaned the mens room as best I could before the doors opened. And trust me that was not easy since there was only one roll of paper towels and three rolls of toilet paper.

As for the women's restroom, I heard reports all night that several of the toilets had human waste from possibly the last show held here during the summer, and no water in them to flush it down. Which might explain the rational behind not supplying any of the stalls with toilet paper, you know to discourage you ladies from using the restroom in there.

Sadly, it didn't end there, I had many ladies (not so calmly) telling me only two sinks had water, not running water, but a dribble of water, no soap, and not a single roll of paper towels anywhere. Thankfully, there was a sweet lady who clearly had attended shows at this venue before who came prepared with toilet paper and hand sanitizer to share stuffed into her purse saved the day!

Thank you Mystery Lady!

So much potential wasted, when all it would require is a little elbow grease and bleach, some paper products and soap, a few coats of paint, and a creative stage design, and a good plumber to make this place so much better.

You would think they could afford to invest in a mop, soap, paper towels and toilet paper after you pay $5 to park and $5 a pop for a 12oz. beer.

Maybe it's time for our pro-business/tourism city council to consider building a much needed new arena in the Hub City.


Sunday... Chillin' with the bands watching Jacoby's 49er's lose to the Ravens at Klusoz Lubbock...Rocking super-secret party with all the bands and crew.

What can I say, an awesome time was had by all.

Finally, Monday In Midland at the Midland County Horseshoe Multipurpose Facility...

This one was hidden off behind some warehouses at the end of a dirt road, but so worth the trip!

Again, HUGE well maintained grounds and parking lot (again all parking was free). The one thing I was not thrilled about was the limited lighting in the parking lot, but the parking lot was being patrolled by, get this, sheriff's on horseback, so freaking cool!

Once we made our way through the parking lot and up to the arena there was plenty of light and a ton of windows!

Once inside, the efficiency of the security people was amazing, no one had to wait more than a 30 to 40 seconds to hand off their ticket, be searched, and then divided into lines for over 21 and those who were not (those over 21 were given armbands).

This venue was really cool! the actual area where the show would take place was a HUGE metal building (much like the Azteca) with a lobby area complete with numerous restrooms, all with private stalls stocked with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels) there was even people who's only job of the night was to make sure all the stalls had the needed supplies and that they were kept clean and free of trash.

Then there were the numerous concession stands with food and drinks (drinks started as low as $2.00), and a separate area for meet and greets and merch booths, and one side with theater style bleacher seating for those who prefer to be up away from the floor action.

Not that there was not more than enough room to accommodate active participants (mosh pits, crowd surfers, people on shoulders, couples making out, couples two stepping... yes I personally witnessed this...) you name it, it happened at this show and there was room for it all and then some!

Like I said, WOW! describes these places best!

Oh, you want to know about the quality of the shows for each night? Guess you will have to check back tomorrow for that.