2 trips to Wembley Arena last week. Secondly, to see WWE Raw. Yes, that's right – Professional Wrestling. The plan was initially to go out there with Housemate James and his brother in law, Bodge, as those two probably know more about WWE than anyone else in the UK. However James had to go to New York for work, so Bodge & I went with his mate Aaron, and it was plainly obvious that the 3 of us were the oldest ones there without kids.
As for recounting what in the hell happened, I'm at a bit of a loss – I think the last time I watched wrestling and took any real notice of what was going on was Wrestlemania 4 (Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, 1988). It was definitely good fun to go to though. I drew many a stare of disdain from the legion of 14 year olds sitting in my vicinity for not cheering appropriately – the drawcard matches for the night were a “streetfight” match (where allegedly there are no rules, but the only difference I could see was that they hit each other with aluminium rubbish bins) between Umaga and Triple H, and the final match of the night between Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy (who I didn't know either of). And fortuitously my camera batteries died v. early in the piece so I got bugger all in the way of photos.
Say what you like about how fake it all is – these guys are definitely very skilful and quite physically fit to be able to hurl each other about like that. Bloody good entertainment too; it's like a soap opera, but for blokes.
There was a womens' match between Beth Phoenix and Candice Michelle, which I got a strong suspicion had been included on the bill primarily for the benefit of all the dads who had been coerced into taking their offspring along. The funniest thing I think I saw was an arena security guard shooing away flocks of 10 year olds from the barrier fence – quite a startling departure from the usual security detail at Wembley!
Which brings me to the first of the two Wembley trips last week – Dream Theater. Once again, as with last time I saw them, they rocked out hard, and I found myself utterly blown away and at the same time disconcertingly unfamiliar with their material.
The lads were in fine form, and Mike Portnoy's drum kit was suitably over the top – I'm sure that thing can be seen from space. For some reason part way through the gig a scene from the 1984 Milos Forman film “Amadeus” popped into my head – if you were to look at the sheer number of notes that Dream Theater play in a song, it would probably be higher than some bands' entire song catalogues. Hence the reason why Paul christened them, “The Anti-White Stripes”.
Storming gig. Perfectly balanced self-indulgence and raw talent.