It’s the 19th of December 2010 and Milo has gone to Brisbane. While I probably should be penning a uni assignment, I’m going to procrastinate even further and attempt to put into words how amazing the night of December 18th, 2010 was. They say good, good things come to those who wait and I had been waiting over 20 years for last night to arrive. I promised myself the next time the Descendents reunited to play shows in the USA, I would book myself on the first available flight. Now a mere ten-minute cab-ride from my own front door, I was about to witness my wildest dreams come true.
Due to the costs of Bill Stevenson’s recent surgery, Milo had agreed to play their first shows in years to help his friends out, so a reunited Descendents lineup was booked as co-headliners with Megadeth of a new festival called “No Sleep Til” being organized by Blue Murder and Destroy All Lines touring companies. Given Milo’s commitment to his scientific research, the tour had been organized in such a way that even with travel between differing global time zones, Milo realistically only needed to take a couple of days off work to tour Australia for the first time in the bands 30 or more year history.
Once in the gates I bumped into a few people who were at the Melbourne show the night before, all of whom confirmed reports at how amazing seeing the Descendents live in the flesh was. While the festival lineup contained plenty of other big name acts in that of Nofx, Gwar, Alkaline Trio, Frenzal Rhomb, Parkway Drive and Dropkick Murphys, there was no denying that the majority of the people there in attendance was to see one band only. Who said they couldn’t sell out a telephone booth?
The anticipation slowly built through the day as I wandered around watching a few songs of each band. I hadn’t been to a festival since ALL last toured on the Warped Tour a decade ago and swore I’d never go to another one, a promise I had been happily adhering to just fine, til this happened. I don’t like crowds or outdoor shows, as the sound usually sucks, but fortunately the majority of this lineup was split between the Hordern Pavillion and surrounding buildings. As the day dragged into night, the hours became minutes and soon enough I found myself back in the Royal Agricultural Hall, counting down the seconds.
Luckily I had managed to snag myself a photo pass and felt privileged to be separated from the heaving masses, even if it was just for three songs. Most of the other photographers must have opted to shoot Megadave instead. Fools! I jockeyed for position with the chosen few, deciding to start with Stephen Edgerton’s side of stage first.
Out strolled Milo, complete with trademarked specs and a Last shirt, immediately bringing the song Van to mind and images of Milo popping a tape in the stereo. I was star struck to say the least. Here in front of me stood my teenage idol, my all-knowledgeable confidant who I sought for advice about anything and everything. If I was a sexually confused, fourteen year old girl then Milo served as the equivalent of my Dolly Doctor. He taught me all I needed to know about girls, rejection, the joys of being immature and of course those stupid parents. Why won’t they shut up?
They start the set with title track “Descendents” and Milo does know how to sing. My eyes start to water. What the fuck? This is no time to be hormonal. You’re not pregnant you idiot! Back to the task at hand. Frame, focus, click. I stand like a roo in the headlights as I watch Stephen Edgerton do the work of ten guitarists at once. I can almost touch him. I snap out of it and shoot some more pics. You’ve only got three songs moron! Photographer restrictions remember! Up next is “Hope”, easily one of my top three Descendents songs and I find it even harder not to be mesmerized. I shoot the odd pic while a photographer next to me wonders what I am screaming about singing along. Then straight into “I’m The One” another fave and I start to panic, my privilege is about to end, fuck better shoot some pics of Karl Alvarez. The bass player is always neglected, no matter what the band. I do so and stand back to watch the end of the song. Then security promptly moves in and kicks us out.
Side of stage I slowly pack up my camera gear, trying to milk the most of it all. Security returns to monitoring the crowd and I eye up my chances of walking up to side of stage. I peer back into the thousands of people in the crowd and then forward at the 20 or so people side of stage. Fuck it; why not give it a try. Progress unimpeded I soon make myself comfortable on the rear right of stage in perfect view of Bill Stevenson shredding his kit apart for the next 20 songs. You sure get a value packed set out of the Descendents as they leave no fave song untouched and the crowd looks as into it as I am. When the house lights come on, even the people right up the back of the hall are screaming along.
I spot Bruz and Gordy on the opposite of the stage singing along having a ball and decide I need to share this occasion with some one else as equally as appreciative. I elect to go over after they finish “I’m Not A Loser” and begin to head towards the back of the stage as the song winds down. At the same time, the band walks off, right towards me. I stick my hand out as Bill walks up for a high five, he slaps it, I swear to never wash it again. Why I did this, I don’t really know. I never really do that sort of shit.
Now right in front of me the band stops and has a meeting to soak up the obligatory timeframe before they walk back out for an encore. I am shell shocked to say the least. Feeling like a little kid spying on his parents, I listen to Bill compliment Milo on how good he is sounding and how he is really pushing his voice. Milo agrees and comments he doesn’t want to over do it for fear of losing his voice. Karl and Stephen are engaged in a conversation too, but my focus is on the other two. I think about reaching out to tap Milo on the shoulder and say something. What I would say I don’t really know. What does one say in a situation like this? Hi I am a huge fan? Maybe a song request, maybe I should ask for a photo, maybe a… my train of thought is broken as they head back on stage to the deafening screams of the crowd. Time resumes and the band launch into “Bikeage”. Oh well, too late now idiot! The moment is lost forever and probably will never come my way again. I should have asked them to play “Pep Talk”. Never mind. It’s not the end of the world....
Dedicated to Gordy, Bruz, Joel, Jono, Stacey and anyone else I know who wears the mark of Milo. Big thanks to Nigel at Destroy All Lines for the photo pass.
Setlist courtesy of Joel Attenborough
Check out the first song of the set in Sydney..
And can watch the full set below or over HERE on the Moshcam site.
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