April 27, 2003
Trying to describe the Livestock 13 experience is not an easy thing to do. The event is part concert, part massive camping trip, part drunken party that contains a wide variety of unique dynamics.
The annual event put on by 98 Rock (WXTB) took place in its traditional spot at Festival Park in Zephyrhills. It's about 15 miles or so north of Tampa, and far enough out in the country to allow for enough space for everyone.
If you've ever been to a major concert or outdoor event, you know how it goes. Thousands of people crowded around a stage, typically with a band or some type of performer entertaining the crowd. In this sense, Livestock is like the Ozzfests and the Lollapaloozas of the world. The event featured two stages, allowing for a minimal amount of downtime for the bands to break down and set up (97X's "Next Big Thing 2" in Coachman Park last December had a similar setup).
What makes Livestock so unique though is the camping aspect of it. There was a massive campground area set up, and much like the Oklahoma land rush people busted in at noon on Friday to claim the prime spots. The area referred to by the radio folks as "Gen Pop" featured a crazy assortment of people, almost all caucasian, including some who were doing their best to live up to many of the negative stereotypes people have about the South.
Unfortunately for the event, a major thunderstorm rolled through on Friday. I had intended to go for the Friday night fun, and I was literally packed and ready to head out when the storm hit here in Tampa. Huge booms of thunder sounded and flashes of lightning illuminated the night sky. It was about 8 p.m. at that point. I called Damien, who had been selling tickets for 98 Rock, and he told me that they had actually closed the gate due to lightning. He advised me not to come out, which turned out to be good advice. I stayed home Friday night.
In contrast, Saturday was a dry, beautiful day. It was warm, but not blisteringly hot. Getting through the security checkpoints proved to be a bit cumbersome, but I made it inside into the "backstage area". That term is a bit misleading though, as this was a massive tract of land with plenty of room for all of the crew.
That's the side to Livestock that most people don't see, the backstage part. There were rows and rows of buses and 18-wheelers. These concerts are a major production, and it takes a small army to put it together. Interestingly, most of the buses were marked with signs in the front, like "3 Doors Down Bus" or "Theory Of A Deadman Bus". I imagine that I passed by many of the performers without knowing who they were. While I wasn't there in a working capacity, even if I had recognized them I wasn't going to mark out and make the station look bad.
Bubba the Love Sponge ® had a luxury bus that was very similar to the one we took to the Lex & Terry funeral in Jacksonville two months ago. It was equipped with DirecTV, which was great as it allowed for the chance to take a break in the AC and catch up on the NFL Draft (I plan to address the draft in detail in tomorrow's column).
The selection of women was quite varied at the event. You had some drop-dead gorgeous girls (mostly in the backstage area), some average-to-good-looking women, and some truly unsavory bus station skanks. The displays of nudity were fascinating, such as one girl with a Mons Venus-quality body who stripped naked and put on a show for a crowd of guys in the backstage area. You know that scene in
Boogie Nights where the people at the party watch Little Bill's wife screw some guy in the driveway of Jack's house? It was kind of like that. Five stars. We never had anything like this behind the scenes on This Morning Around The Bay.
Unfortunately, not all of it was of that caliber. There were people naked at Livestock that you didn't want to see naked. At all. In my one excursion through the "Gen Pop" area riding shotgun on Bubba's golf cart, I saw a variety of quite unsavory sights.
The "body painting" was a popular option, where women would get their tits painted and then walk around showing off their artwork. Not all of it was good, but there's no denying the fascination level for the higher quality displays.
There are some times where it's better than others to be single; Livestock was one of those instances. You'll just have to trust me on that one. Unless you're Nilla, who took one for the team.
The big disappointment of the evening came when Godsmack finished their set, ending the music for the night. For weeks we had been planning an event called "Club Bubba", an ultra exclusive party featuring the best of the best of the women from the event, and some lucky guys with connections like me. Unfortunately, and much to my dismay, security wouldn't allow people from Gen Pop through the gate to come over to our entrance. There was about a one-hundred yard long no-man's land area in-between the two gates.
So there we were in Club Bubba, with some girls but not very many, and most of the hot ass trapped over in Gen Pop. I walked over to the fence surrounding the backstage area and looked over, grimacing. It was a total West Berlin/East Berlin situation, complete with barbed-wire topped fences. I was tempted to walk to Gen Pop myself, though I knew that had the capacity to be both dangerous and frightening (seeing the crazies in their nighttime drunken peak). Plus I didn't know if I'd be able to get back. So I stayed and ended up going to sleep around 2 a.m. on the bus.
What made me mad was that there was this gorgeous blonde chick who I was all set to meet up with. She'd spotted me as I left the 98 Rock meet-and-greet area around 5:30 p.m. and stopped me. She had a pass to get back there, but needed three more for her friends for Club Bubba that night. I racked my brain trying to think who might have the passes or where they'd be... when suddenly Bubba pulled up on his golf cart. He has an amazing radar for finding hot women. She went over and got her passes, and then she and I talked a bit more. She had her hair in pigtails, and her nails were polished with red-and-black and looked really good. Normally I don't notice that sort of thing, but it was too impressive to overlook. And did I mention that she was gorgeous? She asked if I was going to be at Club Bubba; I told her yes, and she smiled and promised to see me there.
Unfortunately, like most of the rest of the pass-holders, I presume she was stuck in Gen Pop. Damn damn damn. So much for the plans for the day-night doubleheader, to put it in baseball-speak. In hindsight I should've snagged her number, but I figured she would be at Club Bubba. Like I've written in this space before: easy come, easy go.
Bubba's friend Randy was cooking out for dinner backstage, and he fixed some really good grilled boneless chicken. It was delicious. After dinner, I ended up on the bus talking with Edge of WWE's wife Alanah for awhile. At first I didn't know who she was, since she didn't have her ring on (she told me later that she'd left it at home for fear of what might happen to it out there). Edge was also there backstage (in a neck brace, as he's recovering from neck surgery).
I ran into Manson later on in the evening with his wife Donna. He was giving me the business about shaving my head (saying it was gimmick infringement, as Brent also has a shorn dome). Come to think of it, Big Dick and Rick Schmidt from 98 Rock both also have shaved heads. Oh well, I had the look before I moved here, so whatever. I should've given Manson grief for drinking Tequiza (I didn't know they still made that stuff).
While watching Godsmack, I met this girl named Sarah who told me about her hopes to be a rock star and how she aspired to be up on stage someday at Livestock. I hope she makes it.
Livestock 13 was a great time and a true adventure in every sense of the word. The Club Bubba idea was brilliant in concept, and hopefully next year steps can be taken to make sure that it can work as planned... I had a blast.
Time now to look over the NFL Draft results. I will say that I'm really happy with the Titans' draft, that Ron Jaworski of ESPN totally missed the mark in criticizing the Lions' draft, and that the Buffalo Bills got a steal in the 7th round landing Mississippi State LB Mario Haggan...