It is Saturday night, but I am only going to tackle Friday in this post. Friday’s classes were good. We had a guest speaker in Managing Death Investigation, an arson investigator from New York City with 30+ years on the job. He was a very good instructor with a lot of knowledge to pass on; I could have seen him covering the same material in eight hours vs the two hours he had. He showed us a 9/11 video I had never seen before, very disturbing footage from an independent videographer at ground zero. He also brought gifts for the class, NYFD t-shirts, hats, and pins, along with a copy of a ground zero photo he had taken. He gave me a 9/11 commemorative cap from one of the stations; very cool, I like baseball caps. The females in the class got t-shirts from one of the hook and ladder companies whose nickname is “The Happy Hookers.”
After classes ended, I met up with Dennis from Cleveland OH and Joe from the Maryland Transportation Authority. Joe was headed home for the weekend and set us up with secure parking at the World Trade Center in downtown Baltimore. Dennis and I were headed into Baltimore to catch Amon Amarth in concert. Baltimore’s water front area is pretty cool. There is an aquarium, four historic ships you can tour, dragon boats you can rent, an old power plant remade into shops and restaurants, and numerous other attractions.
Despite stop and go traffic the whole way, we made it up to Baltimore in plenty of time for the concert. We bummed around the waterfront district for awhile. The Barnes and Noble store in the old power plant was pretty cool. They had retained the old chimneys in the building but cut them away so you walked through the middle of them. The escalators were designed so that you could see the workings of the mechanisms; the underside of each escalator was clear plexiglass. A couple of blocks away was the Little Italy district which Joe recommended for dinner. The entire multiblock area was comprised of three story old brick homes that had been converted to restaurants. We picked one pretty much at random, but the food was great, even if fettuccini alfredo would not meet with the approval of my PT instructor.
The concert was at the RamsHead Live. It had a pretty good turnout, about a thousand people I would guess, but it easily accommodated that many and could have held more. There were three levels for the audience. The old people like Dennis and I ceded the floor in front of the stage to the kids, but our viewpoint was even better on the second floor. Amon Amarth put on a killer show, they took the stage at 9:30 and finished their first encore at 12:15 (I am pretty sure there was going to be a second encore but we had to go). I do not know how it was humanly possible for the lead singer to growl for that long. The crowd was pretty animated. Neither Dennis nor I had ever seen a mosh pit so brutal, those guys (and some girls) were colliding pretty dang hard (for the record, I do not see the sense of the mosh pit and I do not understand how slamming into other people could enhance your enjoyment of a concert). I saw a couple of guys who nearly knocked themselves senseless and had to be helped to the edge of the pit. For all the apparent violence though, everyone still watched out for each other and anyone who was knocked down was quickly helped up. I don’t understand the attraction, but it is clearly friendly, not combative.
There was a steady stream of crowd surfers too. The funniest thing was this black guy in a wheel chair who was active both in the mosh pit and crowd surfing. The crowd in the pit was pretty protective of him, if he started to topple they got him back upright, but he was not holding back when he would slam into the other people. He rode the crowd all the way up to the stage a half dozen times too, even the singer commented on him. My hat was off to the security guys who had to catch all the crowd surfers at the front. The second floor was much more relaxed and I did not come home with any bruises.
For their first set, Amon Amarth did their most recent album in its entirety, in order. This is the album I had listened to as I did my practice running for the three months prior to the Academy. As they played, with each song I would think back to some section of my neighborhood. It took me a couple songs to realize, but each song made me think of where I would be on my run when I heard that song on the headphones. It is interesting how a song can become tied in your memory. The second set was an assortment of songs from previous albums; it was also louder than the first set, I broke out the earplugs for the second set. Even the second set was not nearly as loud as Eluveitie’s concert, though, Kathryn. It was a good show. Outside of Kathryn and maybe Tracy, no one else reading this would have been likely to have appreciated it, so you will have to take my word for it.
The traffic on the way back was not bad and we made it back to the Academy just before 0200. I had to get up at 0600 to go tour the USS Eisenhower. I will save the Eisenhower for the next post but I did make it up in time and I was glad that I did. These last two videos are pretty much only for Kathryn. The sound is fairly crappy but they are probably still better than most of the concert video on youtube.