Saturday, July 7 proved to be the most action-packed day of the entire CBGB Festival. Flush with the knowledge that Duff McKagan's Loaded was set to hit the outdoor stage in Time Square at half past noon, I soon found myself positioned front and center with the other rabid fans.
McKagan hit the stage on time and the scene was quickly transformed to a hard rocking atmosphere in the heart of New York City.
Duff announced the last time he played New York was at The Blender Theater in May 2009
(a show I happened to be at as well - see my coverage of that one here:
This time he said he told the Mayor the next time he played NYC they were going to have to shut down Times Square (which as it turns out, is exactly what was happening here).
As expected, the band was super tight. Leaning heavily on material from the most recent Loaded album.
Duff talked about how special it was to him to be included in this CBGB festival celebration. How he played the original club with his first band Guns N Roses back in 1987.
The man sounds and looks better than ever. He personifies the best aspects of being a rocker - now from the perspective of a healthy adult who's passion for the music has never waned.
The dude in the left corner of the stage there (looking somewhat like a Duff clone) danced through every song played - and eventually made his way into the crowd with us to experience it all from the fans side.
The band ripped out every song like seasoned rockers, pummeling the crowd with it's two guitar, bass and drums attack.
Duff has that easygoing stage presence of someone who's done countless shows. Here he engages the audience in some amusing participation activities:
To play the classic Guns N Roses song "It's So Easy" - Duff swapped out the guitar he was playing for his trusty bass.
The surprises kept on coming, as original Sex Pistol Glen Matlock joined Duff and the band and proceeded to rock out in true Punk Rock style.
Glen and Duff - two icons from hugely influential bands - mutual admiration.
Though I was clearly too close to shoot any kind of decent sounding video (and I apologize for the inadequacies of my feeble device - those 'poping' sounds are really annoying) - I enjoyed shooting the images - including getting myself and some of the other revelers in - via the classic 360-sweep view.
Duff on stage - Croms right up front. Just as it should be.
Glen Matlock playing with Duff McKagan's Loaded at the CBGB Festival. Celebrate
Getting to meet and chat with Duff afterwards ranks right up there with one of my all time special moments of coolness. Simply put - the guy is a complete role model. Cleaned up badboy. Into fitness, writing and financial advice. Those three things are a big part of MY life. Yet he still rocks as hard as ever. It would be difficult for me to find someone else that so completely mirrors where my priorities are today.
Totally stoked from this amazing first event of the day, my summertime "show bro" Rob the drid and I hoofed it over to the North Stage at 52nd street to catch 90's alterna-punks Superchunk
The band was already on, raging through their set. So, we packed in with the crowd and immediately assimilated to the head bopping vibe.
It was a great atmosphere there in the early afternoon. The band was super tight and the audience seemed to know the words to every song played.
Check out their final song of the set, captured from the proper distance for a better audio experience:
The Saturday portion of CBGB Festival was off to an amazing start!
With the Times Square shows now in the books, it was now off to Central Park and the big SummerStage shows.