February 12, 2014

Concert Flashback: Level 42

 

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Event: Level 42 – Live in Concert

Date: Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Venue: Altar Bar, Pittsburgh, PA

Rock Travelers: Matt Vacca and Chris Wood

 

 

Good friend and local concert promoter Chris Wood hooked up a pair of free tickets for us to see Level 42 perform at the Altar Bar in the Strip District of Pittsburgh over the weekend.  The band is celebrating 30 years together with only a few U.S dates and Mark King has hooked up again with Mike Lindup on vocals and keyboards.42Level02

Fresh off our Iron Maiden success at Blossom the week before, we made a quick stop in Logan, Ohio, before taking the scenic route for the show.  My grandpa George would always pick me up for road trips stocked with apples, Mello Yello, and Pringles, so why start this one off any different?

We cranked up some Led Zeppelin and took some windy back roads for the first part of our trip. We agreed that it was some of the prettiest views we have both seen in Ohio through Guernsey County.  Trying to find 77 was “Over the Hills and Far Away”, indeed.

42Level43After some brief off-roading, Woody was suddenly craving a “good fish sandwich” for some reason. A confused gas station attendant actually recommended a place “up over the creek” called Camelot.  Insert your own Holy Grail quote here…

The sandwiches we tried were recommended by our bartender, Miss Gail. They actually were HUGE with crinkle-cut fries and fresh slaw. Our pit stop was terrific and so was the crazy service.

As my AAA directions proved useless, we winged it in an attempt to find the club. A detour of downtown Pittsburgh viewed from Mt. Washington was just as impressive as Western Ohio.

(Please click on any photo below to view full size or in a slideshow)

I remembered that the original Primanti Brothers was also in the Pittsburgh Strip District so we crossed the river and headed in for a quick sandwich before the show. Woody had never been to this Pittsburgh institution, so I recommended we split a Pastrami…Wow!

When we finally made it to the Altar Bar we found it to be a great venue for a band like Level 42. It was actually a converted church with lots of stained glass, an intimate stage and a big warm sound. When the band hit the stage there were about 300 in attendance.

The band sounded great and was definitely having a good time.  Level 42 has a lot of passionate fans that, like Woody, seemed to appreciate their almost jazz-fusion tracks even more than hearing the 80′s hits. Front man Mark King is an amazing bass player and an underrated singer.

I found myself enjoying the parts of the set list from the early days and the flat out jamming even more than the great versions of radio staples”Something About You”, “Lessons in Love” and “Running in the Family.” We both agreed that the only sad omission was the track “Children Say.”

42Level18After the rather short but energetic set, we headed back to Primanti Brothers to split a Corned Beef and an order of Chili Cheese Fries. Level 42 was a great show, the perfect road trip and one ticket stub I never thought I would add to my collection. It was definitely worth the drive and the food alone in the Strip District will have us heading back again as soon as possible.

The question is what great 80′s band would we most want to see live next in this type of setting?

The Fixx? Talk Talk? Duran Duran?