The Land Of Chocolate

Hershey Park Amphitheatre
Show #1 and Show #3
Hershey, PA
August 8, 1999

Hershey Park is known for basically two things -- rides, and chocolate -- both of which I didn't get to see very much of at all. You see, on Sunday, August 8, 1999, Steven Shilling and I left from Northern NJ and drove 3 hours each way to Hershey Park with one thing in mind... Al. It rained a little bit on the ride over, so we were a little worried that the concerts might be rained out, but by the time we got there, it had stopped raining.

We arrived at about 12:00 and made our way through the park to the Amphitheatre. The theater was really small and there were already two lines forming, one at the top of the theater, and one at the bottom. The theater was so small that there were really no bad seats in the whole theater. We made our way down to the line at the bottom and met up with a few Al fans that were waiting in line since the park opened at 10:00. Steven headed off to find Sandy and her family and I grabbed some lunch and some sodas for the people in line and then I joined the group in line.

For about 2 hours we stood around and swapped Al stories and waved to Sharon who was in the other line at the top of the theater. Right before the show, Steven and Sandy showed up, but this one woman complained that they shouldn't be allowed in line because he didn't wait there with us all day, yet she let her daughter in. Hypocrite. Steven and Sandy went to the back of the line, but still made it into the first show so it didn't really matter too much.

When the gates opened, we all ran to the front row and staked our claims. I had nice seats in the very front row directly in front of the stage. We tracked down the after show pass lady and I gave my extra pass to Stacy, Sandy's friend. I snapped a few pictures of the stage, tracked down Sharon and her friends and then Jim came out to do some sound checks on his guitars.

At 3:30 the show started with a slightly modified setlist. Al started off with "It's All About The Pentiums" followed by "Beverly Hillbillies/Money For Nothing" and then went right into the medley. Then Al did "Bedrock Anthem," followed by "Amish Paradise" and "Fat." For an encore Al did "The Saga Begins," and "Yoda" with the new, very cool, "Yoda Chant." The entire show was an only an hour long, but it was packed with energy as usual. Since Al was so close, I managed to get some nice pictures.

Hershey Park Amphitheatre

AIf you had a pass, you were only allowed in after one show, but it was your choice. I picked to go in after the first show. So after the show, we went to the theater door. Jim and Rubén came out to sign autographs and people with passes were let in to meet Al in groups of 10 or so. When I went in, Al said "Hi Dave" and Sharon dared me to sit on Al's lap so, naturally. I sat on Al's lap.

Then I talked to Al for a little bit. I told him how Hershey was my last show on the tour until Canada and he said, "Well, the shows really don't change much." So I told him that yes they do, and he changed "Yoda Chant" on me. Al laughed and said, "I changed it just for you, Dave." We talked a little longer and Al introduced me to a long-time friend of his, and then we said our goodbyes.

I went into this other room and Bermuda was there chatting with people. After most everybody left, Jon and I talked for a few minutes and then I decided to leave to give him some time to rest in between shows.

Hershey Park Amphitheatre

The second show had already started entering the theater, and there was no chance I would get inside, so I went to get something to eat. After eating, I went onto the only ride I went on all day and I got to see the only chocolate I saw all day. It was some ride where they show you how the chocolate was made. It was more informational than it was a ride though.

After the ride, I went back to the theater and ran into Rubén who was throwing Hershey kisses out to people in line. I got in to see the third show. I was a couple of rows back on Jim's side of the stage, but the seats were still pretty good. I bought a "Running With Scissors" hat and some popcorn and watched the show. The show was the exact same setlist, and Al started to lose his voice on the high notes. Three shows were starting to take a toll on his voice. At least he would have 3 days "off" to rest the voice. Anytime that there was a break, Al would drink some water from his cup of water that he kept on stage. But despite the voice and the fact that he must have been dead tired from doing three shows, Al didn't miss a beat. If possible, this show was more energetic than the first. Al and the band put on another great show! Great job guys!

After the show, the band literally had to rush to get out of there. They had to be in Toronto the next morning at 9 a.m. to film a MuchMusic Al Music special. Al was whisked away in this tiny car and the rest of the band left on this tramcar. Jon yelled at us to meet him by the bus, so we followed the tramcar to the bus area.

There were only a handful of people waiting to meet Al, so they let us all back to see him. Sandy nearly fainted when she saw Al and had Steve Jay pick her up and carry her around. Both Sandy and Stacy were shaking so much that I had to take their pictures for them. If not, they would have come out all jumpy.

Finally, I said my good-byes to Al and Jon and Al gave me a big hug and told me that he would miss me. The band and Al then all got into this van and drove off. Overall a great day, and I was getting tired from standing in line all day and I knew it would be a long ride home, so Steven and I packed up, took forever to find the car, and then headed back to NJ.

More Pictures!!!
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