Archive for the Concerts Category

Detroit Trip: Metallica Concert

Posted in Concerts on June 11, 2013 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  40,469


For once, the Acuras stayed garaged without a single mile being put on them for a weekend.  I hung up the car keys and grabbed my carry-on bag for a 4-day, 3900-mile round-trip to Michigan.

Southwest Airlines transported me and a few of my friends to Detroit, Michigan for the 2nd annual “Orion Music & More” festival, headlined by Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and about 30 other bands.  This was our hot rod for the weekend:  a 2012 Ford Fusion SE with 25,000 miles on it.  I’m pictured here with our friend Raul.


Ahh, Detroit.  Motor City.  This was once home to nearly 2 million people (circa 1950) but as of the 2010 census is now populated by only around 700,000.  The city’s decline is very evident in the architecture of downtown, which we’ll see a bit later.   This was only my second visit ever to Detroit.  The first was in January 2012 when I saw the Acura ILX Concept reveal at the North American International Auto Show.


We stayed at the historic Fort Shelby Hotel which dates back to 1916.  Accommodations were very nice!  The city of Detroit is trying hard to bring life back to downtown.

On Saturday morning, we took a walking tour of the area.  Across the waterway lies the city of Windsor, Toronto, Canada.  Detroit is the only major U.S. city along the Canadian border from which one travels SOUTH to enter Canada.  There’s a tunnel underneath the water connecting the two cities.  It was completed in 1930.


This is a look at the U.S. – Canadian border line with the General Motors HQ in the background.  The lowest floor of the General Motors building has a showroom where we wandered around and checked out the latest offerings.


Later that afternoon, our shuttle bus ride took about 20 minutes and we rolled across the bridge over the Detroit River to Belle Isle Park.  I’m seated here with Raul, with Linh and Matt in the seat ahead of us on the bus.


Entering Belle Isle.  The island itself is only about 1.5 square miles in size.


Aside from all the music, Orion offered a lot of other entertainment, including a custom car & motorcycle show.  It’s a well-known fact that Metallica lead singer James Hetfield has always loved cars.


James’ “Skyscraper,” a lavender 1953 Buick Skylark, is pictured at bottom right in the below.  At top left, we’re chilling at one of the Met Club lounges, and at top right I’m getting electrocuted by a fake electric chair.  One of Metallica’s songs, called “Ride the Lightning,” is a reference to getting electrocuted.


Near one of the 5 stages at Orion, 1950 Buick undergoes some bodywork.  This car is not unlike the 1950 Buick that my grandfather owned during his 20’s.  Love that toothy grille!


Surprise!  While we thought that Metallica would only perform on day 2, they ended up taking the stage in mid-afternoon under the fake band name “Dehaan.”  Thousands of people stampeded to watch, including ourselves.


Rocking out.


The second day of the festival, things got wilder still.  Determined to stake out our spaces at the front of the concert, we went a full 4 hours early.  I was an arm’s distance from the railing.  It’s estimated that 40,000 people were in attendance at the show, so I definitely lucked out!


Deftones lead singer Chino Moreno got the crowd energized during the hour-long set.


Finally it was time for Metallica to close out the show.  We heard some of our favorite songs and some rare ones, too.  The crowds were intense.  At one point everyone was crammed so tightly together that we simply swayed together.  Every so often a brave crowd surfer would come along and we had to watch our heads to avoid getting kicked in the face.


Here’s a video that captures some of the action.

For having played together over 32 years, Metallica still rocks.

Detroit harsh winter climate takes its toll on vehicles.  Detroit has a “humid continental climate” that’s influenced by the Great Lakes.  The cars out there are a lot different than I’m used to seeing in the Arizona desert.  For one thing, I noticed a ton more domestic vehicles on the road – presumably due to the area’s roots as the hub of domestic manufacturing.


Here’s one ride that definitely outshines most of Detroit’s vehicles:  my friend Waseem’s 1990 Acura Legend LS sedan.  I’ve known Waseem for a number of years through the Acura Legend online forums.  He and I both attended last year’s NALM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he stopped by my hotel to pick me up for an exclusive ride in his Legend on Sunday.


This is one 23-year-old Acura that doesn’t look its age.


Stunning from every direction.


Best of all, it’s the top-line LS with an “Information Center” in the instrument panel.  This fun little computer has all kinds of neat features, including MPG figures.  Oddly enough, the 2nd generation Legend (model years 1991-95) did not offer anything of the sort.


Waseem picked me up and we explored a little of downtown Detroit from the comfort of his 97,000-mile Legend.


Our key destination was this massive 18-story building from 1912 called Michigan Central Station.  Originally constructed at a cost of $15 million as a train station, it’s sat vacant since the last Amtrak train pulled away in 1988.  Waseem and I got a few pictures from outside.  The building is currently surrounded by a chain link fence and barbed wire.  It appears the future of Michigan Central Station is uncertain.  A couple of times, new uses have been proposed (including making the building the new home of the Detroit Police Department), but funding has become the key road block.


High Mileage Stories

My friend Chris has been around Drive to Five long enough to be featured with his Honda Preludes.  He did some junkyarding near his hometown in Maryland this past week and came across a vehicle that has achieved an impressive milestone.  This 1997 Toyota 4Runner ended up getting junked after a whopping 522,587 miles.  That’s exactly 268 miles further than my Legend has traveled at this point.  Hat tip to Toyota for such a feat!  I’ve always loved this video series (be sure to watch all 3 parts!) where Top Gear tried destroying a Toyota pickup in every possible way, yet it lived on.



Here’s another one that’s pretty special.  Randy Balingit-Hartmann bought a 1989 BMW M5 brand new in his early 20’s.  Today, he’s still driving it and has logged over 400,000 miles.  Randy is so committed to his M5 that he says he’ll “be buried in it.”  I appreciate Randy’s enthusiasm for keeping an old car on the road!

Great to be back on the road!


Deftones Concert

Posted in Concerts on November 18, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  516,965

Odometer (ILX):  19,012

Besides a luxurious Acura, the most important ingredient for any awesome road trip is good music.  As some of my blog readers have seen, I’ve been to a few shows this summer.  Last night, I saw the Deftones perform live at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona.  It was the second time I’d seen them.

My friend Raul (who also saw Metallica with me earlier this year) drove out from Studio City, California in his white 2010 Acura TSX 6-speed for the occasion.

We had to get a few “sibling” pictures before sundown.

Though it’s not an Acura, Matt’s 2012 Nissan 370Z Sport 6-speed is a worthy ride, too (he’d waste us both in a drag race!) so he joined for the group shots.

“Enough with the cars; let’s get to the concert!” they said.  On the way to the venue, Raul commented that the ILX felt just as large as his TSX inside.

Marquee accommodates around 1,000 fans and had been sold out (and even OVER-sold) long before this event.  It was a shoulder-to-shoulder experience being crammed into the venue with so so many other people.  Good luck trying to endure the line for the bathroom at a concert like this!

Me, Matt, Raul, pre-show.  Ready to rock!

Opening act was Scars On Broadway, well known for songs like this one.

Finally, Deftones (established 1988) took the stage and the crowd lit up.  My favorite song, which received a ton of fan involvement, was Poltergeist.  When lead singer Chino Moreno took the stage and started clapping to the beat, everyone enthusiastically joined in.  I loved it!

In all, we heard 19 songs.  Chino spent very little time with “talk” and the band moved quickly from song to song.  Just the way it should be!

Here is one clip from “My Own Summer (Shove It)” that I recorded with my iPhone.  As one may imagine with a song title like that, there was a lot of energy in the theater and a lot of noise.  It was one of only a handful of times during the show when I seriously pondered, “Should I put those ear plugs in now?!”

The inevitable post-concert traffic jam in the parking structure after the show.  Folks were surprisingly courteous in allowing others to exit.  I didn’t mind the delay – after having stood on my feet for the last several hours, I was just enjoying my plush leather seat.

After the show, we wanted to re-live the moment for a couple songs in particular so we blasted the ILX’s 7-speaker Premium audio system to some of the selections from the band’s most recent album, Koi No Yokan.

Enroute to Whataburger for a midnight hamburger.  But, this wasn’t just any hamburger – this was a green chile double!   Two beef patties, Monterey Jack and American cheese, and seasoned green chiles.  This is only available in 3 states, of which Arizona is one of them!  Great food to cap off a great concert and evening.

I’m having a blast with the ILX and excited to close in on 20,000 miles soon.

Quick pic at my grad school for a visit yesterday.  T-Bird class of 2006!

‘Tis the season, right?  Check out this ILX Santa commercial that was released this week.

Long-Lived Legend

Looks like there’s another Acura Legend coupe in the running for 500k status.  My friend Alan shared with me this link to an Ebay auction for a 1994 L coupe automatic with over 418,000 miles on the odometer.  Impressive status!  Condition of the car leaves a bit to be desired, but I wonder how well it runs?

Holiday travels await the ILX this upcoming week, as I’ll be making my way to Utah yet again to spend time with family for Thanksgiving.  For those who will travel before my next blog installment, be safe and have a great holiday!

Metric Concert: Tempe, Arizona

Posted in Arizona, Concerts, ILX on October 12, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer:  16,801

Rock on!  There’s a good reason why I know that the Acura ILX Premium Audio System volume maxes out at level 40 and still sounds crisp and clear.  I love my music!  And so does Acura, which is why the automaker has partnered with musical group Metric for a tour.  The latest destination in the Metric concert tour brought the band to a venue just 5.1 miles from my home:  The Marquee Theatre.  Easy drive!

I’d last seen the band in June of this year when I drove to the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood.  That event wasn’t a concert, but rather a “listening event” where I interacted with band members, music industry representatives, and Acura folks.  Since then I’ve become quite familiar with the latest Synthetica album.  This week’s event was my first real taste of what the band sounds like live.  Marquee has the capacity to hold about 1,000 people.

Heading across the Mill Avenue bridge to head into downtown Tempe for a bite to eat with my friend Kelvin before the show.

Tickets baby!

Inside the Marquee Theatre.

Kelvin and I await the start of the show.

After an opening performance by fellow Canadian band Half Moon Run, Metric takes the stage!

Lead vocalist Emily Haines started off the setlist with Artificial Nocturne.

My favorite song, Speed the Collapse, was played third.

Great show!  Outside the theatre, a Crystal Black Pearl Acura ILX 2.0 was on display.

Stickers on the rear doors.

Back to my own ILX after the show.

And rocking out to some fitting music on the iPod as we headed home.

A car is a way for people like me to express identity.  For many folks, that means customization.  Even though the Acura ILX has only been on sale for a few months, aftermarket accessory companies like suspension-maker TEIN have already started launching products for ILX tuning.  I saw these pictures posted on the company’s website.

Pretty aggressive stance on this Fathom Blue ILX!

And don’t you think the ILX would look stunning as a 2 door coupe?  AcuraConnected posted a rendering today of a Crimson Garnet ILX photoshopped as a coupe.

This post marks Drive to Five’s 150th entry!   I suppose it’s time to start shooting for 500 posts, just like I shot for 500,000 miles, right?

Have a great weekend!

Metal Mania & Fresh Tint

Posted in Concerts, ILX on June 28, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  514,250

Odometer (ILX):  2,517

The above was as much excitement as the 2013 ILX saw over the weekend, parked at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport’s offsite parking for a few days.  That’s because I was playing on the east coast and getting my ears blasted by heavy metal.

New Jersey Travels:

I was one of 30,000 people who attended a 30-band music festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey called “Orion Music & More,” headlined by Metallica.  Say what?  Yes I still have my hearing!

One highlight of the trip right off the bat upon arrival in Philadelphia airport was getting to see my good friend Chris from the Baltimore area.  He was the single most influential person in stoking the fires of high-mileage aspirations for me.  I loved reading about his > 200k mile Honda Prelude over a decade ago when we were both active members on a now-obsolete online message board for Honda Prelude enthusiasts.

I’ve shared Chris’ story on Drive to Five before.  His original 3rd generation Prelude ended up kicking the bucket just prior to seeing its odometer roll over to 400,000, but a few months ago his old Prelude was reborn (in spirit) in the form of a gorgeous red 1991 Si 4WS 5-speed.  This is the ride in which he picked me up after my redeye flight on Saturday morning.

The local Acura dealership, Metro Acura, beckoned from just a few blocks away so we ventured over there after having breakfast at Denny’s.

Metro had only 4 ILX models in stock – one of which was a beautiful Crimson Garnet 6-speed manual.

Chris checks it out.

PHL skyline:

And following are some of the sights from the concert at Bader Field, after driving the hour from Philly to Atlantic City:

Laser light show during the performance of “One” from Metallica’s 1989 “… And Justice for All” album.  As a “Met Club” member, my friend Matt was able to get us exclusive access to the area right next to the stage.  I was close enough to have lead singer James Hetfield’s spit reach me!

This festival marked the first time the band’s song “Escape” was been played live since its 1984 release.  Big history for metalheads.  This is a video I shot with my iPhone of the big debut.

Along with the concert was a car show – including this display of a 1950 Buick (under construction, right before our eyes) that looked nearly identical to the 1950 Buick that my Grandpa Hugie drove in the mid 1950’s (and which I shared here).

Other sights from around Atlantic City during our visit:  My Acura Legend-driving friends better appreciate this sign I spotted at Bally’s Casino!  Legend love, baby.

Boardwalk looking southbound in Atlantic City from the Pier Shops overpass.

Looks like I need to work on that farmer’s tan.  The beach was the place to be.

What trip to the Philadelphia area would be complete without a cheesesteak?  Better yet – for breakfast!  At 8:30 in the morning on Sunday, we dined at Pat’s King of Steaks on Passyunk Avenue in downtown.

Because time allowed, we also took a look at the 2,000 pound symbol of freedom known as the Liberty Bell which since 2003 has been housed in a very nice museum right across the street from Independence Hall.  The bell dates to 1752.  History that goes back far is nearly unheard of in the western U.S.!  Hard to even comprehend what things must have been like over 250 years ago.

In the background of the picture is Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Hey look, a black Acura TSX with Delaware plates parked next to our Mazda 6 rental!

A memorable trip without a doubt!

Updates on the ILX adventure:

“Alex” as the ILX has been named, is doing well and enjoying his youth.  The TPMS error that I had been experiencing is now fixed.  Acura of Tempe took care of the car yesterday while I cruised to work in a pearl white 2012 Acura TL with the Technology package.  The additional power from the TL’s V6 motor made for a fun freeway onramp acceleration experience, but the car didn’t feel like it handled as nimbly as my ILX.  I liked that the TL has two power outlets (the ILX just has one).

As it turns out, the issue with the tire pressure system was simply a calibration / “learn” procedure that needed to take place.  Was great picking up the freshly washed car.

This means it’s time to start keeping track of maintenance on my new car and hanging onto all of its paperwork.  Anyone who’s followed Drive to Five for awhile knows that I obsess over details and recordkeeping.  I’ve tracked every dime spent on maintenance in the Legend over its lifetime, and I’ll do the same with the ILX.

Legend receipts, for any who were wondering, now total $33,000.

The ILX receipts total $8.08, and that’s because I picked up a bottle of Silver Moon touch-up paint from the Parts Department.

Bring on the binders!  At left are my 2 volumes on the Legend, and at right is the newly started ILX record.

My friend Jordan stopped by to check out the new ride yesterday.  Jordan drives a 187,185 mile 1991 Legend L coupe automatic in Phoenix Red with some nice performance upgrades.  I’ve always had a love for red Legend coupes!  Nice ride, Jordan!

While living in the desert is great if you love 300+ days of sunshine per year like I do, it also has its drawbacks.  Phoenix turns into a giant dust bowl at times.  The wind kicked up last night and we got some severe weather.  If this picture looks grainy, it’s because of the sand particles in the air.

Today, I had the windows tinted on the car.  Even though the ILX is in covered parking at work during the hottest times of the day, the privacy and comfort of tinted windows is a necessity for me living in Arizona (also, notice external temp at 112 degrees on the odometer shot above).  I took the car to a local place called Arizona Cars and had them install some quality 3M window film.  I also took this opportunity to have the same company go ahead and install a clear shield on the nose of the car, in hopes that this one doesn’t end up looking like the battered old Legend by the time it gets to 500,000 miles.

I think the results turned out awesome!

Acura ILX Facebook Group:

Six years ago I created the Acura Legend Owners & Enthusiasts group on Facebook and membership has grown steadily to today’s 752 members.  The group makes an excellent venue for encouraging discussion, sharing pictures, and coordinating events.  I’m proud of how well the Acura Legend online community continues to thrive today even 17 years after the model was discontinued from production.  It is a testament to how much timeless “soul” Acura instills into its vehicles as well as the owners who drive them.

For those who just can’t get enough ILX content via Drive to Five and web-based forums like Acurazine, remember to join the Acura ILX Owners & Enthusiasts group to stay connected with other folks who share the common interest.

TireKicker Feature Story Follow-Up:

Michael Hagerty authors TireKicker, a place where since 2008 he’s reviewed over 100 cars a year and shared his insights with the world.  In a post last August I shared a little about my story of meeting Michael and how he went on to call my Acura Legend a “time machine” because of how well preserved it was, considering its longevity.  Check out Michael’s latest TireKicker entry here where he talks about the updated outcome of all my Drive to Five happenings.

Thanks again, Michael, for keeping in touch!

Over and out, until next time!  Safe travels everyone.

Hollywood California – Metric Listening Event

Posted in California, Concerts, ILX, Road Trip on June 22, 2012 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  514,210

Odometer (ILX):  2,423

Ten miles in ten days.  I think that’s the fewest miles my 1994 Legend has ever traveled during that length of time. I pulled the car out of hibernation on Wednesday night just to see how it felt to get behind the wheel of my tried and true wheels after spending a week in the new 2013 Acura ILX.

The Legend fired up eagerly on the first try after having sat for 7 days.  Pulling out of the neighborhood, I couldn’t get over how “loose” the car felt!  The steering had so much play, the shifter felt a little sloppy, the overall driver position felt so awkward!   A few minutes later I felt at home again behind the wheel, but that initial unfamiliarity convinced me just how easy it is to forget the feel and behavior of an car after spending just a few days away from it.

The Legend coupe is no dog – its 230 horsepower V6 in its time put it at the front of its class.  The car is heavy, though, tipping the scales at over 3,500 pounds.  During my drive, it felt a little “tired,” and justifiably so.  The ILX, by contrast has 201 hp and weighs just under 3,000 pounds.  Steering is precise, handling is tight, and the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder begs for any chance to rev past 4,000 RPM.

The time of day was right so I snapped these pictures.  Nice thing about having the Legend sit in the garage is that it stays clean!

Road trip #2 was a slam dunk and a jolly good time;  my new ILX just made the 900-mile round trip from Phoenix, Arizona to Hollywood, California yesterday.   Acura has partnered with music group Metric for some “listening events” across the country that bring music fans and cars together as part of the all-new 2013 model’s launch.  I was lucky enough to be on the guest list for last night’s event.  A similar event was held in New York.  I set out from work in Phoenix around noon for a trek across desolate Interstate 10 westbound toward Los Angeles.

Started off with a milestone.

One of my “standard” pit stops on this drive is at the AZ/CA state line at a one-stoplight town called Quartzsite.

I’ve jokingly shared before that I aspire someday to live in the “TYSON” RV Park in this town:

I fueled up and paused for a moment at an abandoned service station right on the main business loop through town.  The pumps here at “Camel Stop Auto Repair” have probably been dry for years.  Pretty amazing that they’re even still standing, and it might be the first time they’ve had a model year 2013 vehicle sitting next to them!

I’ve taken particular interest to old service stations and would love to restore one someday.  My grandfather Hansen owned the first station in his hometown in Logan, Utah nearly a century ago.  I’ve shared pictures of it before here.

One of the highlights of my drive was definitely digging out some old CD’s from my high school days in the late 90’s.  I uncovered my old CD storage cases in a closet a few days ago and decided to ditch the iPod and go ‘old school’ with my music for this trip.  I rocked out at max volume to Creed, Blink 182, and 311 — some of my favorite tunes from back in the day.  Interesting note, though.  The ILX does have a factory iPod integration system, and when plugged in displays the “A” caliper on the screen.

First time my car’s been to California, so I had to document the state line.  This makes 4 states the ILX has now visited including last week’s trip through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Pasadena on I-210 westbound

Before heading to the concert venue in Hollywood at Avalon, I picked up my friend Tommy in Simi Valley who’s as crazy about Honda as I am.  I met Tommy many years ago through the Acura Legend forums.

It wouldn’t be LA if we hadn’t hit at least a LITTLE bit of traffic.  In this case, southbound Highland Rd in Hollywood was an absolute parking lot for about 30 minutes.

Finally, at Avalon after grabbing a bite to eat with our friends Lauren & Aniela.  Lauren (pictured) is going to be the proud owner soon of a 2013 Acura RDX in the same color as my ILX – “Silver Moon.”  I smell a photoshoot in the making.

The event at Avalon was a red carpet affair — something that Acura does well as I experienced in last year’s Drive to Five celebration.

I was able to meet & greet with some of the folks from Honda & Acura as well as the band members!  I spoke with guitarist Jimmy Shaw about the group’s upcoming concert in Berlin and other summer travel plans:

This wasn’t a concert, but more of a chance to just listen to some of Metric’s music being played and as get up close and personal with the ILX.  Two models were displayed, one with neons and projectioned “holograms” on the windows that displayed video scenes.

Pictured here with me and Tommy are Rick Tablan and his wife.

Rick is with Acura advertising and along with his team, developed the clever new split-screen Acura ILX commercials like this one:

Cars and music turned out to be a great combo for our evening and again I thank Acura for the invitation!

I was ambitious about pulling an all-night drive and returning all the way to Phoenix after the Metric event but only made it as far as Blythe, California (near the CA/AZ state line) before I needed to get a motel at 3 a.m. to keep from fighting off the sleep any longer.  Miraculously, I was able to wake up by 8 get to work this morning by 10:30 in Scottsdale.  Whether or not I was productive there is another matter entirely!

Driving impressions?   I’m getting more used to this car.  I’m learning how to push its buttons – literally.  I’m getting the perfect feel for how to maximize the engine’s power, how to row through the  gears smoothly, and how to predict the car’s behavior under most types of driving situations.  A few more observations:

  • This car is fun to launch to speed on a freeway onramp.  Still can’t get over the amount of grip it has around corners, too.  Body stays flat with little or no roll.
  • I like the leather steering wheel thickness
  • External thermometer is handy.  Never had one of these before.  I watched the temp go from 111 in PHX to 104 in Palm Springs to 85 in Riverside and 75 in LA as I got closer to the coast.
  • I took advantage of the cool temperatures last night to open the moonroof and was happy to note that even without a wind deflector like the one I have on my Legend, the cabin is relatively quiet at speed with the roof open.
  • HID projector headlights have a really nice crisp cutoff line
  • Observed average fuel economy over the car’s nearly 2,500 miles is 30.6 MPG which is great considering the car’s had a city/highway mix (though primarily highway).  The EPA ratings on the window sticker are 22/31.  I’ve used only 91 octane fuel, and I prefer Chevron.
  • Speaking of fuel, this thing could use a slightly bigger tank.  It holds 13.2 gallons.  My Legend had an 18 gallon tank and quite a bit longer range.  Today I was down to only 37 miles remaining range according to the information screen, yet when I fueled up it took only 10.3 gallons.  I thought I would’ve had 90 miles range left since my overall average MPGs are 30+, but I’ve never been the best at math!
  • I’ve yet to see another ILX on the road.  Exclusivity – yes!  Though I’m looking forward to seeing (and meeting) more fellow ILX owners soon.

A few have asked for interior pictures of my ILX so this is a good time to post those from last week after I first got the car home.  I selected the Ebony interior which has accent charcoal colored trim.

Love these sport pedals!  And after last weekend’s desert adventures, it’s now easy for me to see why the all-weather accessory floor mats are so handy, too.

Back-up camera

Accessory illuminated door sills

The ILX and Legend will both relax this weekend as I catch a redeye flight this evening to Philadelphia and then a rental car to Atlantic City, New Jersey.  For the next two days I’ll be attending the Orion Music & More festival, headlined by Metallica, with a couple of friends.  Thirty bands will be performing, a number of which are pretty heavy in nature.  I’m taking ear plugs just in case!

Tune in next week for a trip report and some more Acura good times.