Photos by Merideth C. and review by Jordan Sarah Weatherhead
I wish I’d gotten their names, the ones that made me smile at the 311 concert. The ones so down to earth you could feel their love through the thick smoke and scent of Mary Jane clinging to the fabrics on everyone’s clothes. Through the noise of the hippies and the hip-hoppers, you could still hear their quiet and humble excitement. You could sense that to them, 311 wasn’t just a band...they were a part of their story.
Every time I go to DTE Music Theater it shocks me that no matter what the concert, there is always a mixed crowd. Kids, teens, college students, middle-aged parents, rockers, businessmen, party girls, and old people. Even at Pitbull in July there was a HUGE combination of attendees that surprised my sister and me. But as I drove around to find a parking spot I quickly noticed that my normal attention to the assorted crowd was not so this time. Instead there was a steady flow of 21-35 year olds all dressed in laid back clothing, drinks in hand, having a good time. I even pointed this out to Merideth as we stood outside of the VIP entrance waiting to go in.
I didn’t really know what to expect from such a party crowd but soon was impressed by the eagerness and genuine sense of peace in the air as people flitted around from spot to spot and chatted with one another like a large community. As Merideth left for the photographer’s pit, I sat alone and finished up listening to Slightly Stoopid’s last song when a couple’s laughter behind me caught my ear and I turned around.
“Hey! You’re all alone?” the smiley girl asked.
“It doesn’t matter if she’s alone! It’s 311!” He turns to me then and says, “Trust me, once they start playing it won’t matter who you’re with. You’ll forget you’re by yourself!”
I just laughed at their spunk and enthusiasm and told them I was alone because I was reviewing the show for Stellar. For the next 10 minutes we chatted and the male of the couple told me that he had come home from a vacation in FL a day early to take his girlfriend to see 311 that night. They were both sporting Ft. Lauderdale t-shirts and jean shorts. He told me how he has seen 311 play at DTE about 10 times before but this was his girlfriend’s first night at one of their shows. They talked about 311 and certain songs that meant something in their relationship.
As we finished up our conversation and I headed for the bathroom before they took the stage I caught glimpses of dialogues between fans. They all had the same ring to them. “I’ve seen them play 8 times before!” “They are my favorite band EVER!” “Hurry, we have to get back before they step ONE FOOT on stage!” And so did I.
I got back just in time to see drummer Chad Sexton, bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Willis, and guitarist Tim Mahoney walk to their instruments and the roaring sound of the crowd filled the twilight air. Vocalist and DJ Doug “SA” Martinez and lead vocalist and guitarist Nick Hexum strutted across the stage and the sound, which I ignorantly thought couldn’t get any more amped up, went completely haywire. Two girls in front of me started jumping up and down so ferociously I couldn’t see and a couple a few rows down turned and kissed for a good 15 seconds right into the opening intro of their first song, “Down,” as if savoring the moment together.
During “Down” and the rest of their songs Martinez and Hexum KILLED the stage. Their presence was literally awe inspiring. They bounced lyrics off each other as they were bouncing around on stage, hitting every line, every note. Their wild tenacity to rev up the crowd made me start jumping along with the girls in front of me and sooner than I realized, I was not alone. I was with an entire arena of people who listened and sang along as the band played songs like “Amber,” “Sunset in July,” and “All Mixed Up.”
The sweaty mess of band members and fans alike delved into the heat and enjoyed the two final songs from 311. They ended the night with heavy hitters “Beautiful Disaster” and “You Wouldn’t Believe.” Not one fan left unhappy or unfulfilled, and I have to say, I am truly part of their unusual fan base after that performance. Thank you to all who made me smile at the 311 concert, I DEFINITELY was not alone!
Download songs from this set list by clicking the iTunes icon!
- Sunset in July
- Misdirected Hostility
- Time Bomb
- My Stoney Baby
- 8:16 A.M.
- All Mixed Up
- Count Me In
- Beyond the Gray Sky
- Applied Science
- What Was I Thinking
- Large in the Margin
- Leaving Babylon (Bad Brains Cover)
- Don't Stay Home
- Do You Right
- Creatures (For a While) Encore:
- Beautiful Disaster
- You Wouldn't Believe