Concert Sutra:  Growing Up With 311

by terri sapp

Photographs by terri sapp

© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved

Nick 2010

click photos for photo gallery

At the risk of sounding like an old grandma, I often reminisce, especially when I am physically at a show, of my younger days with Nick Hexum, Tim Mahoney, SA Martinez, P-Nut and Chad Sexton, when I was more available to travel around on a whim to see my favorite rock band in concert.  To my knowledge, I have never missed a show in Atlanta, and I do not plan on it, unless physically impossible, or on my death bed at 98.  I made it just before and just after my major back surgery, which put me behind on bringing the coverage to my readers, but I was still there taking it all in.  I noticed more than ever at the Unity Tour 2010 that every song (with the possible exception of the newer ones that I am hearing live for only the first or second time), brings me back to a time in my 311 past when I was traveling the US enjoying the vibe.  On July 17, 2010 at the Aaron’s Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Georgia, 311 played a setlist that got me strolling down memory lane.  My overwhelming 311 nostalgia has inspired me to organize my extensive collection to also not only archive for protection, but to also share with all of you.  It may take me a while to gather and process, but you will enjoy…stay tuned on that one.

At 311 shows these days, I look around and see myself in many of the younger kids who have come around to expand what was already an impressive fan base.  I am realizing, though, that whether you want to or not, as you get older, the things you used to be able to do are not as feasible anymore.  I am not trying to be a downer, just share my personal evolution as someone who (one of my friends pointed out to me today) has been following and collecting 311 since a lot of the younger fans these days were in diapers, and probably some may not have been born.  Don’t go thinking I am a little old lady, I am a child of the early 70’s, like most of the 311 band members.  One major example of change in my 311 world is my pit lust…in the beginning of my love and fanatic participation in 311, I would go to the end of the Earth for pit tickets at a show, camp out all day at a general admission situation, and very sturdily ride the front wall from beginning to end.  These days, I find myself (especially when shooting photographs and back and forth from the press pit) grateful for a good seat!  At one point, if I wasn’t within arms length of the stage, I was not happy.  These days, I actually look for something in the Loge (partially for the birds eye view), or ten to twenty rows back, due to the Tim 2010extremely loud speakers.  The way I look at it is not that I have become lame, but that I have had 16+ years riding the front row, and camping out all night to ensure Pit tickets for me and all of my friends, so now is the time that I pass the torch, so to speak, to the kids who weren’t around for all of the great experiences I have had.  After enjoying the front of the lawn with some friends on July 17th, I finally feel perfectly content with the wanting a seat at the show.  Not that I do not want to dance the entire time, but sometimes I like the option to rest my weaker than before back and knees.

OK, so as difficult as 311 is to photograph, I did my best with a VERY crowded (more than usual) Press Pit, limited equipment (unlike my girl and Professional Photog Leah, who I miss very much), on edge nerves, Georgia heat, and an AWESOME first three songs that got me way too pumped to be working!  That said, my 2010 311 Photo Gallery can be found at  Please check it out!

 Since this show made me realize that I have officially grown up with 311, I am going to take you down memory lane with me on my journey with 311 thus far.  For example, the first song on the set on July 17th “Down,” was the song I watched (sitting in the Ed Sullivan Theatre) 311 play on the David Letterman Show, September 12, 1996.  “Off Beat Bare Ass” reminds me of the show at UMASS Amherst, September 13, 1996, the night after the Letterman Show when I threw a huge gift on stage (what’s up), and P-Nut grabbed it, put it in his mouth, and danced around on stage with it!  After that show, the guitar tech at that time, Trevor, jumped off of the stage to hand me the set list.  Good times.  Another of my fondest memories of “Bare Ass” was at one of the most fun and different shows ever, which took place at the Montgomery Motor Sports Park in Montgomery, Alabama.  Nick actually used and thanked us from the stage for the gift we threw them onstage (in so many words)!!!  The most memorable version of the ever popular “What Was I Thinking” happened October 31, 1997 in Berkeley, California when Todd and I traveled to see 311 at the Greek Theatre.  I will never forget watching P-Nut in his priest costume pound out the hardcore bass line in the then new song from the Transistor album.

The Independence Day 2009 show in Atlanta was the first time I ever heard “Mix It Up” live.  Another setlist favorite, “Beautiful Disaster” makes me think of the show in Pelham, Alabama at Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, with Incubus and Fishbone opening on September 16, 1997.  After this song, Nick proclaimed that the venue would not let Fishbone sell their shirts that read “Fuck Racism,” so Nick bought them and threw them out to the crowd.  “Taiyed” got a lot of play in 1995 and 1996, and ultimately reminds me of the great times spent with friends all around the states, like Kings Street Palace in Charleston, South Carolina on August 31, 1996 in my very close old friend Gordon’s town at the time.  What a weekend that was with Gordon and Todd!  However, I will never forget my night at Lakewood Amphitheatre on June 22, 2000 celebrating the 10th anniversary with 311, where they played their album Grassroots all the way through, only to decide to play the whole Music album as an encore!!!  Even though the From Chaos album was released in 2001, I did not hear “Sick Tight” played until July 26, 2008 in Atlanta at (then called) Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre!  It was good to hear it again so quickly.  Another song we don’t get to hear all that often, “Purpose” will always remind me of the first time I saw 311 on SA’s birthday, October 29, 1995 at local club The Moon in Tallahassee, Florida.  “Brodels,” which was played later in the show this year (after “Gray Sky”), is also not played that often, and is another played at The Moon on SA’s birthday! They really pulled out a great group of songs that night, and what a party it was!  I don’t really remember hearing it again (per my records and memories, some shows lost forever in the haze of time) until August 26, 2006 in Atlanta.  “India Ink,” being a fairly new song was first played for me in Atlanta on July 4th 2009.  I really love this song, and its funky attitude!

Some memories of a particular moment in a show are fleeting, or need some reminding to bring them back.  Some are SA 2010burned forever, never to be forgotten…no matter whether you want to remember or not!  That said, on October 31, 1999 in Atlanta at the Tabernacle, 311’s super distorted alien version of “Flowing” was all it took to send my date at the time completely over the edge to the point of the guards on the front wall pulling him out and moving him along out of the pit, and over to Grady Hospital where we eventually found him being pumped with fluids to sober up…some can’t handle theirs!  “There’s Always An Excuse” takes me back to the biggest 311 show to date on August 26, 2006 in Atlanta at the Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre with 18,555 tickets sold.  What great energy that night had!  I can’t remember a show when I did not hear “Applied Science,” with a killer different drum solo from Chad Sexton, so there are many memories that stand out surrounding this song.  First, is the first time I ever met Chad, who was the first member of the band that I met.  After Shootyz Groove played their set at the Sloss Furnaces on May 21, 1996 in Birmingham, Alabama, I spotted Chad just casually walking around in the open crowd area near the soundboard.  Since there were no people around, I went over to shake his hand and introduce myself.  He was very sweet and gracious.  An extremely nice gentleman!  The other major moment with “Applied Science” was the second time I saw them at the Fox Theatre, Atlanta, on February 26, 2000 at the 99x Chinese New Year show, which was the first time I saw them expand the drum solo to include the entire band!

During the encore at the Omni in Atlanta on May 24, 1996, P-Nut came out in his underwear and played an unforgettable “Who’s Got The Herb?”  July 17, 2010 was my first time hearing “Sun Comes Through” live…making new memories!  “All Mixed Up” is an oldie goldie, but for me, September 11, 1996 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia will remain at the top of my mind, and not because my recorder got snatched from the bouncer on the front wall!  Independence day, 2009 was so much fun, and the first time I heard many new favorite songs, including “I Like The Way.”  Even though I had heard “You Wouldn’t Believe” before, the sweetest version for me to date was at the Tabernacle in Atlanta on March 18, 2002.  Something about that venue’s charm is mesmerizing!  “Beyond The Gray Sky” is one of my favorite Evolver songs, so hearing it for the first time on August 22, 2003 in Atlanta put me in a trance!  This performance even included the “Coda” bass solo!!  Added bonus!!  The girls all love hearing “Amber,” and so imagine my excitement when I heard those first notes on August 31, 2002 in Atlanta.  The lights are always so pretty, too. 

“Livin’ & Rockin’” have never been the same as hearing them at the Tabernacle in Atlanta on Halloween in both 1999 and 2000!  February 26, 2000 at the Fox in Atlanta, and July 26, 2008 at Hi-Fi Buys in Atlanta were both shows where “Do You Right,” “Don’t Stay Home,” & “Hive” were all played in the same night.  The experience of hearing them played as a medley is a fairly new thing.  Too cool!  “Creatures (For A While)” on August 22, 2003 in Atlanta was my first live experience with that song, and every time I hear it now, I have such a love for the beat!  311 always mixes up their encore, sometimes playing more, and sometimes playing less!  This encore started with “Jackpot,” which I had only heard once more at the Independence Day show in 2009.  Then, “Come Original” rang out, which always makes me think of the after show on November 2, 1999 at Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina when Tim Mahoney took my camera and snapped a “Thelma & Louise” photo of us…my favorite type of photo!!!  Finally, they hardly ever go without asking P-Nut to “beat that thing,” but “Feels So Good” sticks out in my mind for being the only song on the setlist in Antioch, TN on May 19, 1996 at Veranda at Starwood, and at Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Birmingham, Alabama on June 23, 2000, because they were filming Enlarged To Show Detail 2 during the encore at that show.  This year, P-Nut came out playing a very cool looking headless bass with light up fret markers!

In honor of my long life with 311, and in appreciation of my 311 live show virgin friend (that I have been hoping for the day she gave me the chance to convert her to a 311 liker, not hater), who so kindly stepped up and offered to help 311 2010me (one of the band’s #1 fans) get tickets for our crew (on the second pre-sale) for the Atlanta 311 Halloween show at the Fox Theatre that we are all excited about.  I thought 311 fans would appreciate my “2010 311 Poem.”  And, a huge thanks to 311 for all of the years of memories, wonderful shows, and for playing the Fox for Halloween.  I can’t think of any other situation where my 311 virgin friend (who is a bridesmaid in my wedding that is booked to take place at The Fox in 2012) would actually come to me and say, “I wanna go see 311 with you guys!”  Leslie, this was written in your honor:

To My Newest 311 Show Virgin

Soon, you will be “Down,” not “All Mixed Up,” and “Plain” “Livin’ and Rockin” with a bunch of “Strangers” that will inspire you to “Reconsider Everything” and say to yourself, “What Was I Thinking” poking fun at you about 311 for “Light Years!?”  

Just pop the “Champagne” and maybe a little “Homebrew,” and get ready for the “Paradise” “Mind Spin” that comes with the “Jackolantern’s Weather!” 

With your “Sweet” help, we got so “Lucky” today, and I am proud that you saw “The Other Side Of Things,” and “Let The Cards Fall Where They May!”

“You Wouldn’t Believe” how “Uncalm” and “Loco” I feel right now! 

“How Do You Feel?” 

“To Be Honest,” “Time Is Precious,” and “Today My Love” you stepped “Outside” of your usual self, and helped me score “Six” “Random” tickets that will help us “Get Down” til the “Sun Comes Through” this Halloween, my favorite holiday! 

I promise the “Electricity” will “Do You Right,” and you will “Freak Out” cause it “Feels So Good!” 

If life ever “Seems Uncertain” and you want to try for a “Neverending Summer,” just remember “I’ll Be Here Awhile” so “Give Me A Call,” even if it is before “8:16 a.m.,” and say “Hey You” let’s “Freeze Time” and go “Flowing” in the “Golden Sunlight,” cause “How Long Has It Been?”…”Eons,” “Damn!” 

“I Like The Way” “It’s Getting OK Now” to think I’ve hit the “Jackpot” cause “It’s Alright” for Leslie to be “Running” with the “Hive!!” 

“Too Much Too Fast?” 

Nah, just “Wake Up Your Mind” and “Tune In”…we’ve been “Waiting” to “Welcome” you! 

Just “Thank Your Lucky Stars” cause “We Do It Like This” and you have secured a “Sick Tight” “Visit!” 

After this “Full Ride” “Intro” you will have “No Control” over wanting more. 

You will not feel like a “Prisoner” to the “Other Side Of Things,” and will not make the “Same Mistake Twice” to turn down a killer time with 311, even though “There’s Always An Excuse” when you need one, you will feel the “Unity,” grab your “Whiskey and Wine,” “Sever” the negativity, see “Beyond The Gray Sky,” and “Mix It Up!!!!” 

Getchoo some “Down South” my “Beautiful Disaster”!!!!!