Concert Sutra & The 311 Familia 2013 “From The Sea Side To The Mountain Side”
by terri sapp page
Photography by Leah Yetter Photographer and terri sapp page
Click photos for Photo Gallery
In 2012, with all that I had going on leading up to my Fall wedding/Jamaican honeymoon, I decided to do something a little different at my Atlanta show. I chose not to go through the process that is shooting from the press pit, and get back to my early 90’s roots of riding the rail at the Unity Tour 2012. I even went by myself! After meeting a ton of cool fanatics in line – like myself – that I had seemingly missed out on meeting in years past from dealing with the Press hustle and bustle; rushing with them all to get pit wrist bands; running to the merch to take care not to miss the special gear, I landed in my usual spot these days on the rail in front of where Tim Mahoney (guitar) performs. It started out just like a normal show, with me setting up my equipment and getting ready to be able to take video, pictures, and audio (for personal use, of course) all at the same time. These things are a must to be able to properly report back the events of the evening! The very nice girl standing next to me (Sarah Huff) must have realized I was serious about my 311, and casually asked me if I was in the Familia. Sadly, I had not been introduced to the Familia and said no, but promptly took out my iPhone, got on Facebook, and requested to join. Before the show even started, I was able to tell her, “I am now, thanks!” This was one of the best questions I have ever been asked, because I have realized first hand on the Unity Tour 2013 just how incredible this group called the Familia really is. It is NOT just a Facebook group that sucks you in, makes you want to check it every five minutes, and drive up your friend numbers! Although, it does all of that… I have found myself asking what happened to the non-311 status updates in my newsfeed, and I love it-especially since I have been know as the girl obsessed with 311 for 19 years now!!! I realize that I missed out on the start of the Familia due to the attention it takes to plan your own awesome wedding/honeymoon, AND have missed all three cruises AND Pow Wow from having to save every penny to help do it up and party and celebrate in style with our friends and family. CLICK HERE to watch our awesome “Do You Right” wedding music video!
In 2013, however, my 311 obsession has started to get back to normal. Due to some medical issues I had to overcome, moving into a corporate job, starting to referee in a new roller derby league, and working hard to lose over 120 pounds (so far), the Concert Sutra has gotten backed up. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE! But, early on in the year, I decided that since 2013 is a milestone birthday for me (40 and feeling great) in October, I would start marking off of my bucket list, and so far, I am rocking that right along! The first item that came to mind was that I had never seen 311 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. If you have never heard of or seen pictures of this place, CLICK HERE for Leah Yetter Photographer’s beautiful photo gallery. I have always wanted to go see 311 there, and since Leah is now living and working in Wyoming, (and since I promised she was my first vacation after the wedding) it just seemed logical to plan the vacation around 311. OBVIOUSLY! Then, it all started to come together.
One of the best qualities of the 311 Familia is the group spirit, so as soon as the date was announced for the Summer Unity Tour 2013 Red Rocks show, special groups were formed, reservations were made, and eventually tickets were bought. Party busses and pre-parties were organized, as were special shirts and bracelets. I mean, I have never witnessed a group of people spread all over the world, who many have never met outside of Facebook, work together so well to organize a group gathering! I quickly picked up on the way things happen, since I am going to be able to get back to attending more events-now that I am back to a somewhat normal life/budget. Leah was all for it! Colorado set a record or the Concert Sutra girls as the farthest show we have traveled to in the 10 years that we have been covering shows. After my Charlotte and Atlanta VIP experiences, which I will share about separately, the days went by SO slow until it was time to go. Once I was with my girl, we headed to our hotel and primed for the pre-party at the Cheba Hut, which was the MOST awesome gathering I have been to in a while with people I hardly knew. CLICK HERE for a rare sighting of me and Leah – the usual designated drivers taking cone shots at the Cheba Hut. Don’t worry, we cabbed it and party bussed it all aroundDenver.
I know I usually focus on the shows, but I felt compelled to give props to the 311’s hardcore fans, who literally MADE my Concert Sutra vacation a blast! Leah and I had so much fun with the Familia, I just had to dedicate this Concert Sutra to all of these awesome people and the times that we had. It was not only my first time at Red Rocks, it was also my first real Familia experience…and experience it was! CLICK HERE for our photos from the Cheba Hut pre-party here. The folks at the Cheba Hut organized bands to play, special shirts, and the food and atmosphere was off tha chain!!! You can see from the smiles and positivity in the air that there was not a dull moment at the Cheba Hut. I will say (even as an event planner myself) if I ever need a killer party, I am going to hire in Kyle Knox from the Cheba Hut!!! Since this was the first time I was meeting many of the friends I have gotten close with over the internet, it totally confirmed even the PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) that is somehow felt over the internet!
Now, if you are still reading, and want to know about the show, read on. First of the day for us would have been G. Love & Special Sauce, which we were forced to miss due to unfortunate circumstances at Will Call totally beyond our control. I saw most of their shows in Charlotte and Atlanta, and they rocked, as always! CLICK HERE to check out our favorite G. Love & Special Sauce experience in 2005.
We did get in for Cypress Hill, who always brings the fun. Even though they put on the exact same show as in Charlotte and Atlanta, they were still super! Cypress Hill was in true form, playing the hits like, “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” “I Wanna Get High,” “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,” “Rock Superstar,” “Throw Your Set In The Air,” “Hits From the Bong,” and “Insane In The Brain.” They also gave us a taste of “Tequila Sunrise” from Cypress Hill IV. The crowd participation was a hoot, “party over here, fuck you over there”…and so on. In Colorado it must not be as testy to pull out a six foot bong in the middle of the show to smoke on. In Georgia and North Carolina, I think they may have been more nervous, but did it anyway!! Crazy fellas! But, as they say in Cypress Hill AND in Colorado, “Roll it up, Light it up, Smoke it up…Inhale…Exhale!” My favorite part of their show was when Cypress Hill played “We Came Here To Get You High,” (from the Fast & Furious 6 Soundtrack, which was a collaboration with Deadmau5 – Failbait) into “Dr. Greenthumb” from the Cypress Hill IV album in ’98. Killer transition! Really, all in all, DJ Julio G and drummer/percussionist Eric Bobo were on it, and killing every beat. Of course, rappers Sen Dog (“he will pee on your face and shit on your chest”) and B-Real (“He’ll smoke weed and take hits all day and night…This man grows the best marijuana in the fuckin’ world…this same man you are lookin’ at designed the biggest bong in the fuckin’ world, you saw it tonight” Sen Dog dubbed him “the highest man in the fuckin’ world!”) were as smooth as they were when I last saw them in 1996. They really are aging well. When they were done, I heard a lot of talk about how Cypress Hill’s “still got it,” and I agree! They will be releasing a new record next year, and B-Real has a free internet station at www.breal.tv.
In the style of the early days of the small venue 311 shows, Nick Hexum (vocals, guitar), SA Martinez (vocals, programming), Chad Sexton (drums), P-Nut (bass), and Tim Mahoney (lead guitar) started their 2013 Red Rocks show on July 29, 2013 in Morrison, Colorado with the old favorite “Off Beat Bare Ass.” What a great way to get the crowd going. Other songs to get the party started included “All Mixed Up,” “Freeze Time,” “Prisoner,” and “Hive.” “Since ’95, we go for the Hive!!” Nice new twist on that one, I thought. “Rock On” from their latest album – Universal Pulse is a nice combination of Nick and SA’s vocal stylings. I always love hearing SA singing behind Nick during the chorus. One you won’t hear that often, “Gap” has a bit of disco flava, and makes me want to go skating at the roller rink. “Come Original” always makes me think of the Y2K scare, as I was rocking that Soundsystem record riding down Interstate I-285 when NOTHING HAPPENED…
“Where would we be without the Wild Nights?” Well, we would probably not be at Red Rocks seeing 311, because what a wild experience! Especially when they played “Applied Science.” Chad finally went back to an extended drum solo before being joined by the rest of the guys onstage for the drum line type of grand finale. Chad’s solo really took me back to the days before the whole band was involved with the drum solo. I loved it! They have also mixed it up a bit on the band’s part of the drum line, even throwing and catching each other’s sticks in the midst of rocking a phat beat. In the days before the self-titled Blue album came out, older gems like “My Stoney Baby,” “8:16 a.m.” got much play of the set lists. I won’t say I miss those days, because with the 311 catalogue these days, they are able to present a different show every night. I was excited to hear them both at Red Rocks. Even though Universal Pulse came out 2 years ago, unless you actually see several shows on the tour (which I was able to do this time around, which made me very happy), you may not have even heard many of the songs from the newest studio release. “Weightless” seems to be one that gets some play, which is nice. The harmonies on “Weightless” are impeccable. SA’s solo part is as pretty as a lullaby. “Beautiful Disaster” has been a staple for 311 since the Transistor album was released. There haven’t been too many shows since 1996 that I have been to where they did not play it.
“Other Side of Things” from Evolver was awesome! Not one that I have heard many times, so a treat. Mixing up set lists are one of 311’s most special qualities. Always one of my favorite live numbers from the 1999 album Soundsystem, CLICK HERE to enjoy a Tim Mahoney featured video of “Flowing,” which led nicely into P-Nut’s bass solo with the Imperial March. Another Soundsystem gem that rocks harder than most between the release of the Blue album and Soundsystem, “Livin’ & Rockin’” can get even the most shy to nod their head! Two of the most appropriate for a show in Colorado in July these days, CLICK HERE for video of “Sunset in July,” into “Who’s Got the Herb?” – the sunset at Red Rocks smelled like someone had plenty of the herb… Legalization in Colorado was like a welcome for what seemed like everyone except us to light up! There was smoke in the air billowing from start to finish that wasn’t just from the fog machine. “Freak Out” always gets everyone jumping up to the beat, and Red Rocks was no different. CLICK HERE to check out “Down,” the first grand finale dedicated to all of the old school fans in the crowd.
Maybe the best part of the show at Red Rocks was the four song encore where 311 played all powerhouse songs. CLICK HERE for a view into “Paradise.” Being that I have lyrics from this song tattooed on my leg, it just stands to reason that when those first notes sing out, my heart went a flutter. “I have no fear of death and no fear of life.” One of those rarities I don’t often get to hear live, CLICK HERE for “Six,” that I have always felt had a nicely balanced mix of everything I love about 311. Rock. Rap. Reggae…and a beautiful melody. A hard song for me to hear since losing my Daddy, CLICK HERE for a lovely “Beyond the Gray Sky.” This bittersweet message has brought tears to my eyes over the last two years, but I love hearing it nonetheless. In the end, where the staple last song used to be either “Fat Chance,” or “In Your Face,” these days “Creatures (For a While)” has moved its way to the big finish. Many of the folks that favor the older 311 may not get the shift, but those of us who have followed this band’s every move for the last 19 years welcome the nuances that happen between each Unity Tour.
Now that 311 at Red Rocks has been checked off of my bucket list, I can’t wait for my first (yeah, I know, what the Hell has taken me so long) 311 Day in New Orleans, March of 2014. If the Excitable Ones taking over Denver was as much fun as it was (and believe me, it was incredible being among a great many of the Familia members that I have been dying to meet), I can only imagine what a 311 New Orleans party on 311 Day will be like. Especially since 311 Day just so happens to be an official holiday in the city ofNew Orleans!!!
SEE YOU ALL THERE, I HOPE!