311 >> returned to the desert last night for a poolside show in Scottsdale at the Talking Stick resort. It was a 25th birthday celebration of the Omaha Stylistics' existence as a band and a prelude to the birthday celebration for this glorious nation. You know, Independence Weekend.
Fourth of July. Lucy in the Sky.
I remember pine trees and the coat of many colors.
It has been merely a year since Nick Hex and the funky quintet rocked the valley at this same venue in this exact sweltering heat but this show was one of my favorites out of the 20-something times. I've preached this several times before but hear this again. Every 311 show is unique its own way and all offer a kind of magic that makes that concert unbelievably special.
For me it was that ode to Independence Day - although my aforementioned excerpt of 'Homebrew' did not make the set list. Checking into the resort that day there was a collective high energy and readiness for a long holiday weekend and anticipation of a great show like all fellow 311 fans know about.
311 brings a lot of energy when they play year over year and 110 degrees on the outside stage still was no deterrent. I mean Nick Hex was sartorially saying 'bring it' whilst wearing jeans and fucking track jacket when he walked onstage to open the night with 'Beautiful Disaster'. The only thing more impressive than that was seeing MC Hammer perform onstage outside at Fort McDowell in the summer 2010 rocking a full on tux pushing 50 years old yet Hammer-dancing the whole fucking time from stage left to right the entire time.
A lot of the show was fairly standard. Nick Hex serenaded with and without his guitar rhythm while SA's pitch-shifty flow migrated about every part of the stage. Chad splashed the drum kit incredibly, Tim - who is looking more and more like Steve Buschemi every time I see him - got funky on the strings and of course, P-Nut beat that thang.
Aside from adding to the ever growing repertoire with tracks like 'Showdown' and 'The Great Divide' from the latest album Stereolithic, there were a few other pleasant surprises and notables I enjoyed. SA Martinez may be getting visibly older but I was happy to see how much energy he still has. His hype-man points skyrocketed with plenty of alien-robotic movements and it was by far the most active I've seen him on the turntables in almost 20 years, especially on 'Large In The Margin' and 'All Mixed Up' which were much trippier than usual.
[related: New Releases >> March: 311]
The heat and the warm Fireball turned me into a 'Beautiful Disaster' last night and am currently experiencing the meanest bastard of a hangover there is but I would not exchange the All Doped Up experience for anything. Can't wait for the next one.Setlist: Beautiful Disaster * From Chaos * Prisoner * Don't Stay Home * The Great Divide * 8:16AM * T&P Combo * Freeze Time * Hive * Lovesong * Applied Science * Who's Got The Herb? * You Wouldn't Believe * All Mixed Up * Beyond The Gray Sky * Transistor * Existential Hero * Jackpot * Creatures [For A While] * ENCORE: Down * Down