For months, I had planned on not going to 91X’s kinda-annual X-Fest show. I say “kinda” annual, because there were a couple years when the show was SunFest, and I think in a couple of the ClearChannel years, the event was skipped for some experimental concert series type events, but for the sake of argument, I guess more or less it’s an annual event. And I had planned on not attending. For one, I thought the lineup was pretty weak, and the whole LiveNation thing just really puts me off. I haven’t been to Coors Amphitheatre in a long time, and in general I prefer smaller events. When CatDirt asked me if I wanted to join him, however, I thought it would be at least interesting to cover for this here blog.
We arrived at Coors Amphitheater just before 3pm, taking the back road off the 905 into the venue. Unfortunately, it didn’t make any difference, as all traffic was being sent into the same entrance, forced to wrap around and park in the parking lot of Knott’s Soak City. There was still VIP parking on the east side of the venue, but all the east side dirt parking was reserved for “crew” and left closed. Parking in the lot in front of the main entrance was $20 for a car and $40 for RVs. You go, LiveNation, get the money anywhere you can.
After sitting in two lines of cars we were directed to a spot, parked, and made our hike into the venue. I leave the mocking for Scott, but let’s just say I felt really, really old. 91X, you were my junior high station. Maybe even high school. Now I feel like you’re like an ex-boyfriend who never grew up, still making bongs out of apples or coke cans.
We were given pit passes, so for that I have to be appreciative. I smuggled my camera in, but it became obvious that wasn’t necessary as lots of people had cameras. There was one gate open with a line of close to 200 people in, but we got to bypass in the Pit line.
We arrived while The Used were onstage. We noticed how empty the entire venue was, each section maybe 25% full of capacity. We assumed that later that would change. Scott and I watched the people around us- some really into the show, some just really into their own look. One young girl in the 100 section sang along to a song I can assume is called “Liar Liar” and I envied her passion. I wish I felt anything when I heard this music, but I did not.
We decided to walk around. It was cool bumping into Aaron from Stranger’s Six and chatting for a little bit, then just observing the happenings in the vendor area. We watched some of the interviews in the broadcast booth, then wandered to see if there was anything going on in the east part of the venue. There was not, but we bumped into a couple of my friends so we hung out with them until Silversun Pickups took the stage. I love the band a lot, and including this performance, I’ve now seen them 6 times. Maybe this was good exposure for them since 91X has recently added them to their playlist, but this crowd doesn’t seem like the type who appreciates a band without a gimmick. I guess they prefer a singer spitting a loogey on them. Scott was even bored, so we left back to the mezzanine area, wandered a bit, I gave in to buying a $10 beer (ouch) and then we went back into the pit to catch SSPU them play Lazy Eye.
Brian of Silversun Pickups photo by Rosey
I’ve mentioned here before that I worked in advertising for several years. There was this guy Rob, back then he was a sales manager for some of the ClearChannel stations, I imagine he’s still at that capacity or higher now with Finest City Broadcasting, but I’m not sure. Still, it was pretty perplexing to spot him in the pit area with his 91X VIP access sticker on his pants, getting asked to leave by security because apparently that doesn’t include the wide open pit area. Corporate trumps corporate and even he couldn’t slip past the strict rules of LiveNation. wtf.
Back on the sidestage, they were gearing up for Sum 41 and a huge crowd was developing. They eventually made their way to the stage with an entourage of security escorting them up, along with Miss Avril Levigne. I struggled up toward the front for some pics but was not letting one drop of my $10 beer spill, so I made my way out and saw what all the other screaming was about.
Avril Lavigne Photo by Rosey
Next to the sidestage, 30 Seconds To Mars came out to get interviewed. I became paparazzi and had no interest whatsoever in Sum 41, thought I recognized a couple hits.
Jared Leto, 30 Seconds to Mars Photo By Rosey
By that time, we’d seen enough, and the stage turnovers were gonna get longer, so we decided our own lives were calling and it was time to say goodbye. We heard the Bravery on the mainstage as we drove off through Chula Vista, a few people still entering the venue but there were no late swarms of people coming into the still maybe half full venue. This show was probably really cool to some of the kids there, but to me it was a sad demonstration of hanging on to something that worked before but cannot work any longer. I wish it could. I really do think a market is fortunate to have two alternative stations competing, but I guess this helped solidify that I’m not the demo for 91X. We still have 1991.
By the way, Scott CatDirt wanted to "borrow" my pics, but ended up putting them on his computer and deleting them from my camera, so I have a lot more photos to post when he returns my photos on CD. In the meantime, I think he put them on his flickr account. Check his site here.