Peter Egan Attends His Tenth 311 Concert in New Orleans at Champions Square
By: Peter Egan
311 still has “it” after 27 years performing as a band
Friday, August 04 2017, Peter Egan attended his tenth Three-Eleven concert in his lifetime, and the band didn’t disappoint. The performance (not including “New Politics” and any other opening acts) lasted about two-and-a-half hours, which was barely enough time for the group to play MOST of their albums, while performing nine songs from their new release, Mosaic.
It would be easier to identify the albums from which 311 did not perform a song than to list those from which it did. 311 performed a total of 24 songs, including the extended version of Applied Science when band members take their traditional break, followed by all five band-mates beating on the drums simultaneously.
The set list for the show is as follows:
Song Title – Album
- Perfect Mistake – Mosaic
- All Mixed Up – Blue Album
- Homebrew – Grassroots
- Too Much to Think – Mosaic
- Beautiful Disaster – Transistor
- Extension – Mosaic
- Stealing Happy Hours – Transistor
- Come Original – Soundsystem
- Hey, Yo (Not “Hey You”) – Mosaic
- Bass Solo – (N/A)
- What Was I thinking? – Transistor
- Wildfire – Mosaic
- Amber – From Chaos
- Freeze Time – Soundsystem
- Applied Science – Music
- ’Til the City’s on Fire – Mosaic
- Do You Right – Music
- Too Late – Mosaic
- Beyond the Grey Sky – Evolver
- One & the Same – Mosaic
- Unity – Music
- Down – Blue Album
- On a Roll – Mosaic
- Freak Out – Music
- Creatures (For a While) – Evolver
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the heck out of the show, and I’m most certainly not complaining when I point out that not a single song was performed from Don’t Tread on Me, Uplifter, Universal Pulse or Stereolithic. And of course that’s not counting all the independent releases, bonus tracks on compilation albums and other vintage 311 that you can hear on YouTube or at a 311 Day concert, but not on a studio album.
Let me please make one thing very clear. I enjoy all of 311’s Music. It doesn’t matter what songs from which albums were performed at a given show, I’d have had a good time if I was there and Three-Eleven was playing. That being said it struck me as odd that there were four consecutive studio albums from which not a single song was performed during an entire concert. I can’t help but wonder if this is 311 catering to the more casual fans by mixing in the songs they’re sure to know along with the newly released stuff, or if it’s a reflection of how 311 perceives their four most recent studio albums preceding Mosaic. I would like to think it’s the former and not the latter, as there are just too many good songs on DTOM, Uplifter, Universal Pulse and Stereolithic to leave them off the set list for quality reasons.
In my personal opinion, the high-point of the show was when the band performed Freeze Time, the opening song from the Soundsystem album. If I had to pick out a low or drawback of some sort, the first thing I’d do is complain about the band only performing 24 songs, or roughly two albums worth of work.
I’m one of those spoiled 311 fans who has been to multiple 311 Day (March 11) concerts in my lifetime, and have seen the band play on for more than four hours on multiple occasions. That has to taint my opinion at least a little, as 24 seems like a perfectly reasonable number of songs to perform on a promotional tour.
If forced to pick my least favorite moment from the show (assuming there’s a gun to my head), it would have been Amber. Amber is not a bad song, it’s actually a pretty good song all things considered. However, this isn’t your average band we’re talking about, and it is my personal opinion that Amber got far more recognition than it deserved based on the quality of the song itself relative to all other 311 songs. The reason I believe this is that for decades 311 has been perceived more as a “guy band,” and the women in attendance were mainly brought there by male 311 fans.
Amber got the attention of female fans, and I’m all about there being a record number of females in the audience (out of any of the ten 311 shows I’ve been to, as there was in early August of 2017 in Champions Square in New Orleans. If Amber is in any way responsible for that, wonderful. I guess the band has to take the majority opinion into account when determining which songs to play in a limited allotment of time. I just don’t think it’s as good a song as it is promoted and perceived to be relative to other 311 songs. If I could have replaced it in the set list, there’s not much 311 has ever done that you couldn’t substitute in there and at least from my opinion improve the musical quality based solely on the songs performed. Literally, just pick any song, from any album or from no album, I’ll probably like it more than Amber.
Anyway, I’m a spoiled fan who just has to learn to accept that the band has to throw female fans a bone every show to keep them engaged. I do understand this. However, the August 04 show in New Orleans in 2017 seemed to have not only a much higher ratio of female fans than past shows I’ve been to, the female fans were every bit as into the music as were the male fans. Perhaps the perception that 311 is a “guy band” can be put to rest now?
On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this show an 8, and that’s only because I’ve been to two 311 Day events and I know first-hand from experience what this band is capable of when they’re really motivated to please an audience. They can’t match that level of intensity every night on tour. Hence why they only do those shows once per year, max.
I really can’t find anything to complain about. The venue was much better than in an enclosed arena where police are looking to meet arrest quotas. The 8 was a pretty arbitrary score from a biased observer. For a concert of its nature (a stop during a summer promotional tour), this show was a ten (out of ten). It’s not plausible to compare every 311 show to 311 Day, and I’ve come to accept that with time.
When a band has been playing and making music together for 27 years uninterrupted, they may release more albums than they can touch upon during the nature of a given live performance. When you’re truly as great at what you do as are Nick Hexum, S.A. Martinez, Tim Mahoney, Pnut and Chad Sexton, these are the sorts of problems you start to create for yourselves over the course of nearly three decades.
When as a fan my biggest complaint is that I didn’t hear songs I wanted to hear, and think through what it would have taken for me to have heard every 311 song I’d like to hear at a concert, I’d need a lot more than one night and they’d need more than one show. There’s just that much great material that this band has put out over the years.
If either a 311 Day concert or cruise is announced at any point in the not-too-distant future, I will eagerly buy tickets to whichever it is, and if it’s the cruise, I’d arrange for some vacation time.
311 is the greatest rock band (arguably the greatest group of musicians) in my generation, and I’ll soak up every show, 311 Day and Cruise I can before they decide to hang it up.
If you missed it, 311 put on an awesome show Friday night, August 04, 2017 in New Orleans. As a writer, all I am able to do is encourage you to attend the next one near you, whoever you are and wherever you happen to be reading this.