In what could possibly be the last concert for a long time (with the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and all), diehard 311 fans flocked in hoards to Viva Las Vegas for three full days of 311 performances — complete with pre-parties and after-parties around the casino! An annual tradition, the band has been known to host 311 Day in New Orleans, a celebration that escalated over the years to a declared city holiday, until it simply got too big and moved to its new home in Sin City. Vegas is the perfect place for this four-day mini-fest, for the action starts the minute you step on the Strip and continues well into the wee hours of the morning. The city never sleeps!
This year, with the growing concern of the Coronavirus, 311 expressed their extreme appreciation for all who took the risk to still come out and enjoy 311 Day with them in person “despite the circumstances”. Truth be told, people flew in from all over the world for this yearly treat, shouting “HAPPY 311 DAY” throughout the Park MGM Casino and Hotel as they paraded around in their finest 311 memorabilia and merchandise. Some even made their own 311 Day hats and shirts! It most definitely felt like you were making history in the concert venue, the same stage where Lady Gaga and The Jonas Brothers perform residencies.
If the zombie apocalypse is actually upon us and this is the end of live entertainment as we know it, I’m forever content that my last concert was 311 Day on 3/11 in Vegas.
Looking over the assembled crowd on March 11th when you walked into the place was breathtaking. This was a sold-out affair! 15 minutes before the men of the hour took the stage, smoke filled the air and a countdown initiated on a giant screen behind the drum kit. It was like floating in a spaceship, zero gravity with a snapshot of the earth rotating out the window, counting down to a Mars arrival. Like it was New Year’s Eve, 311 Day attendees shouted the descending numbers when the clock hit 10 seconds. Zero marked the entrance of four spaceship-like stage effects to pop down from the ceiling, emitting pillars of smoke as if the aliens have landed. And, right on cue, 311 members came onstage in brilliant moods, hugging stagehands and waving hello to their most dedicated of fans. The mega-colossal of all 311 shows had begun, marked by frontman Nick Hexum singing “HAPPY 311 DAAAAAAY” into the microphone like a starting shot to a race.
Spanning radio hits to deep cuts, 311 played three straight hours of music — a fragment to their usual five-hour holiday regimen. In lieu of their annual extra-long performance, 311 decided to stretch the festivities three days in Vegas over March 11th, 12th and 13th… and this was only Night One. Cheers resounded in all directions as 311 continued their enormous discography, some from the very first days of the band. Diehards sang every word in unison no matter the song. It was beautiful, moving, absolutely awe-inspiring to witness. The Ohio boys of Tropidelic kept the party going across the casino floor after 311 finally disclosed their last song of Night One. Fans sprawled out in all directions leaving the amphitheater, not ready to call it a night. It was the official 3/11 Day, after all! If the zombie apocalypse is actually upon us and this is the end of live entertainment as we know it, I’m forever content that my last concert was 311 Day on 3/11 in Vegas.
Photography by Kristy Rose