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Sunday, August 3, 2008

CONCERT REVIEW: 311, Snoop Dogg and Fiction Plane at the PNC Bank Arts Center NJ (07/19/08)

     So better late then never I finally will piece together the night that was Unity Tour 2008 passing through the PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, NJ on Saturday July 19th. The much anticipated 311, Snoop Dogg and Fictoin Plane show had the door opening at 6:30 so we planned to arrive around 5-5:30 to pre game in the parking lot. Right? Wrong, because the PNC Bank Arts Center prohibits drinking in the parking lot for shows that "attract an underage audience"-Since 2007's version of 'Ozzfest' came to this place they've tighten up security after reports of two people at the concert who overdosed(Two? Ozzy and who else?).. Now not only do we have a car full of booze going to waste(which coincides with us emptying wallets inside and a THREE drink limit) but I've still got this extra ticket I needed to get rid of, how am I going to do that from inside? More importantly how am I going to buy pot in the parking lot with all these cops walking around? As soon as I thought that some guy passed by me and said "tickets". So I said " I got an extra", he asked where and I let him know it was a 'lawn seat'. When he said "how much you want?" I replied with "how much you got?"(that kind of cracked me up inside, I'm usually on the other end of these deals). So the dude gave me 20 bucks (face ticket value) and that was the end of that fiasco about 2 minutes after showing up. So we headed in and after we attempted to pound a few beers in the car and we sipped those frozen wine drinks ($13!) while waiting to for the "doors" to open. So we get in and are hanging around on the lawn and by the concessions where I bought my 311 tee shirt for a moderate $25. 

I hardly noticed while walking in that Fiction Plane is up on stage playing already and they're  getting the opening act treatment to the fullest extent I've seen ever so far at a live show. The place wasn't close to half full as people shuffled for the duration of their set.. While we were walking up the lawn looking for a spot all of a sudden I heard Fiction Plane belting out their most popular tune to date: "Two Sisters" and before I could even start to enjoy it it was over and turned out to be their last song. Overall I probably would've enjoyed it a bit more if we were in smaller space and not at a venue where the it's basically a stage with seats in front and a big hill of grass behind the seats.  I mean ..I saw  a few fans (older folks mostly) sporting "Police" and "Sting" tee shirts walking around. I can't find the set list anywhere on the web but I'm almost positive they didn't play "Cold Water Symmetry", which is another song they do that I love. Maybe one day I catch these dudes in a smaller, sweat box type venue where I could really take in the experience.

   Then began the waiting game for Snoop Dogg to get on stage, I mean the place went crazy every single time roadies brought out a stage prop. Turned and noticed suddenly we're packing out the lawn very quickly-as about half these people are eagerly awaiting the only act they came for for. Which isn't unheard of nowadays with every artist playing with 2 to 3 other bands at a time, some fans are only there for one act or two. Snoop came on around 8 o clock, probably a little after (I knew I should have brought a pad to take note!) and to much roar from the now rushing to the front of the lawn waiting crowd which we were a part of. We were basically-well not basically-literally leaning on the gate that separates the seats from the standing room only lawn area (which didn't rent out lawn chairs for this particular event). This is far closer then I've ever been standing lots of people bunched together and everyone waiting for there favorite Snoop hit to be played, which every one of them was from "What's my name?" to the new single "Sensual Seduction" and everything in between. "Lodi Dodi" to "Murder Was the Case", it was an amazing set. Oddly, I didn't see a DJ on stage although they could've been hiding one behind the drums.. When Snoop first walked on stage, he came out surrounded by three dudes who lets face it, these guys define the word 'Thug'. If these dudes walked down my street-I'd think they were definitely going to rob me.. Then they spread and picked up instruments one jumping behind the drum kit and the other two hitting guitar and bass.  It was weird to see, but you got me impressed. What also impressed me was how much weed was getting smoked and how good it smelled. Like that was a mix of lots of exotic weed like with mad different people from different places. Someone in a wheelchair was with us on the lawn, which I thought was really 'gangsta' because there is plenty of Handicap seating available but this person chose to party with everyone else. And Snoop's "band" actually played the songs, he had a good drummer too. But I noted some stuff down when I got home later about what happened doing the Snoop Dogg set that I can't re-word if I tried, I'm just going to have to read from it and see what I could do. Well, lets just say that during Gin and Juice I got mauled by like 5 chicks who I could guarantee all were at least 18(hopefully). These chicks were fucking hot and grindin all over me and it was so hot and wheather they were making fun of me or trying to rob me, I copped alot of feels so i was happy. Best part was when this one chick was grindin on me and her friend was grindin on her and the one on me reaches back and like puts her hand on the back of my head and is just like loving the hair, it was so great.  I love the idea of chicks grindin on me without me having to do much but never actually experienced it to tonight. I noted that no body will believe me but I also noted how much I don't give a crap. It was a fucking great night. While that was my personal highlight for the night it only got better from there.

   Right after Snoop went off around 9 maybe a little after (damn the absence of that pad), there were rumblings down by the taped off entrance to the seats from the lawn. Word on the street was that they were letting us down into the seats. A few of us knew, some people were leaving and heading towards the beer and I'm think wow I'm going to get to stand down there for only 20 bucks? So a bunch of us are crowding by the opening, I'm saying shit about the security guard to Rodney and I'm like "she can't even hear me" and she shoots me a stern look. I guess she could hear me…

     So they finally start letting us down into the seats and it's un-fucking believable like I paid 20 bucks for this and I'm sitting in the isle seat with no body in front of me blocking my way, and I've never been that close before so it was scene man. When 311 came on everyone got up and didn't sit for a while, they played everyone's favorite song like. 'Amber' is a great song, amazing live. The basic 311 that everyone knows like "All Mixed up" , "Come Original", "Down"(which was like the 16th of 20 song set, fucking amazing), of course "Love song" (Love that fucking song, got it on my phone). They also had like a drum solo during there set, a bass solo (P-NUT!! BEAT THAT SHIT!!!), and this other weird drum thing where all five of them are playing drums it was fucking cool man I'm telling you, had to be there. The energy in that place was crazy, almost as crazy as the people getting caught smoking pot in the no smoking section. Come on guys, we already got down here at no extra charge and the rest of us got high during the Snoop set like normal people, don't make us all look bad. Anyway, when 311 made there first attempts to get off stage it was made quite obvious no one was leaving, that place got loud. Then they came back to do "Who's got the herb" which is an easy song to learn the words to, and they ended with "Feels so good". And it does feel so good. During the song I'm just thinking that to myself. What a night, it feels so good. Can't wait to tell everybody, what a way to end it; Who's got the herb? That's what I want to know. What a song, every song was good its like weird because your like bopping to the reggae/rap sort of sound and then you notice how heavy rocking each song is and how loud they play, fucking amazing.

     Amazing show, amazing night; I really can't think of anything more I could have asked for. They played everything I wanted to hear, not only 311 but Snoop also. I don't think Fiction Plane played "Cold Water Symmetry" but they don't have a set list posted on there website so I can't say that's 100 percent accurate. The opening act always sounds like shit for some reason(with the exception of 'Kill Hannah') I guess it's because they don't have doe for expensive, good amps and shit like that. On the way out I saw this kid like laid down in a bush like, he got up and he shirt collar was stretched and nose bleeding with his chick yelling at him while his eyes got all glossy like he was going to cry then got shove down again with loud roars of "Ohhhhh!!!!!" in the back round. Got to love it. this kid had like the perfect blood drip going, she defiantly cracked him, though I didn't see that so it can't be confirmed only assumed. And then we continue our walk to the car, get there and oh shit I have like 10 beers in the trunk!!