311 in Vegas

Mandalay Bay Beach
Mandalay Bay Beach

311 played a special set of shows  at Mandalay Bay’s Beach concert venue over Fourth of July weekend. The special event was hyped as “Red, White and Boom!” and it did not disappoint. The weekend featured the premiere of a new 311-branded beer (311 Amber Ale), performance of 1995’s self-titled album (nicknamed the Blue Album) in its entirety, and fireworks after each of the two shows.

Night one featured a varied setlist with some rarely played songs, such as “Uncalm”, “Starshines” and “Livin’ & Rockin'”, some less commonly played songs like “Eons”, “Use of Time” and “Rub A Dub”, and some classics like “Do You Right”, “Applied Science” and “Beautiful Disaster”. The band clearly was into the show and their performances were mostly flawless.

Some of the crowd was obnoxious during the first night’s show. Several waves of beach balls and glow sticks made their way into the crowd at several points throughout the show. Some in the crowd seemed intent on directing them toward the stage, which really bothers me—even if it didn’t seem to bother the band.

The highlight of the weekend, however, was night two’s show. Like many 311 fans, I first heard of them due to the popularity of their 1995 self-titled album. 311 performed that entire album, and then followed those songs with all of that album’s B-sides (except an instrumental called “Next”). Three additional songs and one encore song concluded the set.

311’s Blue Album is one of their most energetic albums and they performed it like they were 25 years old again. Their performances were energetic, enthusiastic and, again, mostly flawless. They tore through the set without letting up.

After they finished all the Blue Album material, they took the energy to an even higher level by substituting “Unity” (a high-energy song from their Music album) in place of “Amber” (a chill, melodic reggae-infused song). The energy level in the venue during “Unity” was higher than possibly any other 311 show I’ve ever attended. The energy was palpable and unforgettable. I walked away from the venue that night feeling like I just might have seen the best 311 concert I’ve ever attended (out of 25 shows).

Enjoy a few song clips from the shows, including “Omaha Stylee”, “Down” and “Tribute”:

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