Saturday, May 7, 2011

Stone Temple Pilots...or "The new worst venue in Nashville"

Sunday, May 1st, 2011
Stone Temple Pilots, Rose Hill Drive
The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel
See all the photos from this show here

Almost 14 years to the day after the first time I saw Stone Temple Pilots in concert, I was headed out to see them again. When I first found out about the STP show, I was perplexed by the fact that it was at "the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel," which I had never heard of. Apparently I am not the only Nashvillian who had never heard of it because any time that I mentioned the show, I had to try and describe where the venue was. Then people would say "Do you mean Starwood?" which closed like 5 years ago or something. So I was interested in seeing this venue, and sizing it up as far as how enjoyable shows would be there.

On the day, it was raining. It rained overnight, then rained a couple of times on and off through the day, including one system that ended about an hour before show time. So I went equipped with a poncho and a couple of baggies just in case I needed to shield my phone and camera from soaking rain. I checked the radar on my phone as I was walking in, and there seemed to be another big blob of rain on its way, so I was just hoping for the best.

As I walked in, not surprisingly, the parking lot was muddy, and the pathways into the venue were either muddy as well or had hay covering them. Once I was inside, I tried to stake out my seat. The seating, for lack of a better term, was a joke. I was picturing a real amphitheater, with built in seats with a cover over them, like Starwood. But these were just folding chairs sat on the lawn! Some of the rows had labels on the end seats to indicate the seat number, but section numbers were just written on pieces of paper that were being held by venue workers! Once I finally found my seat, it was nowhere near what I was expecting.

The view from the seat I paid for

It was much, MUCH farther away than described on the website. And not only that, but my folding chair was perched on the side of a slope, with the legs sinking into the mud. This is what I paid $62 for??? Oh forget this.

I sat in my seat for all of two minutes before deciding that I would rather just stand up by the stage and take my chances with getting asked to move. So I went up front and perched myself right behind the barricade, with nary a security guard paying attention to me.

Much better. Look at my seat waaaaaaay back there! ;-)

Rose Hill Drive was the opener, and no one seemed to be paying attention to them at all. I'm not sure why they didn't get an opener who people would recognize...guess I have been spoiled recently by shows with numerous known bands opening for the headliner. Once they were done, more people started to crowd up next to the stage, including a chick next to me who threw her cigarette butt into a nearby bush and nearly caught it on fire. What's wrong with people?

The nearly burning bush


I also took a moment to check the radar again, and saw a very large green blob headed right our way, so I went ahead and packed up my phone in a baggie, just in case.

About 15 minutes before STP was scheduled to hit the stage, security guards started walking in front of the stage, checking tickets and telling people to go back to their seats. Uh oh. So, I played it cool, and very politely said that I was sorry, then took an empty seat in the front row. Wouldn't you know that a few minutes later, the guy with that seat arrived, so when the security guard wasn't looking, I jumped back to the second row and hoped he wouldn't notice. Luckily he didn't say a word to me, so I got to stay right up front the whole night!

Once STP took the stage, a bunch of people walked up toward the barricade, but security still wouldn't let anyone right up next to it. We couldn't get any closer to the stage than the first row of seats! Boooo! People kept coming up the aisle to get a better view, but any time the aisle got blocked, here came security to make everyone go back to their seats. I mean, talk about killing the fun of the event. In my opinion, if you haven't gotten your beer by the time the headliner starts, I shouldn't be obligated to leave an aisle clear for you just so you can get to the bar. And there was seriously no reason at all to be keeping people back from the barricade. The barricade was still a good six feet from the stage, so it's not like people could have jumped onto the stage anyway! That's what the barricade is for! But luckily, since I'd staked out the spot on the aisle, I had a great front row view the entire time. Well, front or second row, since I and the girl behind me kept trading places when security would walk by! haha

As for the performance itself, it was great.

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Scott Weiland with a megaphone


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New friend Michelle is SO EXTREMELY EXCITED!!! :-)



I've been an STP fan since I was in high school, and have always found them to be very solid musically. Their new stuff is just as good as their old stuff, despite taking a long hiatus and having gone through a lot of turmoil. Scott Weiland was very animated, and did a fair amount of moving and dancing around the stage. Considering that most of my recent live music experiences have been in small venues, I found the stage for this show to be simply too big to provide an immersive experience. The band members were very spread out, and they almost never interacted with each other since they were so far apart. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see them in a smaller venue like the Muse or Exit/In. Yeah, that ain't happening. haha But the show was quite good, all told.

When the show ended, I was a muddy mess from the ankles down! Luckily I wore a pair of shoes that were easy to rinse off, else I'd have been trashing my shoes! All through the show, my shoes kept sinking into the mud, so I'd move my foot but the shoe would stay stuck hahaha gross.


After taking a bow, the guys from the band came close to the edge of the stage and socialized for a few moments...


...which even included Scott Weiland tossing some nachos to hahaha. But the highlight was when I got to catch the sweat rag from the bass player! Woohoo! I'm seriously going to need to get a special box to put all my concert memorabilia into!

Not surprisingly, chairs were knocked over and going everywhere after the show. DANGEROUS.

Once everyone started to make their way out of the venue, I followed suit and made my way back to my car. After changing into some clean socks for the drive home, I quickly discovered that the line to get out was crazy. So I pulled over next to some other cars and parked, hoping to wait out the crowd. Then as I sat there, this dude from the car next to me decided to hoist himself up onto my trunk lid and plop his butt down onto it. So I opened the door and yelled "Off the trunk!" which then made the guy start bad mouthing me. Whatever dude, YOU are the one being rude. I'm not rubbing myself all over YOUR car, now am I? After about 15 more minutes, I was able to make my way out fairly easily.

In hind sight, I really do wish that I could say that I enjoyed this concert more than I did. But this venue sucks. I mean, SUCKS. It's not a proper amphitheater for rock shows since the seats aren't permanent and the ground tends to get muddy. And the hundreds and hundreds of folding chairs can be a real concern if the crowd is rowdy. There have been riots caused at venues when chairs started to get thrown. On top of that, the seating area slopes up on the sides, so even if you are sitting in your seat, you're sitting at an uncomfortable angle! And don't get me started on security. They were complete buzzkills, doing nothing to actually keep the concert goers or the band safe. Instead, they just threw their weight around and made sure that no one was having too much fun.

I would really have to think long and hard about going to another show at this venue. With a mid-range reserved seat ticket coming in at a whopping $62 then only providing a slanted folding chair that was sinking into the mud, I would most definitely never pay more than general admission if I ever did come back. It would have to be a band that I really, really loved to bring me back there, and even then, I'd have to think twice. Oh and learn. And I spent $62 to learn that the Woods Amphitheater sucks.


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