Last minute – Virgin Festival – for free!

I awoke Sunday morning feeling a lot better than I did Saturday and the previous days. I’m still a little sick right now, but at least I don’t feel so dizzy and nauseous. 

Around 5:30 PM, I get a call from a good friend. He asks if I want two free tickets to the Virgin Festival. Yes, I did! He couldn’t go because he was going to Ocean CIty. I would have went (especially the first day for The Police and The Beastie Boys, among others) but it was just too expensive. I hurried up and got ready and Adam met up with me. Luckily, I live within earshot of Pimlico. (Not loud enough to be bothersome, but I could hear the bands Saturday night as I went to my car). So it didn’t take long to get there. There was no way I could have caught certain bands I wanted to see such as Bad Brains or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs because I got the phone call after they played. But I’m definitely not complaining. Beggars can’t be choosers!

We got to the stage a couple minutes before Velvet Revolver started. Interpol was playing on the other stage, but their songs are just way too monotonous for me. Velvet Revolver was awesome. Though I’m a little concerned about how skinny Scott Weiland has gotten. He’s skinnier than before. I mean his ribs and back bones were sticking out and everything. I hope he’s okay. Anyway, their set was kick-ass.

The Smashing Pumpkins had already started playing by the time VR finished playing. It takes several minutes to walk from one stage to the other. But if there is only one band playing at a certain time, you can hear the music from either stage. The entire time I was walking toward the Smashing Pumpkins stage, they were just playing random noise. I get there and they are still playing noise. More noise. More noise for a few more minutes. Finally, they start playing “Today” and everyone in the crowd is so excited they are playing an actual song. More noise and noise and noise. I had it. I wanted to stick around but at this point seeing 311 was better than that. I hoped that if I waited around, SP would start playing something good. Maybe they’d whip out something from “Gish”. But after a total of about 40 minutes and only hearing one or two actual songs, I couldn’t take it anymore. I actually like when bands do off the wall stuff. I like crazy noise. But this wasn’t really artistic. This doesn’t take much brain power.  I saw punk bands when I was in high school (and couldn’t get into real clubs) that were piss drunk and didn’t really try hard do a better job of the noise rock. I mean, if SP just did it for a minute or two, it would have been cool and interesting. One thing I can say is that at least Billy Corgan’s voice wasn’t annoying me when he sang.

I didn’t even care that much if I saw 311, but I ended up watching them the rest of the night and having a better time with the stoners than watching SP. That’s sad. I mean, I never hated 311. They do have catchy songs. But compared to the artistic integrity and variety of the Smashing Pumpkins, they aren’t all that. (Plus 311’s rapper raps the same in every song). But I had a much better time. Much better vibe. I even felt better. Sure they spent some time trying to be Jamaican, but this was still better than SP. Actually, more and more people kept coming to the 311 stage. And I kept hearing them all go “Smashing Pumpkins doesn’t know how to play their songs anymore! And they just play noise in between that!” So I know I wasn’t the only one.  SP actually drove them to see 311. One guy was even on his cell phone and was like “Dude! I know! It’s such a disappointment! We just got to the other stage. What? They’re still not playing any real songs? No. Yeah, they suck! Come to the other stage! Yeah, but it’s better than that crap! Okay, see you in a few”.

By the way, the only time I saw any other Asian-Americans there was when I saw the people walking away from the SP stage and walking to the 311 stage. They were probably like “What happened to James Iha? Screw this!” (Kidding, obviously. I hardly see other Asian-Americans at any rock concert or anywhere else in Baltimore for that matter. Except for college. Because you know how we love to study! But I really did see a bunch walking toward the 311 stage).

Anyway, it rained most of the time we were there. But it wasn’t that bad. And the hot weather had cooled down a little by the time we got there, so it wasn’t disgustingly hot and humid. It was tolerable. I’m glad I went and I had a good time! This was the first time I’d ever actually set foot inside Pimlico because I have never been to Preakness (and don’t plan on it).


13 Comments to “Last minute – Virgin Festival – for free!”

  1. Dude I would have loved to see VR. The only 311 song that I like is down. But still I would have left SP as well. That sucks that they just played noise…Or maybe those were the new songs ?
    BTW what did you have illness wise ?

  2. Yeah Pumpkins kinda sucked. ON top of the fact that they were playing a bunch of noise and jamming out TOO fuckin’ long, the crowd was the most VIOLENT bunch of assholes on the planet. I kept getting kicked in the head and back every three seconds because assholes had to crowd surf. IT was really lame.

  3. That’s pretty bad if even YOU thought they kind of sucked! You are the biggest SP fan I know! I was actually looking for you when I was there because I figured you attended. But of course, so did thousands of others.
    I actually got in a small argument with one of my friends. He was saying that I was wrong and that they didn’t keep on jamming and that I was totally wrong. I guess you and I (and a bunch of other people) just “imagined” it. Haha.
    That sucks you got kicked in the head. I’ve been noticing lately that the moshing/crowd surfing thing has been making a come back. It pretty much went away at mainstream shows and was replaced with dancing. But I guess the whole “things come back every 10/20 years” thing is true.
    When the 90s comes fully back in style in just a couple more years, I think I’m going to feel old.
    I think the crowd was somewhat reacting to Corgan’s energy. I’m sure a lot of them would have moshed/crow surfed anyway, but maayybe not as badly as they were. Not to sound like a weirdo, but I felt bad angry/unhappy energy from him. But not in a good way. I mean, there are metal bands that play and are angry, but in a different way. I can’t really explain it.

  4. – That explains my illness. Nothing serious.
    Yeah, VR was awesome! Stash even had the classic cigarette in the mouth thing going for him haha. Their songs were awesome and they even played one STP and one GnR song.
    The noise wasn’t any new SP songs. I think it was more Corgan being like “I’m gonna do whatever I want and I’ll get away with it because we’re the Smashing Pumpkins”.

  5. I agree with you about Corgan’s energy. something about it just seemed strange. I saw the Pumpkins back in 1999 and then Zwan back in 2003 and Billy seemed kinda happy then. @ V-fest he just seemed really pompous and angry. Kind of disengaged from the crowd also. To a point that it REALLY turned me off.
    I mean, I know Billy Corgan and I expect him to be a total self-obsessed child. But I’m not trying to support him if he’s going to act like a total egomaniacal dickhead.

  6. Yes, you are so right! I read your blog just now and you were saying a lot of what I felt.
    I don’t expect bands to always be happy. Actually, that might suck. But you described it best. He was disengaged. I thought Dave Navarro solo at the 9:30 Club in 2001 was disengaged from the audience and arrogant. But Corgan beat that.
    I don’t know if he’s depressed and/or on drugs. Or if he just doesn’t care anymore because he thinks that since he’s Billy Corgan and it’s the Smashing Pumpkins, he can act like Axl Rose because people will still love them and buy the music. (Not that he was acting like Axl).
    And I have a high tolerance for weird singers. I mean, after all, I like Hole and Mike Patton. But being overly cocky and not appreciating/giving back to your fans, I cannot be down with. I don’t care if you’re a local band or if you’re Elvis.
    I’m glad you at least got to see SP and Zwan back when Billy was better! I know this must be really disappointing for you. I hope that he just acted like this on Sunday and it was an off night for him. I really hope it doesn’t continue.
    I’m starting to wonder if rock really is dying. Not dead yet. But in the process of dying. I hope not.

  7. Ha ! I was joking about Billy Corgan doing some feedback type bullshit being the new songs. I jut said that because the new album got bad reviews. Honestly I wasn’t feeling that new song they have. I will say that the production was interesting because it didn’t have a million overdubs. It was very in your face.

  8. A lot of metal bands are pissed at the outside world and don’t take it out on the crowd. That is the difference.

  9. You know Dave Navarro is just another rock star. What happened to that cool dude in Jane’s Addiction ? But this is the reason that I can’t listen to Pantera anymore. The lead singer is a total asshole. Its called LSD. Lead Singer Disease.
    I’ve heard that Billy Corgan has done shit like this in the past. I personally feel sorry of these people. Its like get over yourselves you know ?

  10. Yeah, I think maybe that Dave Navarro has become more superficial and aware of his name being a brand. I’m not saying he’s totally stooped to the level of say… Paris Hilton. But I used to get invites from him on myspace about a party he’s throwing in L.A. And the pictures have him with his chest out and a bunch of fake looking LA girls all over him.
    And he could be really arrogant on the show “Rockstar: Supernova”. I like constructive criticism but a lot of what he said was downright mean and boastful.

  11. I just found out on wikipedia today that billy corgan has a livejournal account. You probably already knew that but I didn’t.
    There are some interesting entries, like this one:

  12. I did not know that at all actually. We’re SO gonna by LJ friends though! Thanks!

  13. No problem! Yeah, I’m probably gonna friend him too.

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