Monday, May 12, 2008

Radiohead Owes Me a Nubrella

Radiohead owes me a Nubrella, an apology, and a promise to never, ever again let their woolly-headed idiot beliefs lead them to play in a field in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it's time for a Monday morning rant. And I'm slamming Radiohead, Nissan Pavilion, and stupid drunk chicks.

OK, Nissan Pavilion isn't a field. It's a pavilion, and a field. And the phrase "middle of nowhere" would actually be a generous description of how way the hell out there this venue is. But after enduring the 2001 unholy disaster of a cancelled show at Bull Run (which included floating Port-a-Johns) with this guy, I was entitled to a little bit less of a mess.

Instead, I got more of a mess. It took us more than 2.5 hours to get from my place in DC to Nissan...the last hour of which was spent going less than a mile. Then Tim and I parked, got out of the car, and slogged confusedly through the rain and mud for almost 30 minutes before we could get into our seats, because nobody appeared to actually be telling anyone where to go. Instead, employees stood around, looking soggy, and glared at anyone who dared ask a question.

Within minutes of finding our seats, the show started. It was awesome. Well, except for the obnoxiously loud women in front of us who talked through the entire first half of the show (when they weren't off buying even more beer). If I wanted to listen to annoying outer burb drunk chicks scream on about nothing, I'd hang out in Adams Morgan. Ladies, if you're not here for the music, save yourselves the cash and have this conversation over some Mega-Ritas at the Chantilly Ruby Tuesday's. And if I can hear you through my earplugs, and over the music, you're just too loud. Me being me, the Guided Missile of Buzzkill, I told them to shut up. They did. It was awesome. I rule.

We decided to beat the traffic by slipping out during the encore (anyone who has been to Nissan is already laughing at me). We found Tim's car...and proceeded to sit in the car for the two hours it took to even get out of the parking lot. Because there is no system of any kind for parking, exiting, or even labeling the various lots so you can remember where you left your stupid car, we spent most of those two hours watching crying teenagers desperately hunt for their vehicles. Plus, some dude aimlessly wandered around for an hour, hoping his keyless entry would beep, and perhaps we even saw a flying cow.

Eventually, we got out of the parking lot, and dudes with batons sent us all the way to the other side of Prince William before we could even get back on the freeway. Arrival time at my apartment? 2:00 am! Jerks. So, out of an eight-hour outing, less than two hours was spent actually listening to the band.

I'm sure I know what you're all thinking:

1. You had Radiohead tickets! I tried like hell to get tickets. How dare you complain?
Simple. I had tickets to a show, I did not have tickets to a six-hour travel ordeal.

2. Radiohead does not control the weather. And all that chaos is the venue's fault. Why so harsh?
No, they don't control the weather. But they do have a say in where they perform.

Their tour website gets all preachy and encourages people to carpool or take public transit to a show so they can be "green"....but the venue is out in the middle of nowhere, with all those thousands of cars idling for hours on end, with traffic so bad that the Metro was closed before many people even got out of the parking lot? Unforgivably stupid, a smack in the face of Mother Earth, hypocritical, and dense.

Next time, Radiohead, play Verizon like civilized people. Folks can take public transit, crowd control is handled by people who are not drunken monkeys or insolent teenagers, and did I mention people can take mass transit?

3. Radiohead shows are always a disorganized mess. Always. Get over it.
You're right. I've been to three Radiohead shows, and the one that wasn't a mess was all the way back in 1993 or so, when they opened for Belly. And you're right, I'm over it. Because I'm never going to see those clowns again.

4. Radiohead doesn't control drunk chicks. And they're just being enthusiastic! Most people at shows are so lame. Why ruin their good time?
Nope, they don't have any say over their suckier fans. But if you're going to drown out the band that people paid to see, you deserve a good telling off. Your fun is no more important than anyone else's.

Radiohead, we're through. Never again. It's not me, it's you, your idiotically organized shows, and your woolly-headed "green" stupidity. I'll content myself with the music, listened to from the comfort of my own home.

PS - I love me a good misinformed musician political rant, but when you said you'd like everyone in Capitol Hill in court, I assume you meant the White House. Which is downtown. Idiots.


Anonymous said...

A coworker offered to sell me a ticket, the seat 7 rows from the stage, for $100. I almost took it last week, but something told me not to. And that something was the fact that it was at the Nissan Pavilion. I will NEVER go there. I mean, if Bono called me and said that he'd give me a free, front row ticket with VIP backstage passes, I wouldn't go. (Wait, yes I would.) Anyway, instead of getting the ticket, I stayed home, organized a closet and watched TV. All-in-all, looks like I made the right choice

Sorry the experience sucked.

Shannon said...

I have thoughts, if Freddie Mercury came back from the dead for a Queen reunion tour, with Jimi Hendrix opening and perfect weather and backstage passes, I STILL wouldn't go back.

The only way in or out of Nissan is by helicopter. Or, last night, by boat.

Gilahi said...

This is why, once I got past my early 20's, I pretty much quit going to concerts of popular bands. Not completely, but pretty much. 1) Traffic is a misery, and 2) somebody ALWAYS pisses me off. It's not just Nissan Pavilion (although the distance there is daunting). Wolftrap and Merriweather Pavilion are equally crazy to get into and out of. I pretty much limit my musical experiences to oldies groups in small venues (Birchmere, State Theatre) these days.

Shannon said...

Gilahi, at least we got into the show. Hundreds of other cars circled for hours, then were turned away at the gate.

This morning, I Googled "radiohead nissan pavilion clusterfuck" and got 492 hits. Yeah!

Michael J. West said...

FWIW, apparently Radiohead had wanted to book the Verizon Center...but when it came time to schedule the concert, both the Wizards and the Capitals had made the playoffs, so they had to keep the schedule clear for both teams.

Not that this makes me any happier, mind you.

Shannon said...

RFK, then? Not great, but transit-accessible and a bit less of a slap to Mother Earth. Nissan is the absolute worst venue they could have gone to.

The show should have been cancelled, and people should have gotten their money back. It was miserable and very hazardous.

In other news, Googling "radiohead nissan pavilion clusterfuck" is up to 527 hits.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Bull Run show; I was bummed that it was cancelled.

Nissan is always a no-go. Never, ever, ever.

Shannon said...

freckledk, floating Port-a-Johns aside, I think the Bull Run show was less of a disaster. At least they had the sense to cancel it so people could get their money back. Nissan should have sucked up the loss and called it off -- "rain or shine" does not include "torrential downpour and flooding."

I do feel lucky that at least we got to see the show - lots of people got turned away at the gate.

"radiohead nissan pavilion clusterfuck" -- down to 497 hits? Weird.

Jamie said...

Ha! Over on DCist I had said I wouldn't go back for a Led Zeppelin reunion with John Bonham back from the dead, and I read another commenter somewhere else with a similar thought involving a reincarnated John Lennon.

In fact it might just take Jimi Hendrix, Queen, the Beatles AND Led Zeppelin headlining a three day festival with special phantom appearances by Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, and every other rock star who's died from a drug overdose in the last 40 years to get me back to that place. WITH backstage passes and VIP parking.

Y'know, even then, I'd still have to give it some thought. That place really blows.

Shannon said...

Hi Jamie, welcome! Would you mind reposting this on the 5/13 "Still Mad About Radiohead" thread? I'm trying to get a game of Nissan I Never going. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I suppose getting artists to boycott from performing at Nissan Pavilion is too much of a pipe dream.

Shannon said...

Anon, well, you'd think at least a band that promotes itself as "green" would aboycott the exurb Bhopal that is Nissan. But no.

Jamie said...

Hey Shannon, did you realize you got called out in Express blog log on Tuesday? Page 36.

Shannon said...

Thanks Jamie! I found out about it later, but not early enough to clip it and post it on my fridge (with all the others, because gosh, I'm so awesome). Hopefully one of my friends picked it up for me.

Carrie M said...

Live Nation sucks at the teat of the devil. And Nissan Pavilion is where the devil and his minions go watch shows. I went to see them in TX for two shows and the Dallas one was a huge clusterfuck, it was awful. I actually had to walk away from an asshole and mentally decide not to punch him in the face at that show.

But I'm still going to their shows. But never at Nissan.