December 11th 2010
21st Annual Almost Acoustic Christmas KROQ
As my mom and I drove into Gibson Ampitheatre it was around 7. We parked and made our way to the venue. The security was a little different than last years. It was raining last year so the security was right before you go inside the actual venue. This year, there was a KROQ place with couches fake Christmas trees, etc. where the DJ’s probably announced things. The security was right before that area. After all the time I spent hiding my video camera, the security didn’t even notice my backpack and I just walked in! I was shocked and also a little angry because I could have brought my Nikon camera.
We walked inside. First thing my mom got was a Budweiser necklace that people were passing out. The first thing I got was a candy cane from a guy dressed as an elf.
We didn’t check our seats yet, we went backstage. As we walked toward the back stage area, Dirty Heads were playing! We wondered how many bands we already missed. We went backstage and down the stairs. I saw a photographer I knew.
“Hey!” I said as I waved to her!
“Oh hi, how are you! Are you shooting today?”
“No, Couldn’t get the pass. “I said sadly.
She told her friends that I was the 14 year old photographer and then pointed to her friend telling me,
“If you lived in Orange County she would write an article on you!”
She then noticed my mom and said,
“Are you her awesome mom? The one who waits in the car while she goes to shoot bands?”
“Yeah, but sometime we get a plus one.”
I met the photographer at a Tiger Army show in Anaheim and she asked my age and who drove me. She told me to tell my mom she is awesome for waiting in the car while I take photos.
We talked a little more then said bye to each other.
Backstage was off to the side of the stage. Bands get off stage and walk out where we are. On the right were couches and Xmas trees just like outside, except more lively with people. Nicole Alverez was on the couch taking photos. Kevin, Bean, Lisa May, and Dr. Dre roamed around. There was a bar, tables, a mortal combat game a TV to watch the live show and a 2nd backstage area. The 2nd backstage area required a different kind of pass. It was bands dressing rooms. Last year Nicole interviewed some bands so we thought it would be the same. It was. The next band to be interviewed were My Chemical Romance. When we asked what time the camera guy said “7:15”
It was 7:30 already. They were a little late. We walked around to try to find a program and after 10 minutes we finally did. We already missed a few bands including A Day to Remember, Switchfoot, Anberlin, and The Dirty Heads were finishing up. I wanted to see Anberlin the most out of those bands because they put on a really good performance. The Dirty Heads made their way off stage and I had photographs of them, when they opened for Sublime. I got them out and stopped the singer- Jared Watson who gladly signed the photo. The band then went to their dressing room.
“Who’s that on the TV” everyone seemed to be asking when Cake took the stage.
“Is that Matisyahu?” one girl said while people laughed.
A photographer later informed us it was Cake. I didn’t want to go see Cake play since I thought I didn’t know any songs by them, and I wanted to see the My Chemical Romance interview. We were still waiting for them to get to the interview area when I looked back and saw Tyler Glen of Neon Trees! It was a little weird since they weren’t performing until Sunday. I got excited because I took photos of them at the Sunset Strip Music Festival along with other bands and printed out some photos. I quickly got them out and called him over. He was very nice and liked the photos I took. He signed both of them. He was happy to sign and take a picture with me.
Finally they came out and took a seat on the couch with Nicole. The whole band was there. I got my camera ready and started recording.
After they took a group photo and then came down from the interview area and they signed my drawing of Gerard Way in the Na Na Na Music video. They told me they it was a cool picture, then made there way to the dressing rooms.
When Cake finished they came off stage, to be stopped by fans for pictures. Me still thinking I don’t know any songs by them, paid no attention. Bad Religion took the stage next. My mom and I went out to watch them perform about 20 minutes after they started. We still didn’t know where our seats were. We just went to an open row. We left a few songs later to meet a friend backstage.
Bad Religion made their way off stage. I got out a drawing I had of an album cover and waited until they walked over. I called out, “Greg” to stop the singer and he did. They looked at my drawing said they liked it. They signed and I got a picture with a few sweaty band members.
Jimmy Eat World was next. I didn’t really want to watch them because I saw them already. But I went for a few songs. While Jimmy Eat World performed, Social Distortion was interviewed by Nicole Alverez. After about 3 songs I went backstage so I can catch Jimmy Eat World as they leave. I waited and waited. My mom came back after about 15 or 20 minutes and we waited. I then saw Jared- singer of the Dirty Heads standing near a table talking with someone. I took out my sites sign and went over. I asked him if he would do a shout out for my site and he agreed. He put the sign up, covering his face and my mom said,
“No! Don’t do that! Let us see your face!”
“Trust me! I know what I’m doing. I’m a professional at this!”
*My mom starts recording*
*Peeks under sign* “We going”
*Lowers sign down*
*Looks at me* “See”
Does shout out.
He was pretty funny.
We said thanks and went again to wait for Jimmy Eat World. They finished up, but weren’t seen going off the stage. When I looked over to the TV and saw My Chemical Romance! My mom and I ran up the stairs and got to our seats- for the first time that night. My Chemical Romance is who I wanted to see and we already missed 1 or 2 songs! I recorded some songs they played and enjoyed their performance. It was the first time I saw them live, and I enjoyed it. Once they finished up, we made our way backstage passing the sound booth. I backed up and saw the My Chemical Romance setlist. I asked the nearest person if I can have it but he said he doesn’t work with them. When I asked for him to call the guy literally 2 steps away from him he told us the guy was too busy. The guy I asked for the setlist turned out to be working for The Smashing Pumpkins.
We stayed at our seats and waited for Social Distortion. One really cool thing about the Almost Acoustic Xmas is that the stage spins. So right when one band finishes up the stage spins and another band starts performing. Kind of like a double stage so you don’t need to wait 30 minutes for set up.
The stage spun and Social Distortion started playing. I recorded some songs of theirs and surprisingly knew more than I thought I did. It was an interesting performance but their songs seemed to all sound very similar. It was pretty good though. We didn’t stay for the whole show because we only knew a little amount of their songs so we went backstage again.
I saw someone who looked extremely familiar standing right near the stage. I kept looking at him and overheard someone say he was from Tiger Army. I went over and asked for a shoutout . I told him to say his name and the band he’s in. It was Geoff K. from Tiger Army. I knew he looked familiar! I took photos of Tiger Army in Anaheim, the first time I met that photographer! I asked for a picture and he took off his glasses and took one.
The last time I saw Smashing Pumpkins was for Sunset Strip Music Festival on Aug.28th when I had a photo pass. I remember I couldn’t take any photos because they made all photographers go 50 ft away to the sound booth. It was the same for Almost Acoustic. As we walked toward our seats while Smashing Pumpkins performed I saw once again saw that photographer. We said hi to each other and she continued photographing near the sound booth. Me, only knowing a few Smashing Pumpkin songs, didn’t want to stay for the whole show. We watched for a little then went backstage. When we figured out there was nothing to do backstage we went back. We sat on some steps to the right of the stage and watched. Billy- the singer entertained the crowd in between songs by saying
“My Chicago Bulls beat your Los Angeles Lakers!”
And the crowd responded in “booing”
He called out the Bulls mascot onto the stage. He told him to take the mask of the bull off.
The mascot did and he was wearing another mask.
“Hey! Look, it’s my son Jason! Do you want to say anything to the people of LA Jason?” Billy asked
Jason took the mic
“You missed my birthday dad! Again! You’re the worst dad ever”
“Oh I’m sorry son, I’ll go visit you at the orphanage”
They went into a song dedicated to Billy’s son, called “Tonight Tonight”.
We left the venue as they finished up this song. I got a shirt which on the front had “21st KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas” written on it with an acoustic guitar to the side. On the back it had a Christmas tree of the bands playing. Overall it was really fun, I got to meet some bands, watch bands perform that I never saw before, get some shout outs, and my pictures signed!
I wonder who’s playing next year!