Saturday, September 18, 2010


Taking Tiffany to rock concerts has been more fun that I could imagine. Not only do we have a ton of fun singing and dancing at the concert, she comes home and wants to play the same rock music at home. Talk about a win win.

After a 5 year break, the year the almighty HFStival returned to the DC area. There used to be a legendary rock station, 99.1 WHFS, here that hosted the HFStival annually at the Redskins RFK stadium. Back then this was a colossal two day concert, with two stages that held up to 90,000 concert goers. All along the East Coast it was the rock event to be at. One fateful morning in 2005, HFS flipped to Mexican music without warning . Rock radio in the DMV area (D.C. Maryland Virginia) has never been the same since (DC101 is horrible in comparison). Ask any rock fan native to the DMV area and tears of nostalgia will flow as they tell you how great it was, who their favorite DJ was, and exactly where they were when they discovered it switched to Mexican music. OK, I'll stop fawning over some old radio station, that's not what this blog is about.

This years HFStival was tame in comparison. It was only one day long, from 11am to 11pm, and held in the much smaller but still lovely Merriweather Post Pavillion. My all time favorite band Third Eye Blind was there along with some other great late 90's bands: Fuel, Live, The Presidents of the United States of America, Lit, Marcy Playground, Jimmy's Chicken Shack, and Everclear. Representing the 80's and early 90's were the old rap group Naughty by Nature and the just plain old Billy Idol.

By accident really I happened to purchase tickets for the pit right in front of the stage. Being that close to the musicians was awesome, I got some great pictures and video. No watching the jumbo-tron for us! I even caught a guitar pick thrown by the Fuel lead singer and had my finger tips on two drumsticks thrown into the crowd by Billy Idol and 3EB.

Worthy of report were both Billy Idol, Third Eye Blind, and Naughty by Nature. Forget that Billy Idol is an old man, he can still belt out the hits just as well as back in the day. I wasn't a Billy Idol fan before really, but I certainly am now. He was incredible to watch. Third Eye Blind closed the concert and got everybody up on their feet and rockin. The crowd was singing along nearly as loud as the lead singer. Naughty by Nature was a band I was willing to skip. Tiffany said "No way!". Turns out she and her school friends were quite the NbN fans back in the day. Who would've thought?! She had a lot of fun reminiscing and dancing to their old school rap!

OK, I lied. Even though there were 90,000 or so tickets for sale at the old HFStivals, they would still sell out within hours (this is back before internet tickets sales btw.) To secure ourselves a spot in the front of the ticket line in '97, some friends and I reported to a store at 9pm the day before tickets went on sale (the JC Penney at the Columbia Mall in fact.) This got us on a list in the order that they would sell tickets to and we were something like 40th on the list. In order to stay on that list until tickets actually went on sale the next morning, we had to report back every two hours. If we failed to report back they'd scratch our name off the list. They'd also switch the location where we were supposed to report to as well. They'd tell us "meet at the lake front" in two hours , then "meet back at the store" in another two hours. We mostly stayed up all night having a good time, but as morning approached we faded quickly and napped between reporting in. In the end, we got out tickets and felt sorry for the hundreds of other people in line behind us who were unaware of the 'all night line guarantee deal' and who weren't going to get tickets. There's really not a point to this story but to convey that a lot of people went through a lot of effort to secure HFStival tickets. That particular HFStival was the break out year of Third Eye Blind and the first time I saw them in concert. They were brand new then and on the second, lesser stage. A lot has changed since then!