SEATTLE The Experience Music Project interactive museum may not have drawn enormous crowds to its opening Friday, but the evening's kickoff concert attracted a sold-out crowd of 30,000 people.
Fans roared all night for a lineup that included Kid Rock, Filter, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre and his entourage of Eminem and Snoop Dogg, plus metal gods Metallica.
Inside the $240 million futuristic rock museum, however, the crowds were thinner than expected. Official numbers were not released as of early Saturday morning (June 24), but local press reported that EMP attracted only about half of the 8,000 visitors predicted.
Because many of the first-day guests were complimentary ticket holders, members of the press and musical talent, opening day was not designed to be a blowout, EMP spokesperson Paige Prill said.
"We actually wanted to have the visitor experience be really positive for the people that were coming through, rather than have really long lines," Prill said. "It was a great day for anyone there. We had Grandmaster Flash playing the turntables in the Sound Lab and Dave Stewart talking to people. Annie Lennox toured the museum, as well as Matchbox Twenty and Red Hot Chili Peppers."
Funded by local billionaire Paul Allen and designed by architect Frank Gehry, the curvy museum was the subject of much talk inside the Seattle Memorial Stadium. Members of Filter and the Chili Peppers mocked the museum's unconventional look and its founder's even more outrageous wallet.
When Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo announced he was going to smash his guitar, singer Richard Patrick said, "Great idea. Paul Allen will pay top dollar for that." He later commented on the likely cost of the night's entertainment, saying, "I'd spend $300 million to have the biggest party of the year."
Crowd On Its Best Behavior
The band's set featured six of the group's radio singles and nothing else. Before playing their breakthrough hit "Hey Man Nice Shot" (RealAudio excerpt), Patrick, dressed in a cowboy hat and leather pants, tried to work up the crowd. "They've got all these ambulances here," he said. "Why don't you guys put 'em to work? Let's start some sh--."
Although Friday's lineup included three acts from the doomed Woodstock '99 festival Metallica, Kid Rock and the Chili Peppers the show went off with few problems. One crowd member left in a stretcher, though no serious injuries were reported.
"We had a few bumped heads," Prill said. "But no serious injuries and no arrests that I'm aware of. It ended up being really amazing. Everyone there seemed to be in good spirits, and the whole group got along well."
Kid Rock followed Filter and electrified the crowd with his ability to rap, sing, spin records, play guitar and dance. From his opening song, "Bawitdaba" (RealAudio excerpt), Kid Rock had his many young fans singing along. Taking a cue from fellow Detroit rapper Eminem, Kid Rock dissed *NSync and the Backstreet Boys during the intro to the song "Cowboy," while welcoming Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears to "suck my d---."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers closed their hit-filled set by returning to the stage naked, with socks covering their genitals. The Los Angeles funk-rock veterans mostly played songs from 1999's Californication, such as "Scar Tissue" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Otherside," and threw in a few classics like "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge."
Frontman Anthony Kiedis spoke little, but took the time to spread "a rumor he heard" about EMP. "It's orgasmic," he said of the multicolored structure. "If you put your ass up it to it, you'll be coming all over the place in no time."
Eminem was surprisingly less vulgar, though he did pull out a blow-up doll he labeled "Kim," his wife's name, then proceeded to kick it and call it a bitch. The rapper rhymed through a few songs from his The Marshall Mathers LP and closed with his hit The Real Slim Shady (RealAudio excerpt).
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg followed, playing new tunes and old hits such as "What's My Name." Eminem also returned to the stage to rap with the crew. "I liked Eminem, especially when he came out for 'Forget About Dre,' " Jonathan Gorder, 14, of Seattle, said. "I also liked the Chili Peppers a lot. It was weird when they came out naked, though."
Metallica played a set similar to their Woodstock performance, which included the hits "Enter Sandman" (RealAudio excerpt), "Wherever I May Roam" and "Sad But True." Frontman James Hetfield thanked the crowd, saying, "We are Metallica. And so are you." The metal band closed with a stirring rendition of "One."
"Metallica kicked ass," Kelli Sera, 14, of Seattle, said. "Everything about their show was so good. The whole night has been cool. Filter was impressive. I haven't gone to the museum yet, but I'm a charter member, so I will."
Elsewhere On Friday
Also on Friday, a number of other artists including Bob Mould, Junior Brown, Dave Alvin and Patti Smith played free shows at the vast Seattle Center, which lies in the shadow of the city's famous Space Needle.
Earlier in the day at EMP, Carole Kaye, who earned a reputation as the "first lady of bass" by playing on such recordings as the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, entertained a sold-out workshop of 60 people with stories from her heyday as a studio musician. Kaye said she recorded thousands of songs in her career, including the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and the Doors' "Light My Fire."
"I don't really remember much about him, except that he was very nice," Kaye said of Doors singer Jim Morrison. "And when you hear the song, there's not much bass. So I don't remember what I played exactly."
Kaye played both a bass and guitar during her workshop, which included a crash course on reading music. Several workshops are scheduled for Saturday, featuring Alvin, Christy McWilson and Taj Mahal. Saturday night's main concert lineup features the Eurythmics, Beck, Alanis Morissette, No Doubt and Matchbox Twenty.