Are you at work today? You totally shouldn’t be. After all, it’s [artist id=”815″]311[/artist] Day, which is practically a national holiday at this point.
Ever since March 11, 2000 — when 311 decided to perform an extended 46-song set at New Orleans’ State Palace Theatre — celebrating 311 Day has become an annual tradition for the band’s diehard fans. And every other year, the band gets in on the act as well, throwing an elaborate, certifiably epic concert that also doubles as a fan convention, party, and de facto rite of passage for 311 obsessives.
This year, the band has taken over Las Vegas for a three-day extravaganza, the centerpiece of which is Thursday (March 11) night’s performance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. (MTV News has two fans on the ground in Sin City.) In anticipation of the show — which, rumor has it, will last five hours — we spoke to 311 bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, who was already preparing himself for the looming marathon.
“I don’t think we’d be able to physically play a show like this, not even once a month. But I’m ready. I’m trying not to think of it as this huge thing, because, if you think about it, the people who attend most rock shows are on their feet for the same amount of time,” Wills said.
“It helps to see it from that side of things. We’re the entertainment, but of course the fans are going to be there with us the whole time. Then again, [frontman] Nick [Hexum] does do marathons, so I know he’s going to be ready. We all are, because we think of this as a huge opportunity to do something special, to play the ultimate show every two years for our most fanatic fans. It’s perfect.”
And while Wills wouldn’t reveal any of the surprises the band has in store for fans at Thursday’s show, he did say that things are most certainly going to be epic. It’s only fitting, after all.
“It’s just going be as big as it gets for us. It’s going be nuts,” he said. “I’ve only seen some of the sketches of what our set is going to look like, and it’s amazing. Our front-of-house guy designed it, and he’s kind of a nutcase, but we trust him.”
And while the idea of playing the ultimate show before their ultimate fans is inspiring, what really drives Wills, and the rest of the band, is what 311 Day represents. It’s a gathering, a community, a chance for both the band and its fans to share the love.
“It’s a great experience for our fans and for us. It’s a rite of passage. So we know we’ve got to bring it,” he said. “I know we will, too. This will be the best of the best, both from our fans and from us. And I know that at the end of the set, we’ll probably want to play even more. We’re out to chop heads off. Unless we’re playing reggae, then it’s a different vibe.”