By Clay Lancaster (theFIVE10 Staff)
The title explains most of it, and I’m finally getting around to posting a blog about our February 8th, 2011 experience.
On a whim, 3 of us self-employed chums (Pat, Isaac and myself) decided “hey, we have Tuesday off… let’s drive to Los Angeles and see if we can get into the *rumored* Foo Fighters secret show.
Sounds stupid, right?
I met Pat in 2003 at the filming of the Foo Fighters’ music video for “Times Like These”. We were extras, and we’ve kept in contact ever since. Pat eventually started his own company, AddToAny, and moved to San Francisco. Isaac is the former touring guitarist for Taking Back Sunday, and currently plays for Happy Body Slow Brain.
Pat called me up on February 7th, and suggested the adventure for the following day. I said OK. Isaac was hanging out with me that night, drinking wine, and heard of our endeavor… so we added one more to the trip.
6 hour drive to Los Angeles, and we weren’t sure where we were going. After some research, my hunch was that the show would be held at Spaceland. We violently checked Twitter for clues (as Dave Grohl had been posting for recent shows), until he finally posted some pictures of space/galaxies. Boom… we were 4 minutes from the venue.
After racing over and talking to a security guard (seeing the Foo Fighters’ equipment, and guitarist Chris Shiflett walking around), we were told “tickets aren’t being sold here”.
Panicking, I called Angela to check the Foo Fighters website. Sure enough, tickets were being sold at Echoplex across town.
We raced over to where my iPhone said the Echoplex was, and ditched the car. No Echoplex in sight. The address said “1104”, and we were at 1800.
We RAN 1.1 miles in a single sprint (not kidding… I calculated it on my phone later) down Sunset Blvd. to end up lost and couldn’t find the venue anywhere. Pat randomly showed up in the back of a Jeep, driven by a high school buddy who just happened to be in the area. We went back to our original stopping point to find people with blue wristbands on, waiting to cross the street.
“Show is sold out”, they said.
Our hearts sank. We came too far to give up, so we headed back to the venue.
After schmoozing contacts and talking to crew, it still seemed hopeless.
A couple of other guys waiting in desperation told us that at previous shows, people waited in line persistently and were let in eventually. So… in-line we went.
The crowd was let in, and we were shoved aside, being told multiple times by security “if you don’t have a wristband, go home. It’s not gonna happen.”
Hours went by. It had now been about 9 hours since we left San Francisco.
The opener played, we saw Grohl, Pat Smear, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Ron Jeremy, and Dom Howard (from Muse) all go inside.
Now, Isaac used to be the touring guitarist for Taking Back Sunday, who performed at a festival with Sunny Day Real Estate (Nate Mendel’s original band before Foo Fighters). He saw Nate on the sidewalk, sharing a cigarette with someone, and decided to do his “hey, remember me?” speech, and Nate said, “you need tix? I’ll see what I can do.”
Then Foo Fighters started their set.
Pat “knew” Dave Grohl’s guitar tech, who motioned to Pat and walked him in the door. “This is it!”, Isaac and I said to each other.
But then I got a text message from Pat, saying “show is at capacity. I’m sorry! I’ll see what I can do.”
We were speechless. We decided to call it a night, and go drink beers in Pat’s car while he enjoyed the show. But wait… Pat had the keys. It was freezing outside. Isaac & I were not happy.
About the time we were ready to go drink in some parking lot, the bouncer came outside and told the woman watching the door “we’ll take 15 more.” We were about #’s 7 and 8 in line.
They checked our IDs, gave us wristbands, and we were in! I had to say “sorry, excuse me” to Gwen Stefani as I squeezed by her to get to the bar.
The rest is history: Foo Fighters live, for a 250 capacity crowd.
…until Isaac & I went upstairs to the other bar, where I was offered a drink by Brian from Silversun Pickups, and chatted with Kathy Griffin (who demanded that Ron Jeremy come over and take a picture of all of us). What a weird night.
The show was epic. And when it was over, the bouncers starting kicking people out. They got to us, looked at our wristbands, and said “oh, ok, you guys are good.”
Sure enough, our wristbands said “VIP”.
So here we were until 3am… in a closed venue with maybe 50 people, talking to Dave Grohl and Nate Mendel at the bar, and a guy named “Freak” (not kidding, it’s on his drivers’ license) who introduced me to Daryl Hannah. The evening just surpassed any expectations I had.
All in all, it was probably the most crazy, random journey I’ve ever taken (next to the 12-hour notice trip to LA for the Foo Fighters’ music video shoot). Here are a few pictures from that night: