Front Row Pics: 311 @ the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, July 20
Photos and editorial by Kimberly Marchand, Sr. Photography Contributor, FW
“I sit here tonight, writing this article from the “we” and not “I” perspective. “We” are the excitable ones and “we” have all been changed in the deepest ways by 311’s music. We all remember exactly where we were when it happened and who it was who told us, “Listen to this band, you’ll love it.” We all remember how the music launched some sort of growth in us and engraved itself in our hearts. We were inspired, and are to this day, to Come Original! To Disregard the Naysayers! To Stay Positive and Love our Lives!! 311’s music and lovingly delivered notions of hope released something from us in that moment and we’ve been here, spreading this message of love and positivity, ever since, inspired not just to share it, but to live our lives as to honor it.
Our experiences with 311 over the years is so much entwined with others’ that there are almost no seams. We are individuals yet someone still a collective soul, who we are because of each other and because of the music. It has sustained us, comforted us, renewed us, motivated us, inspired us, enriched us, united us ~ and it will always be a part of us. Discovering 311 was like coming home and it’s been our safe haven ever since, enveloping us in acceptance, tolerance, kindness, perseverance, hope, and love. It serves as our microphone, amplifying our voice so the world can hear it, can hear “’We’ above ‘I’….always!”
“We” all remember our first show and not a single one of us will ever forget a second of it. Wherever and whenever it was, was amazing. Mine was at UNH in the late nineties and I had never felt more alive. We all also remember our second show, and our third, and each one that followed; 311 shows are like nothing else on earth, a celebration of All Things Positive, so how could any of us ever go to just one? 311 ~ the lights, the community, the message, the drum breakdown, the music, the highest vibes we’ve all ever felt ~ instantly became part of the lifeblood that courses through us. It’s the moments we all live for and I get chills just thinking of the lights coming up or the crowd screaming in perfect unison, “Pnut, beat that thang!” We are a family and 311 treats us that way. The dedication they’ve shown their fans through the entirety of their career, well, we appreciate it more than you’ll ever know; but there is no doubt in our minds or hearts that the band knows and appreciates us right back.
So here is where my small part of the story comes in. I picked up a camera one day and discovered I had a natural talent for photography. I worked hard to hone that talent and it’s been almost unbearably difficult at times. Still, I was able see me and what my talent could become because 311 taught me it was obtainable, that “Why couldn’t I…?” It’s about what we all see in our own eyes, in our own way, and this was my dream, to shoot 311 as a photographer, for all of us: to live it for a few hours and get to keep it forever in my photos and my heart. Tonight I got to live that dream and I’ll never be able to put the experience into words. To shoot this show, to project to the world how we see it! How we feel it! How we love it! How we live it! Tonight, “We” did that together; I could feel the strength of all of you encouraging and helping me to accomplish the task at hand, all while still having the time of my life. So to you I say, “Thank you!!” We are never alone, that is the best way I know how to describe the essence of our relationship with this music, and when people who are curious about “We” ask about it, I simply tell them that “This is how we pray.” It’s 113% heart and we aren’t stopping anytime soon. “We do it for ourselves, we do it for you!!!” So thank you, 311, for letting me live out my dream, thank you for every song, every show, every mind-bending lyric, every head-nodding beat, thank you with so much love…from all of Us.” ~ Kimberly Marchand
To view more of Kimberly’s work, please click here.
Very special thanks to Peter Raspler