Date: Thursday November 3rd, 2011
Line up: Sublime With Rome
Location: Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum-Arizona State Fair Phoenix, AZ
Walking up to the Arizona State Fair, one could only imagine the festivities taking place with strobe lights lining the sky, ferris wheels full of teenagers, bungee jumping, and endless fried foods and carnival games. However, inside the gates of the state fair, patrons marched into the fifty-year-old Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum to listen to the tunes of one of the most iconic bands of all-time, Sublime with Rome.
As a longtime OG Sublime fan, along with thousands of others in attendance, a dream in reality was about to unfold. The easily recognizable voice of the late great Bradley Nowell was not present, but the rhythmic foundation of Eric Wilson on Bass and Bud Gaugh on Drums was ever-present. And Rome’s voice IS eerily similar to the original pioneer of reggae-rock.
If you wanted to close your eyes and sit back and listen to the art unfold first hand and compare, the opening song of “Smoke Two Joints” would have instantly placed a grin on your face.
With the world-class DJ champion, Rocky Rock, manning the turntables, he sampled the opening dialogue of the famous 40 oz. to Freedom track, nearly blowing the roof off of the coliseum.
After the set opener, the scene that unfolded was unbelievable. With over 10,000 fans packed into the arena, the crowd sang in unison with Rome on every single track, including the three new tracks “Panic,” “Take It or Leave It,” and “You Better Listen” from the latest Sublime With Rome album, Yours Truly.
Throughout the night, fans from the front row, all the way to the upper deck screamed for their once long-lost favorites to be played. And as the night unfolded, Sublime with Rome ran through their catalog with ease, playing songs from 40 oz to Freedom, Robbin’ the Hood, and the highly acclaimed Sublime self-titled album.
Following “Smoke Two Joints,” Rome asked the crowd one simple question, “Are you guys ready to have a good time tonight?” As soon as the crowd confirmed their excitement for the night to continue on, Bud Gaugh pounded his sticks on his timbale, and the band jumped right into “Get Ready”.
Needless to say, the crowd was ready, willing and able to partake in free-spirit atmosphere of the night. From fun-loving songs to rambunctious riot acts of “April 29, 1992” and “Panic”, the crowd and the band became one.
Being up close and personal witnessing Rome shred on the guitar and belt out the lyrics we have all come to love and cherish, Sublime with Rome is still Sublime. The smile that Rome gazes out to the crowd with, is the essence of Sublime that we came to love from Brad.
The cheers, the smiles, and overjoyed laughter were countless throughout the night. The crowd was never louder than when Rome played the opening chords of “Wrong Way”.
If it wasn’t for stadium seating, the skankin’ would have ensued with plenty of crowd surfing, taking everyone back to the early 1990s inside a dimly lit, overcrowded nightclub in Southern California. Yet, Sublime with Rome brings the beauty of SoCal to the hearts and minds of fans across the country. This just happened to be Arizona’s chance to show their devotion to the timeless sounds.
And the music is still pure. Eric’s bass still, and always will, border the line of blowing out the speakers, and Bud is pounding away behind the kit like never before. The proof was in “Don’t Push” and “Garden Grove”, a dub staple of any Sublime show.
After all, arguably Sublime’s greatest hit, “Date Rape” was yet to be performed. In proper form before ending their main set, the crowd, and the fan friendly security staff, got their wish. As Rome picked his way through the guitar solo, Rocky Rock grabbed a towel and jumped next to Rome, fanning him down and energizing the crowd to a completely different level.
As the crowd erupted in unbridled jubilation, Eric and Rome, and the rest of the foursome, gave a wave to the crowd and exited stage left. No one imagined they were through. With four minutes straight of cheers and chants of “Sublime”, the band returned with “STP”.
With the show and encore coming to an end, the band brought out their manager and accomplished musician, Cheez, to play acoustic guitar on “What I Got”. The chorus literally brought chills running down my spine, and I am sure the rest in attendance, as well.
The show easily could have ended right then and there, but Sublime with Rome showed their gratitude to all the fans that ventured through the state fair environment, with one final song: “Santeria”.
If past fans are having any hesitations about taking in a Sublime with Rome concert, throw all those thoughts away, and buy a ticket. You will not be disappointed and you will have a new appreciation for the timeless music that is Sublime, with Rome Ramirez as his own front man, not an imposter. Do yourself a favor and relive the music you love, with the band you adore!
– Article by: Kris Siuta
– Photos by: IrieAZPhoto
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Here is an amateur video from the night of Sublime w/Rome performing the closing song “Santeria”. Enjoy!