by Helen M. Ryan
Music fans usually pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to get a close view of their favorite bands in concert. Not so at the new Plugged In stage at Universal CityWalk®, where getting close to the bands comes at a very reasonable price: free.
Conveniently located right outside the Hard Rock Café, the Plugged In stage is the new host a variety of hot musical acts, all playing full sets that are entirely free to the public.
Neon Trees, the dance-punk band Los Angeles radio giant KROQ has said will “rule the universe” (read LA’s the Place’s interview with lead singer Tyler Glenn ) opened the Plugged In concert series on October 26, 2010.
The band may hail from Utah, but with two of Neon Trees’ members from Southern California’s wine country, plenty of Murrietans drove in to see group perform live. The young musicians played a complete set to an excited crowd under the beautiful evening sky, where lucky radio station ticket winners were merely feet away from their music heroes. Early arrivals saw the band warm up and perform their sound check, where lead singer Glenn interacted with the crowd from the low profile stage and posed gamely for photos.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Neon Trees also participated in a “meet and greet” at the neighboring Hard Rock Café, where fans got to interact with band members and proceeds benefited the restaurant chain’s “Pinktober” efforts.
What’s up next? Rock band Good Charlotte energizes the Plugged In stage on November 4, 2010, with another free performance open to the public. The triple platinum selling rock band just released its fifth studio album this month, “Cardiology”. “Cardiology” is the group’s first album release in four years.
With sound quality at the Plugged In stage excellent and performance area boasting great views from the main audience area as well as surrounding walkways and restaurants, free concerts at CityWalk seem like just the ticket in a tight economy.
Want more? Local bands Saint Motel, Red Cortez, and Voxhaul Broadcast will grace the Plugged In stage later this month, and other events around CityWalk include a Days of Our Lives meet ‘n greet, comedy shows, and large-scale concerts at the Gibson Amphitheater.
CityWalk is a great venue for a bite to eat and some music. Restaurants abound, with coffee shops and specialty cafes helping to add the perfect end to an exciting evening. Where else can you see Neon Trees and Good Charlotte for free under the California stars? Only in Hollywood.
Neon Trees concert photography by Helen M. Ryan.