That further being said, it's maybe a little odd that I've made it this far in my life without making the trek—pilgrimage, even—to the Vans Warped Tour. Well, consider that time over as of last Saturday. Led by my two dear friends (dear friends to the DI as well, alums or close to), Susan and Shannon, who have been to umpteen-million Warped tours before, we set out in the middle of my New York City adventure to Long Island.
This is the one that supposedly "sells out," though I never ended up finding out how many kids (and everyone else there seems like kids, even a lot of the bands. All Time Low, I'm looking at you) it takes to sell out an outdoor festival show like Warped. The number thrown around most that day was 20,000 people in attendance. Whew. That's a lot of eyeliner, yes?
I don't want to write a full review of all the bands we saw, because that would be approximately twice the length of an 80 Hours front, but:
• The Academy Is —Disappointing. Learn how to take care of your voice, Bill Beckett. Learn how to run the sound, techies.
• Gym Class Heroes — Fun and impressive, especially keeping in mind how much of their instrumentation isn't looped (Patrick Stump's vocals are an exception), but rather played live.
• Cobra Starship — Fantastic. They always are. They do better in smaller venues though.
• Angels and Airwaves — Epic, I guess, would be the word? It cannot feel good to hear the crowds chanting for Blink before you go on, I'll give Tom DeLonge that much
• Anberlin — That singer was having an awesome day, and that kind of energy rubs off. They got voted the Energizer Band for the day (10 minutes added to sets that typically run about 20-25 minutes), and they made good use of it.
Check out that smile! (photos by Susan Elgin.)
• All Time Low — Watched from afar. Better than I expected. Nice to see they can actually sing and play, as opposed to others in their uber-poppy field (ahem, Metro Station).
• Say Anything — Amazing. Perhaps the best of the day.
Max Bemis, reacting to the emotional content of the lyrics. Or having a million cameras in his face?
• Katy Perry — No comment.
Due to various sweet hookups, our trio found ourselves in a number of sick locations throughout the day including— the press photo pool using our lame digital cameras and not getting called on it; the production catering tent where we were able to eat actual full meals, without which we might have passed out later; and the production backstage afterparty where i stood in line to buy a drink next to two-fifths of Cobra Starship but might have been more excited about sitting down.
No, Cobra Starship was more exciting. Yeah. So.
So, those are the highs. The lows are the same lows of any rock show, everything just sucks harder, and its all day. A little tiny concussion here, 20-30 crowd-surfers on your neck there (we're all still making grotesque noises, three days later), eh.
All in all, I would say that the name given to the festival tour is exactly appropriate — Warped is like a concert, just twisted and distorted out of all recognition. The highs were higher than basically anything else. But then a 200-lb dude lands on your head, and you remember the other side.
—Anna, who is still battered and bruised, and not ready to talk about the whole "missing the train back" incident.