Yesterday was a good day. It was the final stop of the 2008 Vans Warped Tour and I was there. Nine stages with shows starting at each every thirty to forty-five minutes. Everyone needs a good mainstream rock show every once in a while. We showed up right at opening and stayed all day when we were finally yelled at by a rather large and somewhat pissed off security guard hustling people out so he could go home. I am sore, and my right arm (my rock arm) is a bit stiff. Both signs that I had a good time.
It was the first concert I’ve been to in some time and there were so many things that I had forgotten about, so many things I didn’t even remember I had missed: the crowds, the carpet of fliers and empty water bottles, the smell of sweat, cheap beer and pot all mixing together in the pits. Ah, the pits.
The great thing about a show like this one was there really is something for everyone. Punks, metal-heads, chick-rockers, skas, hip-hop fans, and straight-up rockers, everyone had at least one band to really get excited about. I’m into a lot of different types of music, and the smorgasbord offered up made for a musically fulfilling day.
There were the mainstream bands and the guys just starting out. I like going back and forth between the main stages and the smaller venues. You can really feel the difference, and it’s almost perfectly clear who’s going to make it and who is going to remember this one show as the peak of their musical career.
Things I Loved:
– Fighting all the way to the front dead center for Rise Against, barely being able to breathe because of the crush, but still thinking how cool it is that I can lift my feet and be held in place by the wall of people.
– Surfing, and getting dropped. Twice. Apparently my 210-pound self doesn’t surf as easily as my former 170 pounds did. Still fun getting up for as long as I did.
Things I Didn’t Like:
– Lack of seating in the beer garden. I don’t expect places to sit in the main stage areas, but really, did they not think this through? People rock hard then drink, most people too much. They really need a place to park for a bit. While we’re on the beer garden, what’s with the 14-ounce beer? If I’m paying $6 for a Bud (if you know me, that’s saying something), you should really go the full pint.
– I’m not hating here, just mentioning that just because I am six foot one and, as previously mentioned, a wee bit over the two hundred mark, it is not my responsibility to get every single person in the crowd up when they want to surf. Hey I’m here to help, but when you start forming a line, I can’t get into the show.
Things I Hated:
– People moshing/crowd surfing who have no idea what it’s like. Note for the girl in the yellow look-at-me-I’m-hot shirt: 1) no you’re not, and 2) when you’re being held in the by strangers in the crowd, someone will touch your butt. It’s matter of keeping you in the air, not them wanting to grope you. Furthermore, screaming “Seriously, what the fuck!” and kicking the guy holding up your legs in the throat is not good concert etiquette. Even if someone did get a bit grabby, it wasn’t me; I was down by your feet. I can still feel your footprint every time I swallow.
– No re-entry. It’s an all day show. Really how hard would it be to let people leave and come back? After my friend caught a drumhead from Against Me!, he had to drag it around the rest of the day, seriously hampering his ability to enjoy the show.
In the end, it was a good time. I saw some bands I like, and found a few locals I didn’t know about. I even managed to not lose my sunglasses.