The last time I went to a Warped Tour was in Miami in 2007. It was hot, the ground were gigantic, and other than a few bands it just lacked the feel I remembered from going to previous Warped Tours. So at the end of the very long day in 2007, I made the decision I was done with all day concerts and just didn’t enjoy them anymore. Fast forward 5 years later and Warped Tour had moved from Miami to West Palm Beach to what I felt was a much better place to hold the event. Certain rules had changed that allowed you to bring in ONE sealed bottle of water per person that you could then refill inside the event with free filtered water and Van’s had negotiated with vendors to lower the price of food & water slightly. Unfortunately, Alcohol was still ridiculously expensive. Who would pay 13 bucks for a 32 oz Heineken? Honestly? Oh wait…I did…nevermind.
So I set out in the early afternoon with my wife and two of my closest friends (one of whom was having his very first concert experience.) The day was hot, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky once we got there, and one of the bands we had wanted to see played first thing in the morning so we missed them. 5 Years Later also meant that the acts had changed a bit. There was a lot more rappers than I remember and I only knew a handful of bands, half of which really haven’t had a big hit in 7 or 8 years. None the less we saw bands like Every Time I Die, Senses Fail, Lost Prophets, Streetlight Manifesto and an folk band from England that we would end up REALLY enjoying called Skinny Lister. We ended up picking up a 5 track demo from them when we passed by two of their members dancing in a corner and waving CDs around. How can you say no to that kind of determination? Needless to say, I’ve had the half their demo stuck in my head in the weeks that followed.
I held off for what’s been about 2 or 3 weeks now because I wanted the whole experience to sink in. Let’s face it, in the days following a concert we as fans are usually the least accurate people to ask how it was. I enjoyed Warped Tour. More than I did 5 years ago? Yes, most definitely. Is it the most fun I’ve ever had at a Warped Tour? No, far from it. But when you’re a teen given free range to go crazy at an all day show, that can be tough to beat. Warped Tour will always hold a special place in my heart as the event where the woman I now call my wife shoved me down into the mud and ruined my favorite Batman shirt before we ever started dating. I’ve seen great acts like Rancid, The Mad Caddies, Pepper, Killswitch Engage, The Used, Andrew WK, Newfound Glory and so many more on the stages of Warped Tour.
Will I go back next year? Well…we’ll just have to wait and see. Rumor has it that this past year may have very well been the last year of the event, but rumors are rumors until they become facts. So until I see something official, it looks like Warped Tour is going to continue!