Tag Archives: Live Music

I Am A Warped Tour Senior (Citizen) – True stores of the 1996 Vans Warped Tour

Summer of 94
Yes, this is me 13 years ago...

The Van’s Warped Tour has turned 15 this year.

How awesome is that?

The longest running festival ever is on it’s 15th run this year and does not seem to be slowing down at all.  Punk rock summer camp is still in session for fans of all ages.  I know when I go this year I will be laughing at the fact that there will be tons of kids there who were not even born when the Warped Tour first took place.

In other words…I’m getting old.

Recently I read a pretty interesting article in this month AP Magazine.  It basically told the tale of the history of the Van’s Warped Tour from the beginning until present day.  I suggest you go out and grab a copy of the magazine (who I should add has been around for 24 years!) if you want to know the true history of the Warped Tour and read the wonderful article.

I will tell you one thing…it was almost called the Calvin Klein Warped Tour. (read the article!!!)

I am not really going to go into detail with the history of the Warped Tour here, but I will go into detail of the history of myself at the Warped Tour; July 24th, 1996 to be exact.

Now I don’t remember everything because let’s face it, growing old does a number on you sometimes but I remember enough to talk about it.  This was my first Warped Tour festival I had attended and is the one that I will remember for a lifetime.  It became the start of a summer ritual my friends and I have been engaging in almost every single summer since.

It all started one day when I read about a punk rock festival that was coming back to town.  I missed the first Warped Tour in 1995 for whatever reason and still kick myself for doing so but what happened, happened.   Regardless I was excited to see it’s return and this time planned accordingly.

The festival was held at the old Cloverleaf grounds, a one time drive-in turned flea market parking lot, let me rephrase that, a gravel filled parking death lot, located under the I-480 Valley View bridge.  Of all the places a festival could have been put at they chose the white stoned parking lot and it was the perfect venue in every way.

Tickets were only $20 for the festival and the parking was free.  We arrived before anyone else and parked directly in front of the entrance gate.  Too young to buy beers and pre-game we just hung out until the gates were open and the festivities began.  Featuring acts such as NOFX, CIV, Pennywise, Unwritten Law, The Dancehall Crashers, Rocket From The Crypt, and others it was to be one of those days that I would never forget.  (Speaking of forget, it is possible that Sublime, No Use For A Name, The Deftones, Face To Face, and Fishbone may have played too but I can not recall – anyone else remember?)

Spite the lack of remembering the entire lineup, I have a lot of memories that day that will last for a life time.  I don’t even know where to start… I can tell you this though, many of those memories did not even include the bands.

Band memories:

CIV.  I miss that band so much.  I was a huge CIV fan (still am) and absolutely thrilled to see them take the stage.

I was still new to Unwritten Law having seen them previously opening for Bad Religion so i was excited to see them again live.  I was a huge fan of Blue Room and really got into their set.  So did some other fans who, apparently, started fist fighting in the middle of the pit.  Lead signer Scott Russo and yours truly broke up that fight.  I’m more about peace and rock over knocked out teeth.

I should also mention the famous boot prints found on people back’s.  I will not confirm if they were from my boots, but my friends did mention that I became very excited about NOFX taking stage and might have run over 4 or 7 kids while charging into the mosh pit.

Speaking of NOFX, one of my friend’s girlfriends at the time somehow got backstage and did not bother to invite any of us.  We later in the day discovered she made out with one of the members of NOFX.  Awesome.  I think at that moment I was double pissed.  Once for the blatant cheating and the other for the non-invite back stage.

Right before Pennywise took the stage for the final set of the day the clear skies turned into hell.  Huge dark clouds took over the sky and as Pennywise tried to close out the set lightning was striking dangerously close and the rain was pouring causing for their amps to blow out.  It was at that time that the two friends that were by me hi tailed it to my car and got the hell out of there.  We may have left someone behind.

Other memories:

I was on the nightly news that evening because apparently all of the cussing could be heard echoing in the surrounding cities thanks to the venue being located at the bottom of a valley.  I remember I was walking with my pal Jonah and was eating a hamburger.  I noticed one of the local news channels filming us so being the goof that I am I proceeded to stop, look at the camera, and stuff the 3/4 worth of hamburger left in my hand into my mouth where I proceeded to eat it.

Mom was so proud that night.

Later one of the newscasters was talking about all of the controlled rowdiness in the grounds and I walked up behind him and threw the devil horns over his head.  Everyone surrounding the camera burst out laughing.  Even the cameraman was laughing at that newscaster who had no idea what was going on.  I am pretty sure that was edited out of the evening news.

Then there was the choke chain I wore around my neck.  You see, being punk means wearing dog chains and other miscellaneous metal accessories all over your body.  I chose to wear a choke chain around my neck along with other various items including the super long chain connected to my wallet I used to trip over all the time.

For some reason I opted out of using a safety pin or mini pad lock to secure my dog choke chain and chose a chain link connector, something that I was so proud of discovering at a local hardware store earlier that year.  Well thanks to the intense heat my neck started to swell and I realized it was time to take off the chain from my neck so I could breath.  There was one problem…genus me decided to secure the chain link connector with pliers at home and I could not unscrew the chain link connector for the life of me.

I panicked and tried to do everything I could to get that thing undone from my neck.  I ran around like an idiot searching for pliers to get the link unscrewed as I was slowly choking.  All of the folk at the band merch booths could not help, the pro-skaters laughed at me, and the security was not any help at all.  Finally I found a booth where some folk were making jewelry and luckily borrowed some pliers and took that damn chain off my neck.  Who am I kidding, I basically lept over their table and snatched the pliers from one of their working hands in order to save my life.

Luckily there were no news crews around to film me during that episode…although that would have been hilarious.

Let me not forget about the the mosh pit, it was more like a death pit thanks to all the gravel.  I do want to note that the pit was very friendly and who ever slipped and fell or was forcefully knocked over was helped up immediately.  There was not as much blood as I though might occur but there were plenty of scrapes and bruises.

The drive home too was a memory.  Thanks to all the heavy rains my car decided to stall in the middle of Route 43.  I literrally beat the crap out of my car when it did not start and am pretty sure scared my friends.  To make matters even worse I screamed at my friends to get out of the car and help me push the car into a nearby parking lot.  One of them told me “no way, it’s raining”.  Thanks Pete.


The Warped Tour then was just in its baby steps when I attended.  I think there were three stages, maybe four, on that stony drive-in with just a handful of merch booths.  Within the next couple of years the success of the festival provided the means to expand and turn it into a larger festival with more stages and attractions.  Moving from place to place it just got bigger and bigger to what it is now.

I have to admit I was getting a little disappointed in the line-ups of recent years primarily because I have no idea who these bands are anymore.  I am all for the new generation of music and their fans but it has gotten to the point where I just do not care.

Luckily for me (and others I would assume) Kevin Lyman decided to go back to the Warped Tour roots this year and has asked some of the veteran punk rock bands to once again spend their summer playing on stages to thousands of fans all over the US, Canada, and even a couple of spots overseas.

This time around there will only be one main stage and longer sets.  That right there got me excited seeing how I never enjoyed seeing my favorite acts only get 30 minutes to crank out as many songs as they could.  I can honestly not wait until next week when the Warped Tour rolls through Cleveland once again.

Featuring bands (aka the bands I want to see most):

Bad Religion, NOFX, Bouncing Souls, Gallows, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag, Fake Problems, Alexisonfire, 3OH!3, Authority Zero, Fishbone, The Flatliners, P.O.S, The Reverend Paytons Big Damn Band, Westbound Train, and Thrice (just to name a couple)

I will say this though.  This is my last year with the Warped Tour and I plan on retiring from the punk rock summer camp once and for all.  It was a touch decision but seriously even I am starting to think I am too old for it…

With my luck the 2010 line up with be even better than this years…  I’ll just insert foot into mouth now and not tell anyone later if I do return…

Vintage footage of the Warped Tour:

Speaking of memories…I came across this YouTube video of footage from the storm that nearly destroyed the 2007 Warped Tour. I was standing pretty close to the kid who filmed this. That was one hell of a storm…

Bonnaroo 2009 – Day 4 In Review / The Wrap Up

Editors Note – Sorry for the delay, Bonnaroo took a lot out of me and after the long drive home I went to see Rancid/Rise Against at the Tower City Amphitheater with very little sleep.

The final day of Bonnaroo came and went faster than any of the other days and before I knew it I was headed for the first real meal in four days thanks to the Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro, TN.  The Southern Belle served catfish was an absolute delight and the three of us relaxed and talked about the whole weekend and unexpected events.

More on that in a moment.  First I should note that I was able to review the final day for BlogCritics.Org:

Concert Review: Bonnaroo 2009 – 06/14/2009 – Day 4

I kept my reviews on BlogCritics pretty simple mostly focusing on the music aspect and seem to be getting some interesting comments stating I am a “newb” and so on.  I did not want to go into detail about Bonnaroo on those reviews because the read would be way too long.  It was a music review, not a Bonnaroo journal.  After reading them I think I could have done better but what I was trying to do was review each day nightly and sometimes I was up till 5am while doing so.  It is what it is…

Thankfully I have this site to blabber on about everything else…read on in a moment for a Bonnaroo wrap-up.

The final day at Bonnaroo was short and quick mostly because I had to cart an ill fated Matt from one hotel to another.  The poor kid woke up feeling like hell and asked me how I felt about staying another night at the hotel.  I was honest with him and told him I preferred not to backtrack so I found a hotel in Murfreesboro, a city about a half hour North of Manchester.  We all drove to the new hotel and dropped Matt and our stuff off.  It was bittersweet to see the room number was 420.

By the time we dropped sickly off and got back to Bonnaroo it was going on 2pm.  Luckily day four doesn’t get hopping until about that time.

To sum up day 4 at Bonnaroo I will say it was the perfect way to end the four day festival.  I saw a great performance by Jessica Lee Mayfield, a Kent, OH artist.  I saw Andrew Bird for a quick moment before heading over to see Merle Haggard take the stage.  I can not even tell you how awesome it was to be in the crowd as the legendary country artist played.

Coheed & Cambira threw on a killer performance full of interesting covers and a 10+ minute drum solo during their closing song “The Final Cut”.  I sang at the top of my lungs throughout all of their songs and enjoyed every minute of it.  I am thrilled that they were on the Bonnaroo bill.

Coheed & Cambria Setlist @ Bonnaroo:
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood & Burial)
Apollo I: The Writing Writer
No World For Tomorrow
Gravemakers & Gunslingers
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith cover) / Under The Milky Way (The Church cover)
A Favor House Atlantic
The Crowing
Blood Red Summer
Mother Superior
Red Rain (Peter Gabriel cover)
Welcome Home
The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut

The last show of the festival for Adam and I would be the amazing performance by Coheed & Cambira. I opted to skip out on Phish and yes I am kicking myself for missing it as I heard it was an amazing close to the festival with Bruce Springsteen joining the jam rockers on stage for a couple of songs.

Oh well…  I am just not a Phish fan and preferred to get on my way.  Adam and I drove back to Murfreesboro and were looking for somewhere to grab a real meal when suddenly Matt texted Adam asking us if we had eaten yet, good timing.  We picked up Mr. Sniffles and went to Cracker Barrel and pretty much took turns summing up the weekend.

It was a good time had by all.

Bonnaroo Wrap-Up Pissed Off Edition:

If I has to sum up the weekend with five words it would be: “Bro toss me the frisbee”

The three of us had a blast driving from Ohio, pit-stopping in Nashville, and of course kicking it at Bonnaroo.  Granted Matt only made it to two of the four days, the three of us have enough musical memories to last a lifetime.

Let’s discuss some shall we?

First there is the good folk at Thirty Tigers who invited us to stop at their office and hang out for a moment.  I can not even tell you how nice Katie and John are.  We even met the owner later on Thursday, sadly I can not remember his name.  Anyways, if you are a folk/country/rock music lover do youself a favor and check out their site and sample some of the bands on their label and thank me later.

Our hotel was in Kimball, TN.  I thought it was not going to be terribly far away but I was a little off on distance.  The room was booked as it was the cheapest in the area as the surrounding communities tent to hike up their prices of the nightly rates for those who refuse to camp.  Extra money or not I am glad we got a hotel because there is no way this guy could camp at Bonnaroo.  No showers, no AC, no way.

Let us not forget about Matt who wanted to skip out the first day of Bonnaroo to just relax at the hotel.  I was ok with his decision.  During breakfast I joked that the B-52’s were playing in Chattanooga, TN and I almost regret that…haha.  Matt was dead serious when he asked me to drive him to Chattanooga and leave him there for the day so he could see the B-52’s play on the river.  I was not exactly happy to drive out of my way but he does love that band and I know he had a blast there so I am glad I could help a friend out.  Spite my little disagreement with a local officer we were able to pick up Matt up late night and get the hell out of there and back to the hotel for some sleep.  He wrote a little blog about his solo experience.

Seeing Those Darlins live made my day.  Kelley Darlin giving me a hug after their set was even better.  Too bad it was pouring rain, thunder storming, and there were announcements of Tornado watches in the area.  Those Darlins had to bail to save their equipment and Adam and I had to save our Matt.

Friday while stuck in a traffic jam on a side road the three of us were quick to see a colossal sized lady selling fruit in once of the random vendors set up on the side of the road.  She sat there stuffed in a lawn chair ever so un-ladylike with her chubby legs wide open for the world to see.  Poking fun at her with closed car windows did not pay off though…karma is a bitch.

Not even five minutes later we were subject to a random car search courtesy of the local drug task force.  As the officer explained how and what they would be doing I am pretty sure that at least 50 pounds of marijuana drove past us.  For being a random car search they sure picked the wrong car.  We had nothing.  Still determined to find a single speck of weed they tore through my CDs looking to see if I hid weed in the CD cases.  I honestly wanted to kick all of them in the asses for being so dumb.

Freedom of choice was a good thing too.  With such a wide span of performaces Matt did his own thing over the weekend and Adam and I cruised the grounds checking out as many sets as we could.  We managed to come across some bands we had never even heard of including Justin Townes Earl (Steve Earl’s son) as well as talk to folk from all over.

I was joking about all the hippies raiding the grounds but to be honest there were music fans of all types filling up the farm.  There were indie kids, country kids, punk rockers, douche bags, and even older folk all there to listen to music and for some to get as hammered as possible, slam down drugs, and make failed attempts at picking up members of the opposite sex.

Say what you want about me, I am not one who does drugs.  I had my fling with them when I was younger and left it at that.  I am not going to judge anyone either for doing them but I was getting a little annoyed at all the wide pupiled, acid dropping, ‘shroom eating, nitrous oxide huffing, ragers bumping into me, asking me where they could score stuff, and even at one time falling on me.  That my friends is another reason why I did not camp there, it’s not my style. Sadly one person never made it home from Bonnaroo.  It was reported that the Bonnaroo cleanup crew found a 20 year old male deceased in a tent.  I am thinking drugs played a part in his death and that my friends is why I do not EFF with that crap.

The entire experience was amazing if not better than when I attended in 2006.  Where else could one go to and see that many bands with some major label artists?  At no moment the entire weekend was I miserable.  I was happy to be a part of the festival and am already planning on next year’s.

All the ladies and their hula hoops were fun to watch.  There is something so hypnotizing about a beautiful Bonnaroo lady and her hula hoop.  I chatted with a girl before the Beastie Boys performance who was telling me how she made hula hoops and sold them at festivals.  That might explain why there was an abundance of hula hoops on the farm.  Novel idea if you ask me…  In fact I just discovered that I sold my Bonnaroo ticket to a great girl who actually makes and sells hula hoops.  Check out her site for more info!

Being a part of 80,000 people is so surreal.  You look around and all you see are people who came to the farm the very same reason you did.  The only way to really experience Bonnaroo is to be there.  I am sure the experience is even more intense when you camp too but again, that is just not me.

The plethora of genres of music kept me going all weekend. Surprisingly I found myself only watching the entire sets of very few artists and instead cutting sets short so that I could see someone else perform.

The weekend was a great success.  We made it to and from without any causalities. I did not want to punch anyone in the face, shocking…  I am actually considering doing it again next year.  I know Matt will be sitting that one out but I am pretty sure Adam is all about coming with.

Now if only I had a hint of what the Bonnaroo 2010 line-up will be??? I am sure it is going to be awesome.