Friday, July 17, 2009

The Warped Tour Experience

The Goodnight Anthem, featuring my son Tony on guitar and vocals, played at Warped Tour today....

at the Susquehanna Bank Center,

and I was there (as you can see, I found the Greenpeace tent). I got in for free, even got a VIP wristband, because I'm the lead singer's mom and the band's manager is a really nice guy...and it probably didn't hurt that I cooked dinner for them last night.

Took the PATCO high-speed line into New Jersey for the first time. Great mode of transportation! No reason at all to drive to Camden. Besides, parking at the Susquehanna Bank Center costs $20. Round trip from Philly to Camden on PATCO costs $2.50.

Here's The Goodnight Anthem's tent...

and their merch. That's short for merchandise. You can't have a band nowadays without an inventory of sweatshirts and other stuff. We taught this generation well...

I took a vacation day to be there, amid a mass of youthful humanity, with groupies walking about and carrying signs announcing the time and venue (there were 6 stages) of their band. I'd like to say that it brought back memories of band extravaganzas of my youth, but I wasn't into the rock scene too much. The Greenpeace and Warped Eco Initiative tents did remind me of vegetarian and other whole earth festivals I attended. Warped Eco is an outreach effort by Phillipe Cousteau's (grandson of Captain Jacques Coustean) Earth Eco International environmental organization. Made me a bit sad, too. Here we are, some 30 years later, our earth sicker, still trying to get people to change their ways. Clearly, my generation just didn't work hard enough. With "peace, love, and higher consciousness" on our lips, we unconsciously fell prey to the gospel of greed-is-good...

At t-minus 30 minutes until their performance (11:45 am), I made my way into the main amphitheater. TGA would be performing on the SmartPunk stage. While they were setting up on stage right, a ska band called Streetlight Manifesto was playing stage-left, designated as the stage. That's the system for getting so many bands through on a single day, one band sets up stage right while another performs stage left. Very efficient. The ska band had 2 horns, 2 saxes, and a trombone, besides other assorted instruments. The lead singer had his left arm in a sling -- must have tangled with a SmartAlec punk. I enjoyed their driving, brassy energy. I felt every decibel vibrate through my rib cage.

Tony has been dreaming of this day since he first picked up a guitar. I can still remember when he was about 12 trying to persuade us to let him skip summer day camp to go with friends to Warped Tour. I must have asked him to repeat the name of the thing several times. Mom's just don't get it.

Tony's big moment finally arrived. "Hi, how are you all today? We're The Goodnight Anthem!" Fans stood screaming at the foot of the stage, pulsing their hands in the air to the beat of the music. And "Thank you all so much!" and "Give it up for yourselves for being so awesome!" after each song, just like a real entertainer.

20 minutes of dreams come true.

"C'mon, get your hands up!"

From left to right, Joe, Tony, Max, Jimmy

The birth of The Goodnight Anthem (in our basement)

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