L: Relient K // R: The Starting Line (photos: Tom Cheney)
When I was 13, Warped Tour was the mecca of live music for me. I never thought I’d get closer to it than listening to the yearly compilations that were put out, but that changed in 2005 when I somehow found myself at Randall’s Island for what was probably my first rock show in general.
I’m not sure how I ended up scamming my sister into taking me—someone whose music taste never advanced past Sisqo’s Unleash the Dragon (great album, to be fair)—but there we were in the August heat, both of us blissfully unaware of what festival culture had in store for us. Spoiler alert: It involved a lot of dirt and flying water bottles.
Honestly, I only vaguely remember it. It was ridiculously hot (98 degrees, data shows), I waited in a very long line to get Senses Fail’s autograph, and it took 5 showers to clean all the dust off me. My sister was over it when we first got to the parking lot. We left early. I don’t think we even saw a full set. Any photos are long, long gone.
But what I do remember from that day is seeing bits and pieces of the bands that would define my growing-up-ness: Motion City Soundtrack, Relient K, Hawthorne Heights, The Starting Line.
Those are just the ones I know I saw, but looking back at the line-up, I’m sure I definitely had some teenage angst over missing Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. It’s even weirder looking back and seeing bands on the bill that I had no idea existed but, later on, grew to love— the likes of Saosin, Thrice, and MxPx.
The point is, all of those bands I heard that day are still relevant in my life now. Hell, they’re all even active. I might vaguely remember it, but I do fully appreciate it, especially my sister, for letting me have that experience at Randall’s Island in the first place. I can only hope to make my future kids feel the same way someday. Whatever festival it is hopefully, Fall Out Boy is still headlining.
The Tour That Defined Me:
Warped Tour – Randall’s Island (New York, NY) 2005