Last Monday, 28 July, I took the day off to go to a concert. I don’t think I have ever gotten to do that before, but after enduring this spring at work, I decided that it was deserved. Jenna, who is Matt’s girlfriend, and I decided to head down to Warped Tour at Raceway Park in Old Bridge Township, NJ for the day.
It started off pretty slowly, as days like this tend to. We had agreed that I would spend the night before at Jenna’s house, since Dave and I currently only have one car, and he would need it to get to work that day. I packed a bag and took it with me to Sunday night car club, feeling silly but also excited for our “sleepover”, but after an hour or so, Jenna and Matt still hadn't shown up. I finally texted Matt to see where they were, and was told they were too tired to come out, and Jenna would just pick me up in the morning. I was a bit upset that the plans were changed, without anyone even calling me, but it was actually better getting to sleep in my own bed.
The following morning, I got up around eight o’clock, showered, and hung out with the puppies and a guitar, waiting for Jenna to arrive. She was supposed to be there by ten, so I wasn't surprised when the phone rang at 9:45. Apparently, she had tried to follow her navigation to get to my house, but had punched in the right address in the wrong town. I corrected the information, and, after a couple more phone calls, she was able to find our house. I hopped in the car, and she said, “I just realized that I forgot my ticket. We have to go back to my house.” Not a big deal; her house is a few towns south, and that’s the way we were headed anyway. So, back to Jenna’s house to pick up the ticket. Then, she was starving, and I needed cash, so we stopped in town. I hit the ATM while she ran into the bagel store, but, of course, the ATM was broken. She grabbed her bagel and got both of us some coffee, then we found a drive through ATM for me. As we tried to leave town, the train came through, and we got stuck waiting at the crossing. That was when Jenna opened up her bagel and found out it was completely wrong. Already fed up with all of the snags we’d hit so far, we quickly stopped for gas, jumped on the Garden State Parkway, and were finally on our way.
The ride down was uneventful, and we didn't hit any traffic until we were about ten minutes from the venue. Even then, it wasn't so bad, and we made it there in decent time. We parked on the grassy area to the left of the entrance road, and were stopped by someone promoting their band before we had even gotten all of our stuff out of the car. The band, Dose of Adolescence, was traveling with Warped Tour trying to get their name out. We chatted with Austin (lead guitar), and briefly listened to a sample of their music, but were impatient to get inside. I liked the music enough, and wanted to support the band a bit, that I bought a CD off him for $5, tossed it in the car, and in we went. I had never been to Raceway Park for anything other than racing, so it was a weird experience for me. The pit area was filled with seven stages, vendor booths, and food. There was a huge board with the entire schedule posted on it, and a beer garden at the observation tower near the finish line.
Our first stop was the bathroom, of course! Then we waited near there for Jenna’s friend Chrissy, who had driven up from Philadelphia and still got there two hours before we did. After an excited reunion (Jenna has recently lost a lot of weight and Chrissy had not yet seen the new her), we wandered around the stages for a bit, then checked out the schedule to make sure we saw who we wanted to. I was pretty much indifferent; when it comes to live music, I’ll watch anything, anytime (see: trip to OK last month w/ country karaoke). The bands Chrissy and Jenna were interested in seeing weren't on until late afternoon, so we headed over to the beer garden to cool down in the shade. We ended up staying there for quite a while, listening to whatever bands were playing on the nearest stage. Then Chrissy mentioned wanting to crowd surf for the first time, so I dragged them all down to watch the closest band, Story of the Year. We got right into the crowd, pushing up towards the front. Chrissy got in her crowd surfing, Jenna got her sunglasses hit into her face and ended up with a black eye, and somebody yanked out one of my earrings. So, it was just like all of the other shows I've been to this year, but outside on a hot day with tons of shirtless guys sweating all over us.
When they finished up, it was back to the bathroom to clean up some of the makeup and sweat all over our faces. Then we grabbed some munchies for Chrissie, and went back up to the beer garden for a while. It was nice being able to relax up there in the shade, and still listen to some of the bands. Finally, I needed to hit the bathroom again, and had run out of cigarettes, so I separated from them and wandered around for a bit by myself. I checked out all of the stages, and listened to a bunch of bands, most of which I never did find out the names of. I caught a few minutes of Gym Class Heroes, then met up with Jenna and Chrissy again. Jenna really wanted to watch Anberlin, so we headed into that crowd and rocked out with them. Reel Big Fish was following on the same stage, so we pushed up to the rail and waited for them, agreeing to stick around for just a few minutes before going home. Once they came on, we all went pretty crazy, and there was no way we were leaving. Chrissy got in another round of crow surfing, managing to nearly kick Jenna in the head on her way over. Jenna got hit in the mouth somehow, and ended up with a swollen lip to match her black eye. They closed the show with their cover of A-ha’s “Take On Me”, which is mine and Matt’s song. Reel Big Fish made our day!