My daughters and I waited for over 2 months for the "Warped Tour" to come to Detroit. So many bands, so many stages, so many new faces in the music business. One daughter was waiting to see Paramore again, (I promise you they will be a major act soon!), the other wanted to see Chiodos, (Chee-ode-os), a sorta local act from Davison, Michigan, who is gaining fans, and I was very much looking forward to seeing Killswitch Engage. We were not disappointed with the performance of these bands, but rather the execution of the entire day.
When we arrived at 11:00 a.m., it was still relatively cool and the bands were just starting to play. We passed a tiny local stage, where bands not on the tour but invited to play were located, and headed toward the larger stages to find out what bands were playing when. There began the first problem. There were no signs or information to let fans know when and where their bands were to perform. The only way to receive such information was to text to a site and receive it via your cell phone. Although this is a cute way to make the tour seem more hip and up to date in technology, it is also a great way for them to make more money, which I was not willing to spend. Our alternative way worked somewhat; we decided to go to each artists' merchandise tent to inquire when and where they were to be at. Finally, we were able to lock in some sort of schedule.
Since the major acts we wanted to see were to perform much later, we wandered about to check out those bands lesser known. This proved to be the most fun of the entire day. JigGsaw posed for pictures with the girls, and The Rocket Summer had a powerful act and later signed autographs at one of the many booths at the fair. We were having a pretty good time, then the major acts took to the main stage. So long good time, hello heat stroke and blood!
I have been to other general admission shows, having seen Bloodhound Gang, Green Day, Alanis Morissette, Three Doors Down and Paramore without seating. Never had a problem moving about and even went "moshing" at a couple of them. Easy in, easy out. Fans moved toward the front for a bit, then wandered back to where it was less lively to rest, returning if they desired. No one crushed anyone else, although the mosh pit is always a volatile place, but the main bunch of fans just kept milling about. Not the case during the Warped Tour.
For the rest of the day, from Red Jumpsuit Apparatus all the way through Chiodos, we heard the concert but did not see a thing. My daughters even made it toward the front of the mob for Paramore, but were squeezed out and never got to see their idols, being saved by the body guards positioned at the front. Even jumping up and down now and again proved futile. I understand that we are a short family, all being about 5 foot 2 inches in shoes, but I haven't had such a negative experience in my entire 30 years of concert going. I don't know if the stage was too low or what, but we were all very disappointed. I could've listened to their songs for the price of their CD on my ipod without paying for the gas, the tickets, the food and the beverages.
To top this off, our disappointment was coupled with the ever climbing heat index, which is another story. Limited shelter and outrageously priced water was the norm. I caught one kid as he fell over from the heat and there was not one first aid tent anywhere! I was finally able to get one of the hired security guards to call for police to get the kid some help, but it was quite an effort. Okay, definitely NOT having fun!
The piece de resitance was when we were actually able to see one of the smaller bands on a stage poorly placed about 10 feet from one of the main stages. I assumed, (okay, I know what assuming does!), that they would have timed these performances so they didn't overlap. I was sooo wrong. After about 15 minutes of performing, the less known band was completely drowned out by an act starting on the main stage. I have no clue how the musicians could even hear themselves play and have to give them credit for continuing their set! Now I know I don't make the big bucks, but perhaps the stages should have been further apart or better timed? Somebody needs a write-up in their file for this one!
All in all we did get some experience about these types of performances, and will never waste our money again on such an event. It's a shame because the Tour seems like a good way to hear newer music and promote these bands, but whoever is in charge of planning these events needs to be replaced with someone with half a brain, hey, I'm up for the job!