Without seatbelts and cigarettes shoved into our bag we sped down the highway on our way to the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. “State Avenue west exit,” Tyler kept repeating to Mackenzie. As we neared the west exit Mackenzie see’s the State Avenue east exit and as she’s about to turn into it Ashley and Nicole shout, “WEST!” We swerve out of that lane and I think about if my parents were driving behind her they’d get mad because of her reckless driving that I love.
We walked over to the big blow up billboard with all the set times patched onto it and onto the burning pavement that covered most of the Sandstone amphitheatre’s ground. All I could really feel was my sunscreen covered skin burning underneath the sun. Out of all the days Warped Tour could come to Kansas City they picked today August 2nd, the hottest day of the year, the temperature reaching a staggering 100 degrees with a heat index of 110.
The first thing Mackenzie said when Vic Fuentes, the lead singer of Pierce The Veil, walked up to the microphone after the guy wearing the day of the dead costume completed with a giant sombrero finished his intro was, “They’re cute,” with a smile turning her lips. Pierce The Veil opened with “Besitos,” the first track of their new record Selfish Machines. “Open that pit up!” Vic kept instructing. Each time the pit calmed down Nicole reached out for my hand as we wormed our way to the front. After a few more songs Vic came down into the crowd. Nicole ran to the front to reach at his sweaty arms and I whipped out my camera and followed her. The best part of Pierce The Veil’s set was before they played “Drella” Jaime, Vic, and Tony were working on build up guitars and Mike on drums then the clip of Ludacris’s “How Low Can You Go” soprano voice came in and Jaime, Vic, and Tony raised their guitars all together that read in colored duct tape, “GET FUCKIN’ LOW.” Then the clip ended and the guitars came back in as they headbanged in sync.
You Me At Six walked onto the makeshift Altec Lansing blow-up stage in all their British glory. I was stoked to be seeing them to the extent that I showed up to the stage ten minutes early. I claimed my spot in the front row but I burned like a leaf under a magnifying glass. You Me At Six put on a fair show but sadly the crowd was very, very weak. There was no excitement of a moshpit and I only had to hand up one crowdsurfer. They mostly played songs from their new record Hold Me Down but I was content with jumping around to “Underdog” and echoing Josh on “Stay With Me,” though they did play “Save It For The Bedroom.” I wanted to inhale excitement at the You Me At Six set. I wanted to be pushed against the barricade and have fear I’d get stuck in the pit if I got pushed. I wanted Josh to look at me and sing back to me, something.
Walking away from their set sweat was literally dripping down my legs and the air didn’t seem so hot anymore since there wasn’t so much combined body heat building up. A dizzy head and with queasy stomach, my hands were slippery with sweat and dirt stuck to my fingers from the little valley we would sit in to cool off. I walked over to Tyler and said, “Can I have that water? I feel like I’m gonna pass out.”
I slid down to the burning pavement that had been heating the barricaded sound system and drank what was left of our boiling water.
After visiting the sprinkler showers again I caught the last of VersaEmerge’s set. I left the crowd when Never Shout Never came on to climb the hill and sit in the seats with Tyler as Mackenzie and Ashley left to cool down the car.
Driving home in Mackenzie’s air conditioned car we all complained about how much we smelled and how grimy we felt. Then Tyler said from the passenger’s seat, “I’m as fresh as a fuckin’ daisy.”
I cherish Warped Tour no matter how miserable it can be in the heat because it’s usually my last summer stint. It feels like home, like a giant party. It’s the last something that means anything before I go back to school. So I bought a red Set Your Goals shirt with a picture on the back of Jordan Brown singing to a crowd of kids. It reads lyrics from “The Fallen…” – May I never lose my youth/All of this is too unforgettable.