I have finally left Charlotte, and my first proper stay in the Queen City was almost entirely enjoyable. I had some issues with Greyhound and their extreme lack of timeliness, but of course that isn’t Charlotte’s fault.
The reason for my visit to Charlotte was to go to Warped Tour for the first time on July 29th. I have a friend, Taylor, who lives in Monroe, and she offered to let me stay with her for a few days and then we’d go together, which was a great plan, as we enjoy each others company, and it made it possible for me to afford this visit and concert.
For those of you who don’t know what Warped Tour, it’s an American nationwide tour of more than 50 pop/punk and punk rock bands. The entire group of bands travels all over the place, and all of the bands play in one day. At our venue, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, they accommodated the high number of bands by setting up five stages and having each band play a half hour set.
Taylor is a Warped Tour veteran, and she said that our day was the easiest day she’d ever had, and we got to see all of the bands that we really wanted to see. We also escaped what I’d thought was a near certain fate – a deep sunburn. Neither of us, due to most of the bands we wanted to see being under an amphitheater awning as well as vigilance in keeping our sunscreen updated.
I was expecting the high volume of people, but what I wasn’t expecting was how nice nearly everyone we interacted with was. It was hot outside, and if you don’t stay hydrated, it can kick you in the tail later. One of the girls we stood by in the very front of the Go Radio pit started looking really ill, and when the people near her saw it, not only did they offer her water, they also let her out of the press of people as quickly as they could so that she could get to medical attention.
Another incident that sticks out in my mind was during the Forever the Sickest Kids (FTSK) show. One girl had been crowdsurfing, and for some reason, her ear started bleeding. There had been a lot of surfers during this particular set, so the FTSK frontman asked the crowd, seeing if anyone had been hurt. When he found ou that she had, he had the crowd lift her to the front so that she could get out and have her ear seen to. It was really great of both the singer and the crowd, and definitely left me with a positive impression of the entire day.
We saw a bunch of great bands, but I think that my favorite show was The Summer Set. Their new album is fantastic, and the entire band is full of great performers. I don’t think I can explain why I love it, but I adore the thud of the kick drum in my chest. Especially when it’s paired with the thrill that everyone gets when they’re in the pit of a rock show. Put the two together, and you have a very happy Ceillie (and Taylor).
Some of the other bands we saw were Tonight Alive, Anarbor, Action Item, RDGLDGRN (I dare you to take a bet on how you pronounce that), Sleeping With Sirens, Billy Talent, Hands Like Houses and Go Radio.
Go Radio was a really great show, too, and they were one of the only bands I got good photos of, due to the types of cameras they allow in at shows like this. As I mentioned before, the pit crowd was really great, and I even got to meet several of the band members before the show! It was really great!
The ability to meet band members is one of the coolest parts of Warped Tour – if you aren’t familiar with the faces of the band members, they may well be your merch guy, so treat them well! I got a few t-shirts, and a hat (that went to Taylor). I got a Go Radio shirt and one of the blue gradient ‘Off the Wall’ Van’s tanks. I’m quite pleased with both.
Now, Greyhound was great on the way up to Charlotte. It was a very easy trip, and we got there more or less on time as scheduled. The trip back via Greyhound was absolutely horrible. The bus was an hour late the entire trip, and because of this extreme lateness, the transfer that was supposed to pick up more or less half of our bus in Durham left us at the bus station, which is all fine and dandy – except there was no other bus for us to take. The customer service response to our plight was, “You can get a taxi from here, or you can find another ride home.”
Are you kidding me, Greyhound? That was literally the worst customer service I have had in years, and it makes me want to seriously reconsider ever using your service again.
Luckily for me, I have family who lives in Durham, and they were able to pick me up from the bus station and drive me home. Thanks, Bald Eagle! I really appreciate it! All in all, my trip was wonderful, and I’m really glad it happened. I’d do it all over, except maybe I’ll take the train next time.