Fans came out rain or shine to this sold out show. The venue was packed 21,000 people to be exact. The lines were long and the wait to get in ran late because there were so many people. For 24 years Warped has been the longest running musical festival, and people were ready and willing to get wet, muddy and just wanted to be a part of the last one. The weather for the day was pretty spotty. It rained on and off all day. I was prepared to stick it out. I unfortunately started off my day with dropping my lens from my hands being so wet. So I sucked it up and had to use a lens that I rarely use. My day didn’t start off too great, but I was ready to rock and roll. This was the last Warped Tour and I was all in! On to the agenda…
First on the agenda was taking a look at the schedule to see who was playing what stage and at what times. All of the shows were moved by 25-30 minutes because of the rain. The time slots were up, but the new times were not. They were great at letting everyone know that there were rain delays of 25-30 minutes. No big deal.
First up was The Maine. The band came out with their red pants and red shirts on, and they were ready to rock. The Maine never disappoints. They always interact with their fans, and this was no different. During the show John had a guy from the audience come on stage and help him sing “Girls Do What They Want.” The rain stopped and the sun came out, so it was perfect timing. The crowd was pumped up as usual, and the band was full of energy and rocked the house. They talked about their past tours and that they would be out there meeting fans after their set. The Maine is one band that is truly all about the fans. The show was great and as usual they didn’t disappoint. One thing I know about this band is they never, ever feel that the people who come to their shows should ever have to pay to meet them. Very few bands do that anymore. Kudos to them!
Next up was As It Is. The band was promoting an upcoming album called The Great Depression. Patty Walters changed his appearance, which was a bit surprising at first. The once looking pop punk kid was now resembling Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. He totally pulled it off, though. The guys were definitely up beat and ready to rock out this festival. Patty never lost energy the whole set. I think he must have replaced his water with actual Monster Energy drinks because he had so much energy! The sun managed to stay out for a bit longer, which I was grateful for. These guys are a must see.
I didn’t get to the amphitheater in time to shoot all of State Champs because of the rain and the crowd. The theater was jammed packed. I was able to squeeze in the crowd and shoot a couple of shots in the pit. The weather did not cooperate at all. As usual, it was a full stadium for State Champs, and I would not expect anything less! The crowd filled the place to the limit. I stayed and listened to “Slow Burn” and “Elevated.” The band really knows its fans, and Derek DiScanio really knows how to get them going! They are touring with Blink 182 soon. I hope to catch them again! They have moved up the charts, and I would keep an eye out for them.
On my way out of the amphitheater, I stopped over at the Full Sail stage to check out Tatiana Demaria. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. She was totally rocking it and played a mean guitar. Her vocals were raspy and I loved it. She has a tone that was old school punk rock. I see this band going places. If she were to come back to Chicago, I would totally go see them!
It started pouring again so I hurried over to see 3OH!3. The place was completely overcrowded. It was all the kids who listened to them back in the early 2000s and were now in their 20s. They played hits such as “My First Kiss,” “Don’t Trust Me,” and “Star Struck.” The whole audience knew all the words, and I was grateful to see them, even though I didn’t make it in the pit. The barricade for the pit had to be fixed because it was knocked over from the prior band. I enjoyed listening to all their songs, which included some top hits. They still have it and the crowd loved it! They had so much energy I couldn’t keep up with them. They still have it going strong for sure!
I have to say that even with the rain, the delays of setting up and tearing down, and with Mother Nature not cooperating, the bands and the fans seem to take it in stride. I thought the crowd would thin out because of the rain, but everyone wanted to be a part of the last Warped Tour.
Bowling for Soup was up next. The Band played 3 of my favorite songs, “Stacey’s Mom,” “Almost,” and “Punk Rock 101.” The crowd was packed, and no one skipped a beat with the songs. Young and old, everyone knew the lyrics. They came out and talked about how they specifically were excited to be a part of the last Warped Tour and glad to be in Chicago. They were as good as they were in the 1990’s. Moves, grooves, and musically. They may have thought “Stacy’s Mom” had it going on but tonight they had it going on. If you have never seen them I highly suggest it!
Next up was Tonight Alive. I have seen them perform a few times. I can say each and every time they kill it! Jenna talked to the audience about herself and how she wants each and every person to try to be who they are and embrace themselves, and this time was no different. Mid-stream in the concert, she had everyone take a deep breath to de-stress, and then had them do it again and think about relaxing and enjoying themselves. She is a very spiritual soul. One of the things I love about her is her love for finding herself and trying what works for her. She shares her experience and has opened up about things in her life. I can say she cares about her fans and learns from them too.
Next to get to was over to the Owly Fm stage to check out the band Capstan. Funny story, every time they have come to Chicago I have been in Florida, which is their home state. So to finally see them was great! They played a few songs that I really liked, including “Bury Your Bones,” “Wax Poetic,” and “Elysian Fields.” Out of all of my years going to concerts and shooting shows, I have to say that Capstan is one of the most energetic and heartfelt bands out there. You can see and hear every ounce of emotion that goes into their songs while they perform. It was truly a great experience, and I highly suggest checking these guys out next time they come to your city.
The weather didn’t cooperate, and I wasn’t able to shoot all the bands I wanted (and broke my lens), but I was still happy to be a part of this farewell. I still ended up soaking wet, but to me it was everything.
Thanks to Kevin Lyman for bringing your hard work, energy, and doing this for all the fans and the music industry. Everyone might have an opinion on what should have been or shouldn’t have been, but in the end where could you go see 50-75 bands in a day for under a $100.00?! I know it takes a lot of time, hard work, and making sure things run smoothly. I also know that if it wasn’t for Warped Tour, I would have never figured out how much I love photography. One thing I missed was saying good-bye to Lisa Johnson, the rock star herself behind the camera.
Who knows what will happen in the future? Next year would be Warped Tour’s 25th anniversary, and I think Kevin Lyman might have something up his sleeve. Maybe a few cities!? We shall see. In the meantime it’s been a slice and Warped will always remain in a special place in my heart. It brought out the artist in me, and that is something I will never forget!
Words and Photos by Diane Marie