The Same but Different: The 2012 Vans Warped Tour at Reliant Center
"I couldn't wait for the summer and the Warped Tour," sang Blink-182, echoing many of my own thoughts as the school year would come to a close. I'm not a hot-weather person, but for a few years at the end of the '90s and the start of the '00s I looked forward to the Warped Tour as much as I did Halloween and Christmas.
Photos by Cory Garcia The inflatable wall of information.
A bad case of "Cory spends too much time in the sun and gets sick" a few years back has had me away from the summer festival scene for a while, but after living through Summer Fest I felt like it was time to face my fear and visit Warped once again.
I woke up early on Sunday, grabbed a camera, and like so many others braved the rain for a few hours to see what's new at my favorite summer tradition and what hasn't changed.
If you're wondering if Sunday's lingering rain had any effect on the crowd, the simple answer is no. People might have spent a little more time looking for shelter and a little more time under blankets instead of sitting on top of them, but when it came time to watch the bands the crowd was in to it.
The line to get in and the line to buy tickets were both down the street by the time the first acts started hitting the stage, and from where I was standing outside the venue you could already hear the crowd screaming in approval for Sleeping With Sirens.
The crowd was the general mixture of types that you'd expect from these shows: some in all black, some mostly naked and covered in paint, people in costume (2 Spidermen, 1 Waldo, and what I believe was the same Pink Ranger from Summer Fest), people in neon, the bald, the Mohawked, the pierced, and the inked.
All of them, no matter the outfit, navigated the often confusing labyrinth of stages, vendors, and merch booths trying to catch everything. At the start of the day making your way through the fest wasn't a big deal, but as more people arrived and more bands started to do signings moving in the merch area became increasing difficult.
It's great that so many bands make time to meet their fans, but I've always wondered if there isn't a more efficient way of doing so.