A Warped Journey

It was a reasonable summer day, the sun wasn’t too warm and the skies were clear, there wasn’t much more you could ask for aside from more room in the small compact car. Inside I was heading to Pittsburgh alongside 4 of my best friends, Eric, Lyle, Tyler and Twinkie (Christian). This was the first time we were all allowed to really travel far away without any parental figure joining us, and so for a couple of 17-to-18-year-old kids it was a big deal. We were traveling to stay the night and explore the city and then wake up early the next day to head to the 2010 Warped Tour, a music tour that travels around the U.S. every year and features a variety of alternative bands. Our group decided that spending the night in the city would be fun and convenient, as bands would start playing around 11 A.M. and we lived 3 hours away. Waking up before 8 A.M. was never fun for teenagers.

The Used taking the stage at Warped Tour, questionable back scrim and all.

As teens out on their own, we were filled with high hopes of adventure and exploration. What we got was a little sketchier. The opening moments of the trip were fairly non-eventful; we made our way onto the road around the early afternoon and would stop for questionable food from a gas station. The biggest danger at this point being whether we would get food poisoning from the breakfast sandwiches or a heart attack from the number of Monster energy drinks we consumed. It was about 2 hours in that this changed entirely. As we entered this small town we noticed no one moving about whatsoever. It was as if the town had disappeared entirely or was abandoned, yet the houses looked new. A little further into the town we saw a single little girl bouncing her ball and as we drove by she just looked at us, then a weird siren went off as though the town fire hall had been alerted about a situation. But no truck or other vehicle seemed to be around. We immediately booked it out of the town, imagining the worst horror movie scenarios playing out.

Our car finally made it toward the city, but not before we got our first introduction to city life. As though we were right on cue, as soon as we passed a Welcome to Pittsburgh sign we were greeted by a number of cops and firemen attempting to remove and lower what looked to be a body bag from the traffic light right at the entrance. We’ve never felt more welcomed. It was shortly after this that we checked into our hotel. It was a small Holiday Inn express that allowed us to be right in the heart of a downtown district, yet it was somehow extremely affordable. Our friend who was 18 at the time then came back and informed us that the room we scored was going to be off the books. For whatever reason, the desk workers didn’t care we weren’t 21 and gave a warning that our friends debit card was on file if anything occurred. Less than 3 hours later we managed to set the hotel room fire alarm off and get a pizza grease stain on the wall. Both of these occurred for questionably less than legal reasons that we won’t delve into. The rest of that trip managed to go on without a hitch though. We wound up successfully going to the show where we nearly died due to dehydration, I refuse to buy a $5 bottle of Aquafina. Our group moshed and screamed together while we watched our favorite bands take the stage, for a single day everything you were worried about in life or upset about was gone and nothing else mattered except that moment you were having with the crowd and this band you listened to for countless hours on your iPod. As an added bonus no of us even got hurt throughout the 8 hour festival, something that’s usually bound to happen when you throw hundreds of angsty teens into a giant clump and let them have at it.

Tyler and I, both looking glamorous post letlive.’s set with Jason Butler, the bands vocalist. Bless my heart for tempting fate with wearing a nose ring in a mosh pit.

Although this was just a 2 day trip, it was incredibly memorable thanks almost wholly to the people I shared it with. With any other group it could’ve been cut and dry, but with the friends I went with at the time it was an adventure I’ll fondly look back at. It’s not always about the journey or destination, sometimes it’s about who you share it with.