What started off as a day that many fans expected to be full of joyous moments, ended in sadness for some. Just two short hours into the Vans Warped Tour festival of 2012 in Toronto on July 15th, a female fan suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Bystanders tried to revive her with CPR, but none of them were successful. She was taken to a hospital and died later in the day. The incident took place during Chelsea Grin's set at the Monster Energy stage, which was immediately shut down for the day.
Now, starting from the beginning of my day, when I arrived there and got through the gates, Chelsea Grin was the first band that I planned to see. I was near the area where the incident occurred, but I had no idea what had happened. Security guards were telling everyone to clear a path for an ambulence, and that's when I knew something had gone amiss.
The Ghost Inside was supposed to follow, but because of the stage being shut down, their set time was unknown as well as the stage they were going to play on. While I waited to be kept up to date with their set information, I watched a local band, Dancing With Paris. They put on a really good show, and for a band that was on the Ernie Ball stage (usually used for local/lesser known bands), they drew a great crowd and made the fans move around exceptionally well.
Next, I saw After the Burial. This was the fourth time I had seen them, and even without one of their guitarists (Trent forgot his passport), they put on one of the best sets of the day that I witnessed. All of the songs that they played were very clean and tight and really got the crowd into it. The highlight of their set was "Berzerker". However, following "Berzerker" was the low point of the day, the torrential rain.
(The sea of people, just minutes before the rain started to come down)
For over an hour and a half, rain was coming down in buckets and things were not looking very good. All performances were postponed, merchandise tents were being taken down, and fans were being directed to the amphitheater for shelter-which actually failed to bring shelter to at least one quarter of the people there.
When the rain finally subsided, I had to try to find a new schedule. After searching for twenty minutes or so to no avail, I decided to go around to each merch tent to see what the note on the dry-erase boards said. I managed to create my own schedule and finished just in time to see Vanna. Their entire set was impressive and they displayed so much energy which caused the crowd to get energized, too. During their final song, "Trashmouth", the vocalist of Liferuiner came on stage to do guest vocals.
After seeing Vanna, I stayed at the Tilly stage to watch Senses Fail. I was never a huge fan of Senses Fail, but there are two songs that I've always liked a lot since I first heard them and they played both of them today. The aforementioned songs were "Can't Be Saved" and "Calling All Cars". Even though Senses Fail put on a very good show and seemed to please the crowd quite a bit, that was personally my least favourite set of the day.
Next up was Man Overboard, another band playing on the Tilly stage. This was my first time seeing Man Overboard, so I didn't know what to expect, although I did have pretty high hopes. Thankfully, Man Overboard reached-if not exceeded my expectations. They opened up the set with the first track off their self-titled album, "Rare". This got the crowd into it and for the next few songs, everyone seemed thrilled. However, Man Overboard took it to the next level when they closed their set with "Dead End Dreams", "Montrose", and "Love Your Friends, Die Laughing". After they finished their set, Nik tossed his pic into the crowd and yours truly managed to pick it up!
(A blurry snapshot of the aforementioned treasury)
After Man Overboard, I saw another one of my favourite pop punk bands, Fireworks. Similar to Man Overboard, this was the first time that I saw Fireworks, and again, I was more than pleased with this first time. As the set went on, both the crowd and Fireworks seemed to be getting more comfortable with each other, and by the time the set came to a close with "Detroit", everyone was singing along. I had such a fun time, however, the highlight of my day was next.
As previously mentioned, The Ghost Inside was supposed to play after Chelsea Grin, but the Monster Energy stage was closed after the tragedy during Chelsea Grin's set. Initially, well, after the closing of the stage, The Ghost Inside was supposed to play around 5 PM. However, because of the rain, their set time was changed again. Finally, around 8:30, fans were ready to see this powerhouse of a band perform. The set began with a soundclip from Anchorman with Ron Burgundy shouting out "Cannonball!" which then flowed into "Unspoken". All of the gang chants heard during their set, "Give it all, give it all, give it all", "I'll see you when the sun sets", "I am not afraid", and "What do you stand for?" were extremely loud because the crowd was so into it. Being the third time I had seen The Ghost Inside, this was the most impressive performance even though they only had time for five songs. Their final song was "Between the Lines" and Chris from Motionless In White came on stage to do the guest vocals which are done by Brendan from Betrayal on the studio version of the song. After helping with the vocals, Chris and Vigil (The Ghost Inside's vocalist) gave each other a heartwarming bro-hug. I thought that was a nice touch to an already perfect set.
Seconds after The Ghost Inside finished their set, Every Time I Die began to play on the stage just a few feet away (actually, they were probably about 100 feet apart). To me, Every Time I Die is similar to Senses Fail in the way that I have never been a huge fan of their music, or even given them much of a chance. After seeing Every Time I Die's set tonight, I think that has changed. They had a really good sound and were full of energy for the entire 25 minutes that they played.
The final band of the day, or night, was Motionless In White. Right from the get-go, they sounded great and just as good as they do on studio recordings. The crowd was really into Motionless In White's set, and from the nine or ten bands that I saw, the crowd during Motionless In White was the second most interactive (The Ghost Inside's crowd was the most). Motionless In White played a few songs off of Creatures then played a new song from their upcoming album, Infamous. From what I heard, Infamous sounds like it will be another very impressive metalcore album and I cannot wait until it is released in October!
Despite being soaked for the majority of the day and evening, this was probably the most fun I have had at a concert/show/festival in my whole life. All of the bands that I saw were either really good or perfect, the others attending this Warped date seemed to be very friendly, for the most part, and I was fortunate enough to see most of the bands that I planned on seeing, so I didn't have much of an empty feeling when I left. If you haven't yet, I recommend going to your local Warped date, whether it be this year or next.