Farewell, Warped Tour

The first time I attended the Warped Tour, I was 15 years old and hadn’t gone to many concerts.

Music (especially music with meaningful lyrics) has always been a huge part of my life, but it wasn’t until high school that I discovered the magic of live music and, along with it, the magic of Warped Tour.

For those who are unfamiliar, Warped Tour is a two-day concert stacked with the most popular bands in rock, punk, emo, screamo, etc. They tour around the country every summer; or, at least they did until 2018.

Last summer was the final full cross-country tour, and this year they had an anniversary show in just three cities, celebrating their 25-year run.

I was lucky enough that one of those cities was close by, and so this past weekend I had the privilege of attending my fifth and final Warped Tour.

When I was a teenager, I loved this show because I got to see all of my favorite bands in one place, and I got to spend the entire day running around between stages, vendor stands, and all of the other cool activities they had there.

I also loved it because it was one of the only places that I truly felt like myself.

I might’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I didn’t have a great relationship with myself as I was growing up.

I did enjoy high school and have plenty of friends, but my taste in music, art, clothing, and a lot of other things, was always just slightly off compared with what was trendy or popular at the time.

I didn’t mind that a lot of people thought my music preference was weird; I still found the lyrics meaningful and the instruments exciting.

One thing a lot of people don’t realize about hardcore or alternative music is that the lyrics are often very deep and poetic, and that has always been the main thing that made me feel at home while listening to it.

I think it’s safe to assume that every teenager has to deal with heartbreak, self-consciousness, and anxiety for one reason or another. As a very emotional person and an artist deep down, I was certainly no exception to this.

But when I was at Warped, I not only felt that I could truly be myself and be accepted for it, I saw so many other people outright celebrating whatever it was that made them unique.

I found companionship in absolute strangers as we both screamed out lyrics about loss and hardship right next to one another, knowing that we would never speak of it but that we both were clearly going through similar things.

I found encouragement and inspiration in so many of the band members who would hang out at their merch booths right in the middle of the venue, more than happy to engage in conversation with random fans such as myself.

I found joy in letting loose and dancing to the music, having my body thrown into the air and trusting that the sturdy hands of the crowd would catch me and keep me high above it all. Yes, I, a fashion blogger, am talking about my deep love for crowd surfing.

When I think about my teenage years, I almost always think of Warped Tour and the summer days I spent there. I think of the music that made me who I am; music that still makes up about 90% of my current iTunes library.

It’s so interesting how things like music, books, and movies can seamlessly connect our past to our present. All I have to do is put my phone on shuffle and chances are that an old Silverstein, Finch, or New Found Glory jam will bring me right back to being 17 again.

Those are the obvious reasons why this past weekend meant so much to me. But the most special part of the whole weekend, and the part I hadn’t thought about too much beforehand, was getting to experience it with my husband.

Sometimes it’s freaky how similar Joe and I are. It’s no surprise that we had a lot of the same interests growing up, even though we didn’t meet until he was 24 and I was 25.

We were both equally pumped when we saw the lineup for the Warped Tour 25th Anniversary, and knew we had to make it happen.

I’ve said many times since we got engaged and then married how I wish I could go back in time and relive my teenage years with my husband by my side.

I know that we both had to have certain experiences and get further along in life before we could become the perfect match we are today, but I think of those times and how much I longed for true love and the right person to share it with, and I just wish 16-year-old Laura could have known how perfect of a guy she would actually find.

Revisiting one of my favorite teenage experiences with the love of my life was such a gift. There’s no other way I can describe it.

Standing in the crowds, feeling his arms around me as I listened to my old favorite songs live was something I never imagined doing, but even if I had I could never have known how wonderful it would be.

As we danced around to “I’d Do Anything” by Simple Plan on Saturday afternoon, I recalled hearing it play at a middle school dance but holding back from getting on the floor because I was too afraid what people would think of me.

When The Used played “I Caught Fire” on Sunday I thought of how it almost became our wedding song, but also of how, 15 years ago, I watched my crush play it on guitar for another girl and wondered if anyone would ever feel that way about me.

We ended our night rocking out with Blink-182 (sans Tom, plus Matt) and when “Going Away to College” started, all I could do was smile from ear to ear and think back to being 12 years old, sitting on top of the bunk bed I shared with my sister, and playing the song over and over, daydreaming about what true love actually felt like.

I always knew those songs would stay a part of my life, but I never thought I would get to listen to them knowing I had finally found everything they inspired me to search for.

For me, this weekend was a celebration of the music that helped me through tough times, that inspired me to be a better version of myself.

It was a tribute to some amazingly talented artists, and to being connected with 30,000 strangers, all head-banging their problems away in unison.

And, most importantly, it was look back at who I used to be, who I’ve become, and all that I was able to accomplish. It was my tangible, undeniable reward for never giving up on myself or my desire to find real love.

I will forever be grateful for all of the memories I made at Warped Tour, but especially for the ones of this past weekend.

These bands, their words, and the feelings they evoke in me will always be in my heart. And, most likely, blaring out of my car speakers. ❤ 🙂

lifestyle, music

10 Random Songs from my Music Library

Hey everyone,

It’s day 10 of my April blogging challenge, so I’m going to share 10 random songs from my music library!

I like a lot of different kinds of music, and most of the songs on my phone are from when I was in high school/college, so hopefully a good variety is represented here.

I’m going to put my music on shuffle, write out the first 10 songs that play, and a little bit of background on the song (or band), including a memory that it ties back to for me.

Here we go; I’m writing this in real time so I’ll share whatever comes to mind as the songs play.

I Have You to Thank – Gavin DeGraw

I listened to a lot of Gavin in college, so this song takes me right back.

The lyrics to this song are really sweet, and I’m very much one of those people who judges a song by its lyrics (my husband, for example, cares mostly about the melody and doesn’t even know the words to many of his favorite songs, which blows my mind).

I’ve also always been a huge fan of the show One Tree Hill, so anything by Gavin reminds me of that show’s theme song and the years I spent hearing it introducing (almost) every episode.

2nd Sucks – A Day to Remember

I LOVE this song. I’m a big fan of screamo, and this song hits hard right from the beginning.

The lyrics to this one are definitely more aggressive, but they’re also smart and I love listening to this song when I’m working out or even if I’m just in a bad mood and need to let off some steam.

A favorite lyrics from this one is: “Can’t waste my time on hateful people like you / So keep wishing you were me and I’ll keep making you have to.

You Belong with Me – Taylor Swift

I’ve probably said it 20 times by now in various posts, but Taylor Swift is one of my favorite artists ever.

I’m one of those annoying people who is absolutely obsessed with her and everything she does, and while most of my favorite songs by her are the lesser-known ones, I can’t deny the catchiness of this classic.

Every time I hear this song I just want to dance around to it, as I have so many times before.

One More Won’t Hurt – Houston Calls

This song brings me right back to senior year of high school, when I used to listen to it all the time.

I don’t get as excited by it anymore, probably because I’ve heard it hundreds of times by now, but I had a great time seeing and meeting Houston Calls back when I was 17, so this song still brings back positive memories for me.

I’m Not Okay – My Chemical Romance

I told you a lot of my songs were older. This is a classic late 2000’s song and, again, is a pleasant reminder of high school days.

I remember listening to this entire album while visiting my cousin in Boston years ago, so hearing this song also reminds me of Massachusetts and my family.

The Story Left Untold – Every Avenue

This song reminds me of dating in my early 20’s and all of the drama that came with it.

The song doesn’t evoke memories of any specific person, but more of the overall apathetic attitude that guys at that age tend to have, and the less-than-desirable way that they tend to treat girls at that time. (Or at least, they did when I was that age.)

Today I am happily married and in love, but I spent my fair share of time chasing after guys who weren’t worth my time, who liked to play games, or who didn’t know what they wanted.

I remember walking around my college campus singing this song with one of my friends, wondering when I would find the right person for me.

I had to wait a few years to actually find him, but he ended up being well worth the wait. 😉

Up All Night – Blink 182

Blink is another all-time favorite for me. I’ve loved this band since I was 12 years old and even though they aren’t together anymore (sorry Matt Skiba, but Blink just isn’t Blink anymore without Tom), I’ll always love them and their music.

Up All Night is from the last full album Mark, Tom, and Travis made together and, like most of the other songs on this album, it’s great.

This song reminds me of the excitement I felt at getting new music from my favorite band, who had broken up for years and then gotten back together to make this album, and it makes me feel a little sad to know that there probably won’t be any more where it came from.

In all fairness, I do like the new album that Mark, Travis, and Matt put out, but seeing them living singing old songs without Tom’s voice just wasn’t the same for me, and their new music is missing part of that trademarked sound that the real Blink 182 always had.

Break Myself – Something Corporate

This was the first Something Corporate song that I remember hearing, and it’s definitely part of what made me fall in love with the band.

I was probably at the end of middle school when I first heard this one, so it reminds me of those, much simpler, times.

I also had the great pleasure of meeting Something Corporate front-man Andrew McMahon just 2 months ago, so any Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin, or Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (the three bands he’s headed up over the years) automatically makes me smile and remember that amazing meet and greet back in February.

For those who aren’t familiar with Andrew, he’s an amazing songwriter and a 2x leukemia survivor. He started the Dear Jack foundation and does amazing things to help young people whoa re fighting for or recovering from cancer.

I have always idolized Andrew as a writer, and getting to tell him how much his words meant to me this year was something I’d been dreaming about for a long time.

I’m so glad I got to meet him in person and will probably always remember that moment when I hear any of his songs.

Getting Into You – Relient K

Relient K has a lot of really great songs that are subtly religious.

As a Catholic, I really enjoy the messages behind their songs and how honest they are about every part of being a believer.

This sounds like a love song when you first listen to it, but then when you look a little closer at the lyrics you can see that it’s not about a romantic relationship, but about one with God.

One of my favorite lines from the song is: “You say, ‘I love you and that’s what you are getting yourself into’…I’m going to love you with my life.”

Hands on You – Florida Georgia Line

A few years ago I went on a country music concert cruise; it’s basically a cruise you can go on with a bunch of different country music acts, and it is awesome.

Throughout the cruise there were concerts on the ship happening all day and night; Florida George Line were headlining, so they did three separate performances, including an intimate acoustic set.

I’m a huge fan of this duo, so getting to see them play so many times, and in such close proximity, was a lot of fun.

I still remember them playing this song, among many others, while one of my best friends and I watched from the top deck of the ship.

The cruise was basically a week-long music festival, and every person who attended got to meet FGL, which was kind of the icing on top of the cake for me.

Those are my 10 songs! I think we got a good variety of music in there, and a nice range of sentimental stories as well.

I’ve got a challenge for you: Put your music on shuffle right now and comment below with the first song that comes on.

What does the song mean to you, or what does it bring you back to when you hear it?

I’m always amazed by how much music is woven into my memories and the different parts of my life.

Music and lyrics have always meant a lot to me, and there are certain songs that just make me feel comforted, or motivated, or remind me of really hard times that I’ve gotten through.

It’s fun putting on old songs and seeing what they stir up in you, and I really enjoyed this post.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my day 11 post! 🙂 ❤