All good things must come to an end. Luckily for Michigan punk and ska fans, this good thing came to an end in Pontiac. After trudging around the U.S. for 45 dates, the Vans Warped Tour made its last stop of the summer in southwestern Michigan.
From the start it was obvious that the bands were tired and road-worn, ready to take a break from touring for a bit. However, the sell-out attendance of nearly 15,000 provided ample reason to put on one last good show.
The large lineup of bands, encompassing six stages in all, began at 12:30 p.m. with a set by the ever-raunchy Cool Keith, and ended eight hours later with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Though some bands who were originally scheduled to play did not show, such as Alien Ant Farm who reportedly left the tour for unspecified reasons that may amount to prepping for their upcoming tour with 311, or the fact that they felt slighted that they were delegated to the second stage there was still a gargantuan amount of music on this Tour.
Other groups originally on the bill included New Found Glory and Jimmy Eat World, who also left the tour early to begin prepping for upcoming tours, and rappers D12 and Esham, were forced to leave the tour due to incidents of fighting which broke out during the tour”s Camden, N.J. stop.
Aside from the massive selection of music possible, there were also many other sources of entertainment to choose from. Highly touted Incredibly Strange Wrestling troupe, provided an interesting addition to the musical focus of the tour. Audience members were tossed flour tortillas, which they were allowed to throw at the wrestlers, the announcer or the ref. Warped Tour audiences were also treated to such non-musical entertainment as a local and pro skateboarding competition, dirt and bmx bike stunt racing, as well as multiple merchandise tents representing the numerous bands and record labels in attendance.
Though possibly not a place to hear the most spectacular musical offerings, the Warped Tour provided a small stage for a small group of local bands. The stage was often not well attended, but such groups as Strapped to a Rocket and Lazy American Workers drew steady crowds.
Overall, through all the trash and grime, the possibility for violence but lack thereof, the sight of 15- and 30-year-olds crowdsurfing and the ever-stinging four dollar slice of pizza once you are in the venue, the tour at least the stop in Pontiac was a success. Despite the ability to easily feel overwhelmed during the eight hour experience, it was definitely a well spent $30 or $40.