There's nothing like a concert, seeing a band, and hearing thousands of people screaming the same lyrics. Its an incredible experience, there is literally nothing like it. I learned yesterday that nothing compares to Uproar. Well, that is, if you have a photo and press pass.
From the moment we got there, everything was smooth sailing. It was perfect outdoor concert weather for Florida, a little windy, and not too hot at all. I get up to will call, and get my press pass without any problems, and almost instantly there's a band playing on the Jagermeister stage. It was a contest winner, Soul Switch, and of course, I was instantly in front of the barricade taking pictures.
For a good two hours or so, I went back and forth between the Ernie Ball Stage, and that one just taking pictures. I barely knew any of the songs, but I didn't care, I was in my element. According to my friend that brought me to the show, I walked past him four times like I was on a mission. Its true, I was on a mission.
After taking pictures in front of the barricade for Soul Switch, the other contest winner (who's name I just suddenly forgot, I'll let you guys know if I remember), Within Reason, and Mindset Evolution, I decided to go walk around the merch tents for a while. I ended up buying Candlelight Red's EP and talking with their merch guy about my interview some, and then bought Mindset Evolutions EP, and got to go meet them, and get it and their poster signed.
Mindset evolution impressed me on and off stage. I walk up to their signing, and not only were they thanking everyone for coming out, but the singer saw me and said, "I saw you taking pictures out there of us! Thank you!" I told him there's no need to thank me, its what I live for, and that they were quite impressive live. I hadn't heard them until yesterday, and I told him so, and was blown away.
The energy of the crowd was enough to get anyone going. There were mosh pits that turned into dance pits while singers screamed into microphones, that sort of threw me for a loop, but it was amusing. Out of the smaller stages, I think the one that had the best response, was Deuce.
Everyone responded well to everyone else, but people were crowded around the barricade long before he got on stage, and the second he did they were going bat shit crazy. You would have never guessed he was working the side stages by his performance or responses. I was impressed, though I hadn't expected to be in the least.
I was supposed to interview him right after he got off the stage, and unfortunately ran into a bit of a snag. It wasn't too bad, it was just because the security didn't want to let be behind the barricade to talk to him. He was doing a meet and greet, so I just walked over there and hung out for a bit until I could get a chance to speak with someone. I got the attention of one of the other 9Lives members, Bryan "b.Lay" Lay, and asked him where their manager was. He pointed to her (come to find out, she plays piano for them, and is Deuce's sister) and then asked why. I said to him that I had an interview with Deuce, and needed to talk to her. Deuce heard that and turned around, asking, "What?" I said, "You and I have an interview later." He smiled and responded, "Alright, cool!" I talked to Arina and exchanged numbers so I could keep her posted on what was going on with my other interviews.
I was going to talk to Candlelight Red at 3:45, but when I walked over to their merch tent, the guy walkie talkied them for me, and they ended up being busy until 6pm. That wasn't really a problem, and I had a third interview anyways, so I walked over to Within Reason's tent. Chris (their singer) was standing in there, along with their merch guy. I stood there talking for a minute, and then told him I actually was supposed to have an interview with someone in the band around 4:20. He just looked around and asked if I wanted to do the interview right then, so of course I said yes. That went very smoothly, and I even got David Koonce in on it. He had showed up sometime during the interview, without me even realizing, and Chris brought him in on the conversation when I stumped him with a question about tour stories.
The only bands I didn't actively watch all day were P.O.D, Thousand Foot Crutch, Fozzy, and Staind. Everyone else, I caught at least some of their set, though I could hear everyone playing. I couldn't actually see Redlight King, but that's because they got on right as Deuce got off, and I was looking all around for him. Fozzy got on (and finished, actually) while I was interviewing Chris from Within Reason. He actually had to tell me who was on the stage, because I didn't have a clue.
As soon as I was done with that interview, I texted Arina to tell her I was done with my Within Reason interview. She met up with me, and brought me and a friend back to Deuce's RV. I must say, I was really nervous to interview him. I had heard a lot of misconceptions about him. Some people said he was a sweetheart, others said he was a complete dick. I didn't know what to expect, and he's the first big star I ever got to interview, so that also added to my nerves a bit. He surprised me, a lot actually. He was really cool and down to Earth. He seemed just as amused by me as I was with him. He surprised me a bit too, he actually said he'd love to do a second interview with me next year or something. Whether he'll remember that, who knows, but I might have to consider it if he ever comes back to Florida.
After that, we relaxed in the shade until they started clearing out the field, and getting people to go into the amphitheater for the main stage bands. I wasn't too thrilled with my seat, but that was just because I've gotten spoiled by being up close to the stage. Adelita's Way was awesome, I discovered very quickly that they're better at big venues then they are in a bar.
As soon as they were finished on stage, I had to go out to Candlelight Red's bus. Once again, the security didn't want to let me out there. The merch tents were all shut down, and both of the small stages were as well, and the guy told me they weren't allowed to let anyone out, unless they were leaving the venue. Luckily, Redlight King's tour manager was just walking out, and he was nice enough to call their manager for me, and to bring me out there. Come to find out, they share a bus, and Candlelight Red's manager lives in my hometown.
I was sitting there talking with the tour manager, Rizzo, and the merch guy (who's name I never caught), and suddenly what I thought was a closet opened. Come to find out, it was a bathroom, and someone had been showering. I was sort of baffled by that for a moment. Something else that baffled me was a sound I kept hearing on and off. I kept hearing something that sounded similar to someone sneezing. No joke, the first time I heard it, I nearly said "Bless you" but refrained because nobody else even reacted to the sound.
It was when their singer, Ryan Hoke brought me back to the backroom, and we started doing our interview that I found out what it was. It was an air door, so it makes a weird popping sound when you open it. Their tour manager, Rizzo needed someone's phone so he came in not a minute after we started the interview, grabbed that and left. Ryan told me that they have yet to get through an interview back there without someone coming in. He's convinced that people just do it because they like the sound.
After that interview, I walked back across the street to the venue, as the buses weren't parked at the venue at all. They were in a field across the street. Security guards can be really nice, but also a real pain in the ass too. When I came back into the venue, they started to say no re-entry, but they finally took pity on me and said I could go back in.
Staind was on when I walked in, but they finished not long after I got back in. After Staind was Godsmack, and I must say I was never really into them at all. I liked about two songs, and knew maybe four of them. I just never cared, but seeing them live changed that. Okay, more like hearing them live, because everyone stood up, and I was too tired to for most of their set.
I got a sudden burst of energy when Shinedown got on though. They were the only band there that I actually knew all the words to their songs, and had the energy to sing along with. I knew a couple songs here and there from most of the bands, and all of Adelita's Way, but I had no energy right then to actually sing along much.
Seeing Shinedown for the second time, and the crowd's reaction to them just once again reminded me of the power music has. They played their cover of "Simple Man", which had the attention of nearly everyone in the amphitheater. There's truly nothing like hearing 10,000 people screaming the same lyrics, right along with the singer. Its just....incredible. Words can't really describe it.
Yesterday was probably one of the best experiences of my life, and I will never forget it. Thank you to all that made it possible. I'm truly honored by the things I got to do yesterday, and by the thought of it not being a once in a lifetime deal. The thought that I'll get to do just that all over again some other time, excites me to no end.
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