Everyone knows Warped Tour is the concert to attend in summertime, but an outdoor event poses a difficult problem for some people who admire the versatility of the show. For instance, germaphobes across the world may want to attend the musical jambalaya if not for the dirt, sweat and generally unhygienic state of outdoor concerts. Let’s not forget the kids who are dying to partake in an eclectic musical feast but whose parents forbid that type of thing.
Luckily, the founder of Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman, brings a solution for anyone unwilling or unable to rock out in person. As a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Warped Tour, the crew produced a video of the 2009 tour with backstage clips and interviews aplenty. The first of its kind for this tour, the video has several qualities that allow the audience to feel as though they are really experiencing the show live, minus the germs, jolting, sweat, foot soreness and body odor. The music still screams out of the speakers all around the theater and the lights entering your pupils from the screen still temporarily blind you. The audience was involved, too, as one would expect from a live audience: dancing, cheering, clapping, booing and laughing were all noises that alternated from band to band. Considering the nature of the tour, where all different types and styles of bands perform, there are bound to be people who disagree with a particular music selection, and the hecklers stood up and made their presence known as if a teacher were calling roll.
Enjoying a show is 90 percent about the stimulation of the five senses and 10 percent about the quality of live music. When two of those senses, touch and smell, are removed or nearly eliminated, the concert experience becomes a completely new idea. Watching a concert on a screen means noticing at the end of the night you are not covered in someone else’s sweat. That your nostrils are not cringing every time you pass someone whose deodorant wore off or who simply forgot to put it on in the first place. Your feet, whether in heels or flat shoes, are not numb from going through so many stages of pain that you cannot feel them anymore. Instead, the theater provides this new type of audience with comfortable chairs, clean facilities, a spacious atmosphere and a fairly odorless room, except for the ever-present hint of popcorn. The most noticeable change though, is in excitement and feel of the audience. Because we are one step removed from the original, we are therefore one step removed from the hype and frenzy of being at a live show. No one crowd-surfed, no one shoved others to get to the front, and no one ran in a circle “dancing” by way of pushing the nearest person whilst running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Because you are watching these things happen on screen and not right next to you, the whole spectacle takes on a hysterical circus vibe. Therefore, we as the theater audience receive the added bonus of getting to laugh at other people and listening to some great music at the same time.
Some might say there is nothing that can replace the experience of being at a live concert, much less Warped Tour, and there is no denying that. Theaters offering different smells and things to touch can never substitute the reality of a concert, but this venue is not to be dismissed right away. For people who cannot attend Warped Tour, the 2009 video is a worthy alternative.