words by lauren stern | photos by nicole mago
When I first fell in love with Say it Like You Mean It, it would have never even crossed my mind that a decade later, I’d be standing in the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ listening to the entire album live and in full. But ten years ago, I didn’t think this whole “10th anniversary album circuit” trend would be common amongst all of my all time favorite bands either.
Last night’s show was not only a once in a lifetime opportunity for my fellow fans and I but for The Starting Line themselves. This tour in itself is a pretty big deal for the band but we all knew that once they hit New Jersey it would be another story. The Garden State was always more of a second home to them because it was one of the main areas that initially welcomed them into the pop punk scene with open arms. So everyone knew this particular show – whether it took place at Starland Ballroom or in Asbury Park – was going to be a big one.
Before The Starting Line hit the stage and “said hello to Jersey,” fans were welcomed by three acts: RDGLDGRN , Transit, and Fake Problems. Prior to the show, I was a huge fan of both Transit and Fake Problems but never heard of RDGLDGRN. Needless to say, I wasn’t at all impressed with RDGLDGRN but the other two I am patiently waiting for 2013 tour dates and new music. I must say though that if the Starting Line wasn’t performing that night at all that Fake Problems would have been the best performance of the night. It’s no wonder they are The Starting Line’s favorite band – they are seriously phenomenal. I already made it a point that I will for sure be the first in line for tickets for a headlining Jersey show and a co-headlining Gaslight Anthem show (whichever comes first).
Once The Starting Line hit the stage, the show became one big nostalgia party. The band started out by reading an old review of “Say it Like You Mean It” depicting them as the typical emo band that writes songs about girls. After singer Kenny Vasoli read the review, the band jumped right into “Up and Go” and one by one went through every song off of their 2002 release. For me, it was cool to hear songs like “Cheek to Cheek,” “Hello Houston,” and “The Drama Summer,” all of which I’ve never seen in a live setting. It was also pretty cool to feel somewhat connected to the other die-hard fans in the room, all of which were either singing their hearts out, dancing, and/or running around the venue like they were on bath salts.
Once the band reached the end of “This Ride,” I had a moment where I literally wanted to press the rewind button on the stereo and start it all over. Though I had five random songs off of Bedroom Talk and Direction to Look Forward to in the encore, I was depressed that the straight through playing of that album was already over and done with. It went by so fast and I never wanted it to end.
Prior to the show, I heard rumors that this would be the last we heard from The Starting Line but thankfully this isn’t the case. Vasoli stated last night that after this tour, the band would thankfully be pushing for a new record and continuing to tour. I am so glad that this wasn’t going to be my last Starting Line show and I can’t wait to see and hear more of what’s to come in the next couple of years.