WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: NICKY PARRY
Vans Warped Tour 2018 - Final Full Cross Country Run
Pomona Fairplex - Pomona, CA
June 21, 2018
As fans piled into the Pomona Fairplex on Thursday, they were met with first day jitters, technological issues, and a blazing hot sun with not a single cloud on the horizon. Vendors lined the walkways toward the Journey’s stages as food trucks filled in the spaces between the owly.fm and Mutant stages. Despite the unforeseen hiccups, the final run of Vans Warped Tour kicked off with a major bang.
Southern California rockers Assuming We Survive started things off on the Journey’s Left Foot stage. Performing a high energy set complete with mind (and body) bending jumps by lead singer Adrian Estrella, Assuming We Survive established the amped up mood for the day. This Wild Life followed with a groovy set, including homemade spinning sunflowers to celebrate the release of their newest album, Petaluma. Movements showed fans just how to move during their pumped up show in the early afternoon, while Hail the Sun rocked the Mutant White Lightning stage across the field just shortly after. Even though the trek from stage to stage under the relentless sun may have seemed arduous at the time, the payoff was worth it.
Back at the mainstages, bearded quartet Four Year Strong opened their set with the always loved “We All Float Down Here” (scary sewer clown not included). Mayday Parade followed up with an unsurprisingly incredible performance. The Florida natives even surprised the crowd with a throwback cover of Blink-182’s “The Rock Show”. Even if fans didn’t meet “the one” like in the song, they could still fall in love with music all over again at Warped Tour. The energy never stopped as Real Friends took to the Journey’s Right Foot stage and lead singer Dan Lambton took the time to remind us all we are not alone in our struggles. Major thank you to him for opening about his mental health.
If fans did not run to the owly.fm stage to catch As It Is, they missed a big surprise. The British boys brought in former Remember Paris and The Drama State guitarist Ronnie Ish to join them onstage all summer long. The set started off a little rocky with some minor technological issues, but once the boys took the stage, all was forgotten. Truly a must-see. Speaking of, State Champs should be on everyone’s list to watch this summer. With a fresh new album, Living Proof, State Champs proved just why they belonged on the mainstage. The energy was undeniable as it flowed through their entire crowd. Grayscale followed suit at the owly.fm stage. All-women rock group Doll Skin succeeded Grayscale with a beautiful merging of girl power and rock ‘n roll.
Across the field, Chelsea Grin wowed metal lovers with a killer performance led by new vocalist Tom Barber. He commanded the Mutant Red Dawn stage like no other. 3OH!3 commanded a different, but no less impressive, performance back on the Journey’s Left Foot stage. Starting out with major hit, “My First Kiss”, 3OH!3 was able to get every single person off their feet and sing along- even the stage crew and security guards were enjoying themselves. After, The Maine took to the Journey’s Right Foot stage. As always, the Phoenix natives pulled off a show-stopping set, indeed making at least Pomona “emo again”.
Unfortunately, it was not The Maine that really stopped the show. Things took a downturn when it came time for Waterparks to take the stage. The technological issues were seemingly endless, until 15 minutes later. Lead singer Awsten Knight performed acoustically solo so fans were not completely disappointed. They had a massive crowd and Knight pushed through his disappointment and frustrations as he crooned three songs to the waiting fairplex. At the Journey’s Right Foot Stage, pop-punk legends Simple Plan turned the energy back up. All negative vibes were instantly destroyed as the Canadian band blasted their classic “I’d Do Anything”. No one in range could stop themselves from singing along they were so addicted to Simple Plan’s performance.
The one set Warped Tour goers should definitely not miss is Every Time I Die. Incredible cannot even begin to describe seeing those guys perform. You don’t even know where to look as they zip, jump, run, and Angus Young it across the stage. That performance will burned into your memory forever as one of the most unforgettable of the final run of Warped Tour. Put them on your list of must-sees.
Sibling trio Echosmith graced Pomona with an exclusive and impeccable show. Four years ago, they played on one of the smaller stages, but the “Cool Kids” definitely proved why they belonged on the mainstage. To wrap up the day, Senses Fail knocked it out of the park on the Mutant White Lightning stage as the sun set. They were able to end the day on notes close to perfection.
In spite of the disappointments and frustrations during the day, Vans Warped Tour made an incredible start to its final run. We’ll call it “first day jitters” and say the tour was able to get everything bad out of the way. The one biggest frustration is fans can’t see every single amazing band. If you are able to make it to multiple dates, you definitely should. The final run is going to be historical, especially with the lineup. To see when Vans Warped Tour is coming to a city near you, check out vanswarpedtour.com or download the app.
The final run has begun. It is very sad for music fans, but we definitely need to thank Kevin Lyman, the crew, and of course, the bands for every amazing summer we’ve all had at Warped Tour. So get your tickets, sing your heart out, and witness music history. Don’t miss out on the final summer of the Vans Warped Tour. We are sure glad we didn’t.