Colton and I were only gone 30hrs for our Columbus road trip, but it was a perfect success and I don’t think we could have had a better time. We took the direct route and went US 50 and US 33 East. The drive wasn’t much more than 3hrs. We knew that going in, but it really didn’t seem far at all. It was much better than our return routes of I-70 and I-77 which seemed to take for absolute ever.
The city was beautiful, and flat. Very flat. Its crazy to me how the terrain levels out only a couple hours west of home. Colton is spoiled because, most places we go, I’ve already got a route mapped out in my head or am already intimately familiar. Not this trip. I let him handle getting us there. It went fine, but it still frustrates me that the plethora of navigation tools available today have all but ensured that no one will know how to properly read maps anymore. I used to spend evenings studying the road atlas and planning road trips even if I didn’t have a trip coming up! Sorry. At least the first old fart tangent is out of the way.
We stayed at a Hampton Inn in the Arena District, across the street from the Convention Center. It was a nice location and perfect for the concert with tons of restaurants nearby. Hampton Inn used to be our usual home on road trips in our early traveling days. We’ve progressed up the Hilton ladder since then, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice that Hampton Inn was. They’ve come a long way and I wouldn’t even hesitate to choose that hotel next time we visit.
Colton and I walked the afternoon away and had some lunch at North Market which was a collection of local/specialty foods that really hit the spot for us. We were both also fascinated by the size (1.7 million square feet) of the Convention Center which was quite impressive.
From the start, Colton was determined to be at the venue when the gates open so we could hopefully score a barrier side location to watch the concert. That was not meant to be. Gates were at 6:30. While we intended to walk by at 5:30 on our way to a snack, we came across several hundred fans already in line. Colton was crushed, even if only temporarily. We did what we had to do and got in line. Assuming we were going be banished to the lawn and not even make it into the pit, it was a semi-sad hour.
That was short lived thankfully. Inexplicably, many in line simply went to the beer stands or the lawn anyway. We didn’t end up too bad off really and were in the front quarter of the pit. The wait was excruciating for this old guy. Typically my back is killing me by the end of a show. This time, after an hour standing in line and about another hour waiting for the show to start, I was already hurting before it even began.
Once the show started though, that all went away. Boston Manor was very good live. I had listened to the new album a couple times and wasn’t really that crazy about it. But as you’ll often find, see them live and you’ll find a whole new appreciation. It was a very enjoyable set that got the crowd moving.
Knocked Loose is going to be big. Boston Manor may be as well, but I feel Knocked Loose is about ready to explode. As much as I enjoy seeing the legendary veterans I grew up with and have been around for 40yrs, the passion these up and coming bands bring to a show is priceless to experience in person. Knocked Loose played their loud and violent set and in response the pit went loud and violent as well. Without a doubt it was the most physical and exhausting pit I’ve been a part of. This is probably because the average age of the fans of my era bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax is probably late 40’s and 50’s, while A Day to Remember’s fan base is probably late 20’s. The youthful energy was an absolute joy to be a part of, even if it was far more punishing than I’m accustomed to.
And it didn’t slow when ADTR hit the stage, only ramped up even more. Thats who everyone had come to see and when they exploded on to the stage all hell broke loose. I should mention that after Knocked Loose, Colton pointed out and said he had to have water. So we dug our way out of the pit, which wasn’t all that easy, immediately downed two bottles of water and returned. Of course now we’re wedged in the back quarter although perhaps more toward center stage than before. We maneuvered our way forward as much as was reasonable. But Colton lives and breathes ADTR so when he said, “I’m going in” I just watched him go. By the time it started he was more than 10ft ahead of me and in the midst of the worst of the activity. I knew he was on top of the world though and could hold his own, so while the parental concern was still there, overall I couldn’t help but just smile. The pushing, shoving, slamming, and crowd surfing continued relentlessly song after song with the mass vocals of the crowd seeming as loud as the band. Beach balls and toilet paper rolls filled the air and only added to the more than incredible atmosphere.
Half way through the set I got a tap on the shoulder and it was Colton. With the crowd constantly in motion we had shifted places and he wound up behind me but made his way forward next to me for the last of it. An absolutely incredible experience, we were utterly exhausted. Honestly, all I wanted to do was sit on the curb for a while and catch my breath before even walking back to the hotel. Instead, we just fought through the pain, made it to the room and raided the cooler. After about 10min we went out once more for a quick trip to Late Night Slice for pizza. I don’t think pizza has ever been that good and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colton that tired. Maybe after lamb of god in Maryland last summer, but I really doubt it. You know what though, it was all worth it.
The next morning I was up early of course. Even sleeping in by my standards is 6:30. After my morning coffee I hit the streets, got a Lime scooter and drove 4 miles around the city. After 45 minutes or so, I texted Colton and told him what I was doing and that he had better get up and join me before we hit the road home. To my surprise he did. We put in another 3 miles together, had some ice cream and left.
The trip couldn’t have been better. Today is packing for our weekend in New York City and we sail Monday. If all goes well, I’ll be writing from my second favorite early morning spot in the world, Bryant Park, bright and early Sunday morning to tell you about Saturday.