Sunday, October 18, 2009

Broken Down On Memory Lane

I am often asked which was the best concert I've ever been to. And I've got to admit, this is one of the hardest questions for me to answer. Was it my first blink-182 show, the time I sang with Sugarcult or that time I saw Bayside and Anberlin at the now defunct Axis? 

Truth is, it's all of these and more. I'll never forget all those long nights spent driving around the northeast with some of my best friends. Hitting venues from southern Connecticut to northern Maine, countless fast food joints and a ringing in our ears that has yet to leave. It's what's made my life enjoyable, fun and memorable.

And every now and then I'll be listening to a playlist when a song comes up that just takes me back. Within the first few chords I'm suddenly in that laughter filled car, or sweating it out in a pit - surrounded by those closest to me. Such was the case the other day.

I was listening to music while doing homework the other afternoon when Defining Moment's "When Violence Fails" came through the speakers. Instantly I was back in the summer of '05, at my first Warped Tour experience. It was an overcast day in western Massachusetts, and I was standing in line next to my best friend. 

While we waited for what turned out to be one of the best days of our lives, we were approached by a semi-strung-out punk-looking kid claiming to be from Florida. He was selling his band's, Defining Moment, CD. He let us have a listen before asking for cash. Five bucks was a bit pricey, so we were able to barter him down to $2 - one from each of us. 

Thinking nothing of it, we threw the CD in a bag and got on with our day which included serving food backstage to such bands as Motion City Soundtrack, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Hot Rod Circuit and The Transplants. It was life changing. We greeted each one of our idols, relished in the vast amounts of free food and caught some of today's biggest bands play - right before they hit the big-time.

Since then it's been nothing but uphill. I've always had a burned copy of Defining Moment's self-titled album, which turned out to be their last. (In fact, the band split and reformed to become today's pop-punk icon Mayday Parade) And over time the CD has grown on me. As the scene slips and we make way for genres such as "crunk-rock," I can sit back and remember the good old times with Defining Moment.

So when that record came on the other day I was instantly in a daze. Suddenly I remembered what got me started in music writing. I remembered that feeling of family I received from everyone I met that day, now almost five years ago. I felt that the world was in my hands once again, and I couldn't help but smile. 

It's a memory I'll have for as long as I'm alive. And anytime I want to relive it, all I've got to do is throw the CD on. Boy, it's times like this that make me realize the real power of music. Amazing...

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