Many of the men I’ve admired have come to a point, usually late in life, where they felt the fun was gone and they just weren’t able to do the things that brought them joy. Hunter and Hemingway “opted out” at that point. As I sit through yet another band who’s name I can’t remember on a tour that used to bring me so much joy and see the ever widening gulf between who I have become and what I once identified myself as, I ponder. It’s not the same desperate point those greats faced, but it lends me an inkling of the panic and the despair they must have felt at that point.
It’s hard when you’ve identified yourself for so long as a part of a group or movement only to find that it no longer applies to you, that you’ve lost your credibility as part of it and that somehow you are now part of the diametrically opposed group that you once rebelled against. That’s something of a mind fuck when it finally becomes something you know is true rather than just saying it because it’s what logic dictates. There’s something of a disconnect in the knowing of something as a fact and the believing it, truly understanding that it is so.
I’ve walked around this show with my disdain for all these things I consider childish or superficial. I’ve watched these bands playing music that seems uninspired and lacking in conviction. I’ve looked around with distaste at the most convoluted and unoriginal displays of individuality. Then I look back at me from 20 years ago and can see no difference. I guess this is that uncomfortable part of the transition from youth to age.
So Warped Tour has ended to me as a thing. It’s part of a world that I no longer can be a part of without sacrificing the perspective I’ve gained through years of living. I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of this contemplation of identity, transcribing it into words, and sipping this cold (but overpriced) beer than from any of the time I’ve spent today watching the sheeple bray along to another uninspired (and uninspiring) ballad of discordant growls and in-cohesive instrumentation.
Life’s not over, but that chapter certainly is.