It's Friday and we've had an amazing day off in Roseburg, Oregon. Last I checked in we were playing the last of our California dates which begin our trek north. The Cali week of shows/first two weeks of tour are always packed with days off since so many folks on the tour are from/based out of the greater LA area. I'm very thankful for all the down time, but it really does always feel like it's finally "really" tour once we leave the west and head out through the Midwest. Maybe it's because I am so comfortable in California and still feel at "home" there, or maybe it's because there's more consistent shows back to back in the Midwest due to the shorter distances between locations. Regardless, it's insane to think we're barely two weeks into the summer…the reality of that will certainly come when we reach Missouri.
The past two shows have been fairly nice. Our days off in San Diego were wonderfully relaxing, meaning getting back into the grind wasn't too bad Wednesday morning. We played Chula Vista Ampitheatre (the same venue as 2012) and had a fairly decent crowd thanks to a decent stage placement. Since we are on a smaller stage this year compared to our last Warped adventure, it doesn't always get same "caliber" locations in the venue we did in 2012. The Ernie Ball Stage is physically smaller, meaning it’s a bit easier to put in random corners a little off the main path compared to the full-size semi stages. Don't get me wrong, sometimes this smaller stage means we get placed smack in the prime walkways for all kids to see, but sometimes we get a weird back corner that you have to seek out to reach; it all depends on the venue. I don’t think we’ve seen a lesser draw for sets based on our location since most of our fans are at Warped to see us (we’re so lucky!), but what’s been neat this summer to see is that this smaller stage gives us the opportunity to grab more “passive” listeners who stop while walking by, or sitting nearby the stage. While in San Diego, Travis (another Denver local on tour, and the king of monitors) patched me into my first monitor mix. I'm really determined to learn monitors and front of house sound this year, and if i ever get the chance to sneak away for a set or two during tour, i'm hoping I can pick up some tricks and learn more from him. It was wayyy cool to have that kind of sonic experience while watching a set.
In comparison to San Diego, Sacramento was a quiet day. The crowd felt fairly small compared to some shows and everyone seemed to feel the lull. I was definitely killing time at the table, and even found a guy taking a nap on a drumboat inside one of the gear semi’s for the Warheads stage on the ampitheater. Despite the terribly long day, the after show BBQ was a total blast since it was "Roadie Friday" for all. We danced, played card games, and ran around all night till our 2am bus call.
It might have only been two show days, but today was a great day off. Tony (our tour manager) planned an awesome day trip to local wineries in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon. We tried some amazing wine, spent the afternoon having a picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific and played a mean game of wiffle ball in a campground parking lot. The idea of being in a wooded forest one minute and then seeing a beach to your left the next absolutely blew my mind. That’s not something I'm used to as far as mountains go!
We spent our drive back to the hotel listening to the new IFD record in its entirety. It's the first time the band has listened to the whole thing together since we got the masters in, and all of us experiencing it together as we watched the sun set through the beautiful woods of the Pacific Northwest was surreal. That was a special moment I don't think any of us will forget. The album is truly AMAZING, and I cannot wait for you all to hear it.
Tomorrow we play White River Ampitheater in Washington (complete with a killer view of Mount Rainer), Sunday we hit Portland, and then we begin our two day trek across my beautiful mountains into the Midwest. I'll check in as I can, but stay tuned to FB/Twitter/Instagram for updates. For now, here's your official IFD Warped Team photo for 2014.