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YOU'RE FIVE HOURS FROM PARADISE: Click the Arts & Life index for a link to a photo story on how to plan your Yellowstone getaway. / Photo by Shauna Leavitt
Today's word on

Friday, September 9, 2005

Scene: Calvin and Hobbes are reading the newspaper.

Calvin: "I like following the news! News organizations know I won't sit still for any serious discussion of complex and boring issues. They give me what I want: Antics. Emotional confrontation. Sound bites. Scandal. Sob stories and popularity polls all packaged as a soap opera and horse race! It's very entertaining."

Hobbes: "Then commentators wonder why the public is cynical about politics."

Calvin: "You can tell this is an in-depth story because it's got an article next to a chart."

--Calvin & Hobbes by cartoonist Bill Watterson, 2005


Warped Tour sizzles in 103 degrees and a smashing Billy Idol comeback

By Jeremy Wilkins

July 18, 2005 | Despite the sun, sweat, limited-to-no shade and the hellish 103 degrees of heat, thousands of people young and old gathered at the Utah State Fairgrounds on Saturday for this year's Warped Tour.

(Click for more Warped Tour photos.)

And so it is every year when the popular traveling all-day music/extreme sports festival stops in Salt Lake City to release its energy and prove its growing appeal.

"We don't mess around too much. People know what to expect," said Kevin Lyman, the creator of the tour that made its first stop in Utah by drawing about 800 to the Saltair Pavilion in 1995.

First and foremost the tour is well-known for the many bands that perform throughout the day, along with skate contests and other extreme sport performances, and next for the dozens upon dozens of booths selling band and record label merchandise, booths with political information that encourage young people to vote and several other additions each year to keep things interesting.

Billy Idol chews up the set list during
a high-energy performance at the
Warped Tour. / Photo by Jeremy Wilkins

This year was no exception. This latest Warped Tour included a booth for a traveling photo exhibit of images from the Las Vegas-based Punk Rock Museum, which is also a part of the 500 Greatest Shots of Rock ‘n' Roll Photography, taken by several of the world's top music photographers. Also included was the Take Action! at Warped tent, which was a combination of a music stage and information booth, the music portion being dedicated to spoken-word performances and the information portion dedicated to voter registration and information for the National Hopeline Network, which runs a teen suicide hotline.

As for the main attraction, the music, there were 93 bands on the Salt Lake City schedule for the show. The Transplants, Offspring, My Chemical Romance, Thrice, Strung Out, Atreyu and of course the comeback performance from rock legend Billy Idol drew some of the biggest crowds and gave some of the most hard-hitting shows.

The Transplants, with members Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Travis Barker (Blink-182, MTV's Meet The Barkers) and newcomer Rob Aston tore up the stage with their eight-song set as they played several of their old songs coupled with a few new songs including Gangsters and Thugs, which has received national radio play. The crowd was awed with the drum beats of Barker, the stage antics of Aston rushing back and forth as he spewed his raspy vocals into the mic and the ever so calm and cool presence of greatness and leadership Armstrong brings to the group as he took middle stage, most of the time playing while standing on top of a monitor or Barker's drums with an occasional jump.

There was a constant buzz in the air about Idol's pending performance near the end of the day's festivities. Idol, known for his huge success in the '80s, recently released his first studio album, Devil's Playground, since 1993's poorly received Cyberpunk. Since Idol's release of Playground, many music critics have deemed his comeback as rather impressive and successful -- and judging by the crowd's response to him on Saturday, the Warped Tour fans agreed.

Anyone who thought he was too old or that he was a washed-up rocker was eating their words as Idol, now 49, ripped through Super Overdrive, the first track on his new album. As Idol pleased the crowds with new and old material, he also posed and worked the cameras down in front beneath the stage. After running through his first three songs, which included White Wedding, Idol took a minute to breathe.

He spoke briefly to the crowd about his longevity in the music industry, mentioning his prior band from the 1970's, Generation X, which participated in the early punk movement in England, before singing Ready, Steady, Go, from the Generation X catalog. By the time Idol came to the end of his set list and began singing Rebel Yell, he had the crowd in a frenzy, proving that some things only get better with time.

Some people might call packing that much into one day too much, but then there's those who were there to experience it who would say it was just enough.

HOT AND SWEATY: Tim Armstrong of the Transplants tears into a song. / Photo by Jeremy Wilkins


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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