On Saturday night, December 29th, The Starting Line came to NJ with their Say It Like You Mean It 10th Anniversary Tour. Say It Like You Mean It was a favorite album of kids everyone, for many their first foray into the music that would later be called Pop-punk. Needless to say, Convention Hall in Asbury Park was packed for this show.
RDGLDGRN opened up the show. A solid band, although I felt like they would be a more fitting opener for let’s say, 311, than TSL. A little singing, a little rapping-esq, a little reggae-esq, it is hard to put a label on what they do. Although it was readily apparently that most, if not all of the people at the show had never heard of them, RDGLDGRN kept the energy high and kept everyone’s head moving along. Which is all you can ever ask for.
Transit were up next and the energy definitely noticeably went up in the room when they took the stage. Obvious crowd favorites, led by Jon Boynton these Massachusetts boys used every second of their 30 min set time, and every inch of that stage. I have seen them play a couple of times before but I am always impressed when they take the stage. They always sound fantastic and are just really fun to see play.
Fake Problems took the stage after Transit. The name rang a bell in my brain, but I had never seen them play before. But like Transit, Fake Problems made the absolute most of the time they had been given. Another really great performance from a strong band. Seeing them play was impressive. It made me want to give them a real listen, which isn’t always easy to do.
After Fake Problems it was time for The Starting Line to take the stage. A huge banner of their Say It Like You Mean It album draped the stage, and the guys took the stage all smiles. Met with 3000 screams, it would be hard for any band to not be proud of that moment. Singer Kenny Vasoli stepped up to the microphone and proceeded to…read. Yes, read. Read a 10 year old review that came out when Say It Like You Mean It was first released. Although not at all what any of us expected, it was interesting to hear first thoughts on an album that went on to be so important to so many people. After that reading, he laughed, took a step back, and then they launched into Up & Go.
As promised, The Starting Line played every song from Say It Like You Mean It front to back. It was my first time seeing them play, but they played like they were just having the best time. Vasoli was backed up by Matt Watts and Mike Golla on guitars and vocals. Tom Gryskiewicz on drums and Brian Schmutz on keyboards and backing vocals. It was clear that every song from Say It Like You Mean It was a favorite in the room, but a few stood out above the rest. The Best of Me definitely being one of them. The band sounded great, like they had been doing it every day for the last 10 years, but also like they had a renewed energy.
After playing the album in its entirety they left the stage, only to return a short while later for a 5 song encore. Starting off with a hit, Making Love to the Camera, it got the crowd surfing revved back up. Are you Alone, Surprise Surprise, and Birds were next. Ending with Greg’s Last Day. They took a bow, and left the stage while 3000 kids screamed their name.
It was a great night. Filled with songs that made you feel like you were 10 years younger. I think for everyone in the room, it transported them back to another time. A time where those songs held a special place in their heart and a constant place in their CD player. And when push comes to shove, that is all you can ever hope music will do for you. Make you remember another time and leave you with a smile, and a feeling of wanting more.