Actually, it was the second night of the tour, but 1) did you really think I was gonna pass up the opportunity for such an awesomely cheesy headline? And 2) who really cares about Poughkeepsie? I mean besides Gene Hackman in The French Connection. But back to the lecture at hand. Following a stint on the Warped Tour, opening for Hanson, and numerous other tours over the course of an insanely busy 2010 (comes with the territory I suppose when your debut album makes such an impact), A Rocket to the Moon put together a wonderful line-up for their first tried and true headlining tour. Along for the ride were Valencia, , fellow 2010 Warped Tour vets Anarbor, Runner Runner, and Go Radio (Stay tuned to TheCheapPop for exclusive interviews with Runner Runner, Valencia, and the headliners themselves).
Fans were lining up outside the Highline Ballroom starting at noon, a good 7+ hours before doors opened. Many of them, admittedly, were skipping class just to ensure that they could be the first through the door, at the front of the stage, ready to pounce on (well, maybe just paw at with outstretched arms) Nick Santino and the rest of ARttM. Each time a band member walked in or out of the venue during set up, there was always an “I love you Nick!” or “Justin, Eric take a picture with us!” that accompanied it, and the band was happy to oblige. I saw a trio of mothers dropping off their progeny, lovingly reminding them to “make sure to stay together.” , and I couldn’t help but crack a smile. When that caught the attention of, well, let’s call her Momma #1, I informed her that my smile was one of admiration and remiss, adding that I wished my parents had allowed me to go to a concert alone at such an age. Momma #2 shared my sentiment, lamenting that she never got the chance to see David Cassidy perform live. Momma #3 was a tad standoffish, perhaps wary of the near 30-year-old loitering outside a concert venue filled mostly with teenage girls.
In the backstage area, ARttM’s dressing room door was wide open, with all bands flowing in and out freely, creating a very familial vibe, speaking to the fact that this wasn’t a show with a mentality of “We’re the headliners. Don’t make eye contact. Go do your job.” as is the case, more often than not. This was a large group of friends, all on the same plane, who just wanted play some music, share an experience, and maybe start a dance party or three.
The crowd grew more and more fanatical (which included, but was not limited to, the shrieks and squeals of joy that can only emanate from the vocal chords of the most passionate teenage fans) as each band took the stage. Valencia was having their fans go on the bands website to vote on the songs for the setlist, which the band said helps to keep them fresh and on their toes, not relying on the same songs each night (although I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that fans will make sure the instantly catchy “Dancing with a Ghost” makes its’ way onto the list every single night).
When the lights went finally went out to signify that A Rocket to the Moon was taking the stage, well, the sheer volume of the crowd may or may not have caused me to black out. It’s truly something to be able to sit back and be a fly on the wall as 700 people are exactly where they know they are supposed to be at that moment in time. The band tore that stage a new one, as Grammy Plot would say, embracing the night and soaking in the adoration as thought it was their last time on stage, although the reality is quite the opposite. The “On Your Side” Tour will makes its’ way across the country for the next month and a half, after which the band will hop across the pond for a UK tour, and, if Richard Branson ever gets his act together, I’d put even money on A Rocket to the Moon being one of the first to hop a Virgin spacecraft to see if anyone in space can hear a few screams. (Yep. Had to go there. Again. Even though it felt a little forced.)