I just happened to be spending a week in New York that coincided with a Rise Against show in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They were one of the last, if not the last, headliners to play the Stone Pony Summer Stage. One of my best friends Anna (who you probably remember from my Coheed stories) is also a huge Rise Against fan, so we decided to make the trek from Manhattan to Asbury Park together for the show.
It was definitely a trek.
I have this idea in my head of Jersey being this tiny little state, and compared to California and Florida (both of which I’ve lived in) it is. But it’s also a lot bigger than I give it credit for. The train from Penn Station took us about 2 hours to get there. We spent the time playing Fuck, Marry, Kill with people and bands and people in bands.
“Fuck, marry, kill… Green Day, The Matches, and Rise Against.”
“Whyyyyy would you do this to me?!”
Of course neither Anna nor I have been to Stone Pony before, but we’d heard plenty of stories about the time Coheed played here in 2015. I guess we’d both assumed it was an indoor venue, but the Summer Stage was outside.
Pierce the Veil was opening, and they were still playing when we got there. I can really do without them to be honest (I didn’t even watch them when I the Mighty opened for them, and I went to two shows on that tour), so I was complaining about getting there too early.
Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for their set to end. There was a mass exodus of children from the pit when they left the stage.
Pierce the Veil’s fans are largely a younger crowd, and it was pretty obvious. Anna kept making jokes all night about how young everyone around us was.
“He just found his first chest hair.”
We went in the pit before Rise Against came out, and we got fairly close considering this is such a huge venue. There was a big group of dudes and I couldn’t help but joke about wanting to join them and make bad decisions with them instead of COTFs. They kinda let me down and didn’t seem to be as much fun as I’d hoped they were, but oh well.
Anna seemed to hang back on the edge of the mosh pit most of the night, and I bounced back and forth between the pit and where she was. The pit was pretty intense and I couldn’t even handle it all that much.
I went with Anna and a bunch of our other friends to see Rise Against when they co-headlined with Deftones over the summer, and they seemed to really only play their “hits” on that tour. One song in at Stone Pony, and I’m freaking out because they changed the setlist and I’M SO HAPPY ABOUT IT.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song live before, so safe to say I was immediately freaking out.
“They changed the setlist! They changed the setlist!”
Cue me freaking out again. I definitely have not heard this one live and I LOVE IT. THIS SETLIST. Their 2014 album The Black Market was kinda hit or miss for me, but this is one of my favorite songs on the album.
THESE DEEP CUTS THOUGH.
Ughhh YES. I remember them playing this at my first show in 2012. So good. Just imagine a tiny little Lindsay shoving through a mosh pit screaming “This is cardiac arrest!” at the top of her lungs.
Okay so this was REALLY cool. They played a Minor Threat cover. Totally unexpected. Frontman Tim McIlrath introduced Lou Koller from Sick of It All and the man himself, Brian Baker of Minor Threat, to help them out. Oh my god. What even.
They released this song as a single before the new album Wolves dropped in June, but they didn’t play it on the Deftones tour, which really surprised me. I was glad to see it live now, because I really love this song.
Then they cut to a three-song acoustic set. DUDE. I was expecting one, MAYBE two acoustic songs, but THREE?! Holy crap, yes please.
When I thought it was just one acoustic song, I was happy it was this one. They weren’t playing it over the summer but it’s kinda a staple Rise Against song. It might be a little bit overplayed, but I don’t care, it’s a really pretty song and I’ll always love it. Anna and I slow danced like the married couple we more or less are.
Oh, this one too? Okay, I guess we get both! Anna and I were slow danced out by this point, so we swayed to the music together.
Oh boy. Here we go. I basically screamed “NOOOOOO!” as soon as Tim started strumming the opening chords. This song gives me too many feels and I generally skip it. Sigh.
Then the rest of the band came back out and they went full electric again.
Fucking deep cuts, dude. SO HAPPY. This one’s from my favorite of their albums, Siren Song of the Counter Culture.
Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil came onstage to sing this one with Tim.
This has always been one of my absolute favorite Rise Against songs. I love seeing it live so much.
They always close with this one, so we saw it coming. Great closer.
The moral of the story is that headliner sets are SO MUCH BETTER than co-headliner sets. In a co-headliner, a lot of those people aren’t there to see your band, so you have to accommodate for them just like you would at a festival. Whereas in a regular headliner show, you can play whatever, because everyone is there for you.
I’m not sure if this was my favorite Rise Against set I’ve ever seen, or if it was my first time seeing them in 2012. In 2012 I saw “Blood to Bleed” and “Paper Wings” live (both from Siren Song of the Counter Culture), and that’s kinda hard to top for me, but this one was close to it, if not slightly even better.
The train back to Manhattan was probably an hour or two away, so Anna and I had plenty of time to kill in Asbury Park.
We walked by the ocean, then wandered through the town (which was abnormally cute to the point of we thought we might die there) before finding a bar to chill at for a bit. We had pierogis and the teenager at heart that I will always be ordered a Mike’s Hard Lemonade rather than real beer just because I’ve never seen a bar actually have that as an option before. When in Jersey…?