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The Starting Line Ten Year Anniversary Tour – 12.29.12

January 5, 2013 | Posted by Gina Bortolussi
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The Starting Line Ten Year Anniversary Tour – 12.29.12  

I feel like I’m meeting up with an old boyfriend as I walk into the Asbury Park Convention Hall. I’m a little nervous and a little angry that it’s taken so long for Kenny Vasoli, the lead singer of The Starting Line, and I to see each other again, although it’s not entirely his fault. The last time The Starting Line came out of retirement was for a few shows in 2009, but tickets sold out in minutes. I haven’t seen the band play since they disbanded in 2008, but they’ve always remained one of my favorites and on this Saturday night, the 29th of December, my two best friends and I are here to see The Starting Line reunite for the ten year anniversary tour of their first full length album, Say It Like You Mean It. I still know every word to every one of their songs, and I still listen to the album all the time. Some bands stay with you, and The Starting Line has made a big imprint on me and has stayed with me for over a decade.

My friends and I walk upstairs to the bar where we grab a few drinks before the show, something we couldn’t do before at venues since we were well under age. We obsessively check our watches to make sure that we make it downstairs in time to see The Starting Line take the stage. I look around at all of the people huddled together, waiting. It’s nice to see how the people of my generation have turned out. It’s comforting to know that we’re all here for the same cause, that we still believe in the same things.

Finally it’s time to make our way into the rather spacious main venue, and even though there is plenty of room, we all huddle in close and quietly waited for Vasoli to come out on stage and grab his guitar. As a large black and white poster of the well-known cover of Say It Like You Mean It (a girl sitting on a couch and talking on the phone) unravels behind the drum set, I grab my friend’s arm and let out a squeal of excitement. The lights dim and Vasoli walks out with his fellow band mates and greets us with a smile. He begins the show by reading an old, unflattering review by some music journalist, whose name I can’t remember, that came out shortly after Say It LIke You Mean It hit the shelves. He thanks the reviewer for his words and then goes right into the first song, “Up & Go,” not giving a second thought to what has ever been said about his music or his band. He’s just happy to be here. He’s happy to have been able to make the music that he’s wanted to make.

As soon as the music starts I don’t have a care in the world. I’m back in the car with my friends driving around our small town. I’m in my room getting ready for a high school party thrown by someone whose parents are gone for the weekend. I think about the boy who caused me heartache at sixteen and I think about my junior prom. Nostalgia hits me so hard that I think I’m going to fall over, and I know I’m not the only one reminiscing and turning over memories in my mind. We get to relive our pasts and special moments as the band gets to relive theirs, right in front of us, which is amazing to witness. We all share a few specials hours together as The Starting Line brings me back to a time in my life that I never thought I’d get to know or feel again. I don’t think many bands have that kind of power, and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for tonight. It is truly magical.

The Starting Line plays Say It Like You Mean Itfrom start to finish, and come back out for an encore of five more songs, including “Greg’s last Day,” a song that they rarely played live, from their EP, With Hopes of Starting Over, and “Making Love to the Camera,” a personal favorite, from their album,Based on a True Story. Vasoli is now wearing a clean, less sweaty Starting Line shirt with Pete Wentz on it that I am sure is meant to be some sort of inside joke with the former Fall Out Boy bassist, and tells us all to “Stay Emo.”

The band sounds exactly the same as they did ten years ago, when I first heard them. No notes have been changed, nothing has been altered, and it’s all so perfect. It is what we need. We need to feel the world slow down for a night and revisit this time. Vasoli’s voice sounds vibrant and fresh, yet familiar. Each note is played with heart and soul and Vasoli plays the guitar with purpose and passion. He dances and jumps around. This show is full of love, energy, sentiment, sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s a reunion in so many ways, uniting people and reuniting us with our beloved band. Tonight The Starting Line remind me that time travel is in fact possible, and sometimes it’s okay to go back to the past.

The 411: The Starting Line return to play their first full length album, Say It Like You Mean It from start to finish in honor of its ten year anniversary for a very special reunion tour, and make me a very happy girl.
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Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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Gina Bortolussi

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