The Starting Line – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ – 12/29/13

Imagine if you will, a time when buying music was necessary and your only way of finding new music was through compilations,, and attending concerts.  The world we live in now, where music is free flowing was on the rise but wouldn’t be until much later.  This is how I sought out music growing up, and one of those bands I found was the Starting Line.  Actually I was one of the very few who listened to them when they were called Sunday Drive.  Eventually they would become one of my favorite bands and I would see them every chance I’d get.  So much so that eventually I knew their set list every time.  Nothing beats the first time I saw them in Allentown though.  For $5 it was The Starting Line, The Benjamins, and a wonderful band called Showoff.  The Starting Line only had their first e.p. out, but even my friend said, “if this band plays their cards right, they could be huge.”  He was right, but the weird change in the music industry coupled by the major label giants would stop the Starting Line from getting as huge as I thought they should be.

Fast forward a few years and it looks like the Starting Line survived the hurricane of the music industry and now they do everything on their own terms.  Every year end holiday, they give back to the fans by playing together once more.  This holiday show was a nostalgia trip back in time for all the times I saw them, especially when I first saw them in 2001.

It seemed like everyone was waiting for this night, and the buildup was for too long.  As soon as the Starting Line took the stage the crowd exploded into crowd surfing and jumping.  Even though Kenny joked about pushing thirty, the entire night he was jumping around and moving to the music nonstop.  The set list was perfect.  Every song was a crowd favorite and they included a few songs I don’t remember them playing as much before like “Way with Words” from Direction.  I was happy to hear “Goodnight’s Sleep” and “Left Coast Envy” once again live.  Two of my favorite songs, and “Left Coast Envy” was the first song I heard from them.  Maybe next time Keith Goodwin of Days Away/Good Old War will join them on stage for the song.

This was my first Holiday show seeing the Starting Line and I am not sure if it is standard, but for an encore they played “Holiday” by the Get Up Kids, which was great, followed by “The Best of Me” which ended the night.

I never thought I’d be able to photograph some of the bands that I have, let alone bands that influenced me in some way in being who I am today.  The Starting Line’s music was definitely the soundtrack to my youthful days.  Even though I’m much older and my tastes have changed, I still remember that first night I saw them in Allentown and I how I felt.  This Holiday show was almost the same and I hope to relive it again next year.

2 thoughts on “The Starting Line – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ – 12/29/13

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