As an avid concert goer, I often get asked what band I’ve seen the most.

With the show last night, I’ve now seen my favorite band Rise Against seven times. However, I’ve seen my other favorite band Senses Fail six times and by the end of the month, I will have seen Enter Shikari seven times as well. But I’ve been seeing Rise Against since 2011 and have many awesome stories about their gigs.

08/04/11 | UCSD Rimac Arena, San Diego, California: My very first gig was Senses Fail about a week before this show, but this one was extra special as it was my (16th) birthday present.

Like a lot of bands at the time, Rise Against was protesting SB1070 anti-immigration legislation by not touring in Arizona. When a tour with two other bands I like a lot, Bad Religion and Four Year Strong, was announced, I was devastated they were passing us by. Luckily, after a lot of pleading, my parents agreed that this show and a weekend in San Diego will be my big birthday present.

The morning of the show, my parents drove me and my best friend Sydney to San Diego, where we had dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house before heading to the venue at the university. Once we entered, Sydney and I went to the floor and my dad stayed in the stands. We had a great time watching the opening bands, especially when the lead singer of Four Year Strong made a shoutout to everyone who came to the show with their best friend before one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Wasting Time.”

I don’t remember too many specifics about the Rise Against set as it was so long ago, but I remember being really overwhelmed by all the movement in the crowd and deafening music. I was just trying to stay on my own two feet so I can take as many pictures as possible! All in all, it was a great concert and fun weekend.

28/09/12 | Mesa Amphitheatre, Phoenix, Arizona: Me and Sydney couldn’t believe it when they announced a tour coming to Arizona! Additionally, my brother Ryan had gotten into them. My dad drove the three of us up to Phoenix for the concert early in the morning. There, we met my friends who were waiting in the queue. Rise Against announced a signing at a local record store, which we were all planning to go to, until they moved the time up to half an hour before the doors to the venue opened. Not wanting to risk it, my friends stayed behind to secure a spot in the front for the show, by Sydney, Ryan and I took our chances, hoping our friends would still be outside the venue holding our spots once we got back from the signing.

We waited in the heat all afternoon until the signing where my friend Matt met us. To keep things moving, the store limited the items that band could sign to one. Although I brought several CDs, I chose to get their second album, Revolutions Per Minute signed. When it was my turn, I shakily handed my CD to them, gave them each a gift of a painting of themselves, shook their hand and was hurried along. Although our encounter was brief, I was on cloud nine!

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