On Tuesday 16th November American pop-punk band All Time Low’s ‘Back to the Future Hearts’ European Tour hit up Dublin’s 3Arena, their first arena show in Dublin. Support on the night came from American pop-punk band Good Charlotte and American pop-rock band Against the Current.
I arrived shortly before Against the Current were set to play, and while the standing area was not as full as it could have been there was still a fairly impressive crowd there already. I was also instantly impressed by the stage setup, there was a walkway out into the crowd and Against the Current had a massive banner up, which is surprising for the opening band of a tour to have.
Against the Current took to the stage as 7 o’clock hit, having previously caught the band live back in October (my review for which you can read here: https://irishrocknmetal.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/review-against-the-current-with-beware-of-you-the-academy-2-131014/) I knew exactly what to expect from them; infectious hook-laden pop-rock heavy on the pop side. They opened their set with a single they recently released ‘Running with the Wild Things’ off their upcoming debut album ‘In Our Bones’. They followed this up with ‘Talk’ off their ‘Gravity’ EP, and while it was a better performance than the previous time I heard it live, I still do not think it suits Chrissy’s vocals too well live, she can not keep up with the pace of the vocals without straining her voice even with the added addition of some back tracked vocals. Chrissy announced that they were playing a new unreleased track ‘Forget Me Now’ next, saying that people might appreciate it because so many of people in the crowd had been singing along so far unlike on other dates of the tour. ‘Dreaming Alone’ followed next before they played a cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ which was well recieved by the crowd, then another recent single ‘Outsiders’ was played before they finished the set up with the title track off their ‘Gravity’ EP to applause from the crowd. Against the Current came back to Dublin with an improved set that replaced their olders songs, which were lacking, with stronger new ones: 8.5/10.
Good Charlotte took to the stage next at about 7.50, this was their first tour since reforming back in November after a four year hiatus, so the anticipation for their set was high. They opened strong with 2003’s hit single ‘The Anthem’ before making the interesting choice to play more songs off ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ instead of more hit singles, starting with ‘The Story of My Old Man’ and then into ‘My Bloody Valentine’. Prior to the show I was really looking forward to hearing these unexpected songs live, however vocalist Joel Madden seemed intent on interupting as many songs as possible during their set with what I could only describe as (potentially) drunken ramblings, this outright ruined any energy these songs could have brought to the table, the interuption during the middle of ‘My Bloody Valentine’ was probably as long as the song itself. Thankfully ‘Girls & Boys’ restored some of this lost momentum but again it was lost during ‘Riot Girl’ with Joel talking about how nice it was to see so many females in the crowd with dyed hair stating that the song was about them. One of the biggest surprises came during their performance of newest single ‘Makeshift Love’, released back in November as their comeback single, as the song was incredibly strong live, one of the strongest in their set, in stark contrast to the previous half of their set. 2007’s hit ‘The River’ followed, with a sadly botched intro, then another 2007 hit ‘Dance Floor Anthem’, further restoring the momentum earlier non-single tracks and ramblings lost their set. ‘I Just Wanna Live’, oddly the only song in the set off 2004’s ‘The Chronicles of Life and Death’, was played 2nd last before the expected closing choice of ‘Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous’, with All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth coming on stage to provide guest vocals during the last chorus, went over very well with the crowd, you would almost forgive the band for the rocky first half of their set. A sadly disappointing first half of Good Charlotte‘s set is saved by a very strong second half full of hit singles: 7/10.
As 9.30 hit All Time Low appeared on stage via a rising platform built into the steps which were now taking up most of the stage. They instantly kicked into ‘Kids in the Dark’, off their latest album ‘Future Hearts’ released last year. Their stage production was huge, much more than I expect them to have, it included; a screen on either said of the stage showing footage of the gig as it happened, three smaller moving screens behind them which showed different things depending on the song, ranging from lyrics to black and white footage of the gig to colourfull displays to just plain colours, a huge amount of lights that kept changing colour, the most impressive part of the lights being the Irish flag display later in the set (which you can see in the picture above), pyro and so much more. I was honestly messmerized by trying to take note of everything going on during the first few songs. A string of older hits followed including ‘A Love Like War’ and ‘Backseat Serenade’ off ‘Don’t Panic’, ‘Lost in Stereo’ and ‘Damned If I Do Ya’ off ‘Nothing Personal’ and ‘Poppin’ Champagne’ off 2007’s ‘So Wrong, It’s Right’. A couple of new songs off ‘Future Hearts’ were played next including ‘Bail Me Out’, which Joel Madden returned to the stage to tell a, possibly made up, story about writing it and to provide guest vocals on it. This was followed by what is always a big highlight of an All Time Low set, an acoustic performance of ‘Therapy’. Two more new ones ‘Missing You’ and ‘Don’t You Go’ were played before they rounded out their main set with the oldest and heaviest song in their set ‘Coffee Shop Soundtrack’ off 2006’s ‘Put Up or Shut Up’ EP, complete with demands for mosh pits, into ‘Old Scars / Future Hearts’ (my personal favorite off ‘Future Hearts’).
They returned to the stage for an encore performance of ‘Weightless’ before they announced that it was their manager Brian’s 40th birthday, called all their crew on stage for shots while showing off a birthday cake and then got the crowd to sing him happy birthday, a very nice moment to share with the crowd. ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ finished off the encore to crazy applause from the crowd, with Jack Barakat launching himself into the front of the crowd as he does at the end of every All Time Low set, apparently an arena tour can not break old habits.
All Time Low still provided the usual immature, and slightly inappropriate when you consider the crowds average age could not have been much higher than 14, dick jokes and general stage banter but a massive stage production coupled with a huge back catalogue of hits and strong new songs made for a very strong live show: 9.5/10.
The winner of our competition for tickets to the show also posted a review of the show, which you can check out here: https://evienotthepokemon.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/review-all-time-low-3arena-feb-16th-2016/.