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  • Chantal Charles

Concert Review: Waterparks-Sneaking Out of Heaven in Houston

There’s never a dull moment when you’re a Waterparks fan, and with their Sneaking Out of Heaven tour, this message remains true. This tour is certainly the band's most ambitious tour to this date, as they have created a theatrical spectacle that will leave you laughing, crying, and most likely in pain for days after from the intensity of it all. The Houston band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Awsten Knight, guitarist Geoff Wigington, and drummer Otto Wood. The tour was named after their most recent single, “Sneaking Out of Heaven,” which was released in October of last year. Hometown shows are always special for the band, and selling out House of Blues only made the show extra special.

Our day began very early; we traveled back from the Dallas show that morning and arrived at the venue as early as we could. Fans were very eager for this show and had been camping out since the night before. They were all very organized and implemented a system where numbers would be assigned to a person every time they would arrive. Different numbers were given for VIP and GA ticket holders. This system made sure no line-cutting took place, as well as allowed fans to leave the venue without having to lose their spot. Arriving at a venue hours before a show start isn’t as boring as it sounds. We all had fun interacting with our internet friends, signing pride flags, and making friendship bracelets.

Every major fan of an artist dreams of meeting their favorite musician, and this is exactly what Waterparks always tries to make come true on every tour. Meet and greet is always such a special moment for Waterparks fans, they have their chance to tell the band whatever they please and even bring them gifts if they wish. It’s always fun to see online everyone’s wacky poses they wish to do for their picture. After the meet & greet comes a quick Q&A for fans to have a moment to ask the band whatever questions they’d like. Once this is done, the band leaves and it’s time for doors to open. The first band to open was Pollyanna, a spunky band from New Jersey who certainly knew how to ignite the venue. The band exudes vibrant sounds, they’re exactly the kind of band you want present for this kind of tour. The second opener of the night was Loveless, and this band knew how to get everyone up dancing a screaming. The band’s performance left you wishing for more as it came to a short end, but so much was accomplished for their set in such little time.

Waterparks have outdone themselves with their set this tour. The stage backdrop consists of screens that play detailed visualizers for each song, all bringing to life the story each song encompasses. Leave to Waterparks to find the perfect blend between music and color theory. You can see this in the lighting throughout the show connects with the theme of the music. The entire concert is so detail-oriented that it makes you want to attend every date just to be able to catch every artistic choice. Similar to a play, the set changes throughout the show, from a projected screen to a piano being brought on stage. The setlist for this tour is for all kinds of fans, old and new. The show opens with “Watch What Happens Next” from the band's third studio album. Fandom. One of the highlights of the setlist is a melody composed of multiple songs from their fourth album, Greatest Hits. The melody is an energetic spiral where each transition leaves you feeling overwhelmed, in a good way.  The band features a cover of Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I.” A nice touch during this performance was the visualizers that included different scenes from romance films.

With this era of Waterparks, there is an exploration of the religious guilt that stems from the damaging teachings of the church. At one point in the show, a screen is placed in front of the set where we see a projection that expresses the religious trauma one feels for simply being oneself. The band has always made an effort to create a safe space for their fans to be whomever they please, and this moment in the show only proves that. The psychological damages that are birthed from unattainable ideals expected by religious teachings are ones that can be difficult to separate ourselves from, but there is a possible exit once you find that inner strength. This “religious guilt” interlude elevates the performance to a level of sophistication of this band’s artistry. Following the interlude is the performance of the song “Soulsucker,” an unreleased track that is the second half of their song “St*rfucker” from their fifth album Intellectual Property.

After this moment of emotional intensity, the band quickly jumps back into their previous energetic high. An exciting moment during the show was when special guest Vincente Void came on stage during Ritual to perform with the band. Throughout the night the crowd was filled with surfers, but a particular favorite moment of mine was when a fan dressed as Jesus crowd surfed to the front where they were lifted into the air as if Jesus Christ was walking on water. These are the kind of moments you only really experience at a Waterparks show. Another memorable moment was when Geoff Wigington brought out his daughter on stage for fans to sing Happy Birthday to her. It was all so precious, and it was sweet to see how important this moment was for the father-daughter duo.

  Before the tour, Awsten Knight was very open about how he had been practicing frequently to perform piano on stage during this tour. Closer to the end of the show a piano is brought on stage for Knight to perform three songs, “High Definition,” “Snow Globe,” and “Crying Over It All.” This section of the show has become a quick favorite for fans online and it’s one we hope stays for future tours. The final encore show was the best ending one could ask for as it’s the time of the night for the audience to go absolutely insane. The mosh pits that developed during these shows were as large as the room could allow, diffusing an energy one only finds at a rock concert. As the band closed off with their final song “Real Super Dark” it was sad to see them go, but Waterparks made sure fans had a night that will stay permanently imprinted in their heads.

Having the opportunity to see Waterparks go from playing as an opening band to then selling out the House of Blues seven years later has been so special to me.  It leaves you emotional to see a band grow and truly develop and perfect their ability to create spectaculars that go above and beyond a normal show. Many fans travel to Houston for a Waterparks hometown show and it’s obvious why. With this tour, the band has gone above and beyond fans' expectations, and it’s hard to see how they will top this in the future, but one has faith that the band never does the same thing twice and always increases their efforts with every project. If you ever get the chance to attend a Waterparks show, I guarantee you will have a night filled with joyous insanity you’ll always treasure.




Written By Chantal Charles

*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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