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  • Chantal Charles

Concert Review: When We Were Young Festival Las Vegas Day 2

With the death of Vans Warped Tour in 2019, there has been competition as to what would be the next big event that could attain the same popularity and evoke the same wave of emotion for alternative music fans. When We Were Young Fest is still brand new as 2022 was the first year it was done, yet it has already become a highly adored event for its unmatched lineups. The beauty of this festival is that it includes both artists who are older and well-loved, as well as artists who are still fresh in the scene. The feeling of watching all of these legendary bands in one day is unmatched and reminds everyone of the community that comes from music.

The festival takes place in Las Vegas, on the Las Vegas festival grounds near the Circus Circus Hotel & Resort. It’s a two-day event with the same lineup for both dates. I attended day two on Saturday 22nd. The grounds are very large as they have two large stages on one end side by side, and two smaller ones on the other side of the grounds. They also have multiple tents throughout that have food vendors, merch tables, and other activities. There was a wide variety of food vendors at the event to meet whatever cravings you were feeling. They also had a few drink locations that had specialty cocktails in theme with the event. What was especially nice was they had multiple free water stations, which not a lot of festivals do. It shows that they were really looking out for guests. There were many activities and events you could participate in when you weren’t watching bands perform. One that we did enjoy a lot was the X Games skating demonstration. I’m not well-versed in the world of skating but it was still incredible to watch.

Magnolia Park was the first band we watched. It was the second time I’ve seen them live and since then, they’ve certainly gotten better. I had a great time jamming out to their song “Liar.” Motion City Soundtrack is one of those legendary bands from the earlier years I was so intrigued to see. It was fun to experience one of their most popular songs “Everything is Alright” live as it was one of those songs, I remember blasting while walking the halls of high school, even though they were from before my time. Pierce the Veil, well what can I say, true showstoppers are what they are. The band knows how to bring the fire and make everyone feel like a young angry kid in their room again, truly bringing meaning to the name “When We Were Young.” Opening with their track, “Pass the Nirvana,” everyone was immediately enamored by the energy the band brings. Pierce the Veil are true artists, from the throwing and catching of guitars like a trained circus act, to them bringing a folklórico dancer on stage, front and center. As a Latina, I feel very overjoyed to see a band so proud of their Mexican-American heritage and feel honored enough to include it in their performance. While emotions were raging throughout the performance, they hit their peak during “Hold on Till May” when lead singer Vic Fuentes brought a fan on stage, serenaded them, then gifted the fan his guitar. It was truly an unforgettable moment.

5 Seconds of Summer are always a treat to see live. Just by watching them perform together, you can see how, at the end of the day, they’re four best friends who get to have fun playing music together. The band started their performance with their hit single, “She Looks So Perfect,” and it certainly got everyone excited. During “Amnesia” the band brought out Joel Madden of Good Charlotte to sing with them, and watching two generations of artists perform on stage together certainly explored the beauty of the meaning behind the When We Were Young Festival. The band used a few of the elements of their recently completed 5SOS Show Headline Tour, this includes using their large inflatable song dice and throwing it into the crowd to pick a surprise song. In the end, they let the dice keep bouncing in the crowd and just decided to play “Voodoo Doll” instead of letting the dice decide. The band ended with the famous, “Youngblood,” and as the band left the stage, fans were left with heavy emotion as this is the band’s last performance for a while. Every time I see Waterparks perform, this was my eighth time seeing Waterparks live, I am always left highly impressed by the band. The band opened with their song “Numb” and it’s such a phenomenal track and keeps audiences bursting with energy. The band also performed their newest song “Sneaking out of Heaven” and it certainly met the expectations to become another fan-favorite live track. Waterparks finished their set with “Turbulent” and the track is a definite showstopper, allowing fans to go absolutely insane as the band finished their performance.

With band set times being so close to one another, we had to run fast across the festival grounds to get to the other stage in time from Blink-182. The band knows how to keep audiences entertained, even in between songs. The banter between band members is filled with immature jokes that keep fans overjoyed with humor. Notable song performances include “The Rock Show,” “Up All Night,” “Always,” and many more. My personal favorite, “Bored to Death,” was one that left me moved with emotion. The crowd went wild when they played their most recognizable song “All the Small Things” and it certainly was incredible to see multiple generations of fans all sing along. The last song in the band's set was from their recent album, “One More Time.” There’s a reason why so many artists would have never existed without the influence of Green Day, and it’s because they truly are legendary. Opening with their famous, “American Idiot,” ignited a wave of passion throughout the crowd. Green Day has always been such an insanely talented live band, and it’s wonderful to see they haven’t lost an ounce of talent after all these years. “Know Your Enemy” is always a great performance, as they brought a young fan on stage to sing with them. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” had fans screaming with emotion, a feeling unmatched. We also got the live debut of a new song, “Look Ma, No Brains!” Unfortunately, we did have to leave halfway through the set to try and beat traffic, but from what I did get to see was a memory permanently engraved into my head.

A few more notable performances we had the pleasure of seeing include Yellowcard, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Hot Mulligan, and more. The selection of bands this year was truly incredible. What was great was you had major bands, like Green Day and Blink-182, who were influential for so many younger artists and who shaped a part of the music scene, as well as other bands who are newer yet still very established, such as 5 Seconds of Summer or Pierce the Veil. While this festival primarily includes rock or pop punk bands, it's an event that surpasses genres, because what it really is an exploration of music history. There's beauty in seeing multiple generations of fans singing along to the same lyrics and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.

Written By Chantal Charles

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


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