As Alex, Jack, Rian and Zack are raised onstage to the screams and cheers of thousands of fans in Dublin’s 3Arena, there is no denying that All Time Low have come a long way from the small, sweaty shows they’ve played in the Academy and Olympia Theatre over the last eight years.
The Baltimore quartet kick-start the final show of the Back to the Future Hearts Tour with Kids in the Dark, a single from their UK/US number one album, Future Hearts. The three-and-a-half minute song features all the bells and whistles that come with headlining arenas: pyrotechnics, impressive lighting, huge video panels and a fair few bursts of fire for good measure. For a band that have been touring 250 days out of the year since 2007, this level of production definitely adds a whole new sense of excitement to the live shows for both the band and their fans alike.
All Time Low are renowned for their superb live performances and this show was certainly no different. Between Alex and Jack’s onstage banter about floor muffins, St Paddy’s Day and the Madden brothers, many of the band’s new songs proved to be set highlights – Don’t You Go and Dancing with a Wolf both go down a storm live, whilst Bail Me Out featured a fantastic guest performance from Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden. The set list is largely dominated by the band’s newest material – something which may disappoint those wanting to hear more from So Wrong It’s Right or Nothing Personal – but the renewed sense of energy and excitement the new songs create onstage indicates it is a welcomed change in routine for the band. However, they made sure to throw in a few surprises for long-time fans along the way, namely fan-favourite and pop-punk classic Coffee Shop Soundtrack from the band’s first EP Put Up or Shut Up, released in 2006. And, as always, the band closed the show (and the tour) with Dear Maria, Count Me In; a staple part of any ATL set list!
All Time Low’s first arena show was the most exciting Irish gig they have played in over six years. The fact they are able to fill arenas, achieve number one albums and boast one of the most loyal fanbases in the music world can certainly be viewed as a promising sign both for the band’s future and for the potential of today’s pop-punk scene as a whole, but only time will tell. For now, All Time Low are undoubtedly the best that mainstream pop-punk has to offer!