Live Recap: All Time Low's Holiday Weekend Kick Off at House of Blues
All Time Low returned to downtown Chicago’s House of Blues on Friday, December 21st to kick off the holiday weekend.
Fans of all ages flocked to The House of Blues on Friday night, bustling with excitement as they filled the decadent theater from wall to wall. After an opening set from Los Angeles band The Wrecks, the sold out crowd animatedly chatted during the stage changeover. Finally, after the 30 minute stretch, the house lights dimmed and the sound of “We Will Rock You” by Queen surrounded the audience, who clapped, stomped, and sang along while they waited for the four members of All Time Low to hit the stage. Seeing as the show took place a few short days before Christmas, the Queen song transitioned into “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, teasing the crowd one more time before the band finally burst onto the stage.
Once the band members had taken their place on the dim stage, the show began with a flash of bright lights and the opening notes of “Stella” from 2009’s Nothing Personal rang out into the crowd. From the get go, lead singer Alex Gaskarth refused to remain stationary for too long, often leaving his designated spot at the center of the stage to wander closer to the edge of the stage and give attention to every corner of the room. The fans in the crowd matched the band’s lively spirit, loudly singing along and jumping to every single song, no matter if it was from the early era of the 2000’s or one of their latest singles like “Everything is Fine,” which they played second. Along with the jumping and dancing that made House of Blues’ floor bounce and shake, fans immediately began crowd surfing and they stayed up for the entire show— with some fans crowd surfing even during the band’s slower songs.
Throughout the night, the unbeatable sense of chemistry and the enthusiastic performance from the four band members kept the mood high, but between songs, the band kept the audience laughing and smiling with their humorous stage banter; with Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat often firing quips back and forth or cracking jokes with audience members. Gaskarth also kept the tone of the night light-hearted by granting passes for normal security faux pas— when introducing the song “Something’s Gotta Give,” he encouraged the crowd to channel their music festival habits, saying, “I understand in this here establishment, we can’t get on shoulders, but I’m gonna need you to get on some shoulders for this.” Fans took a break from crowd surfing for this song to climb on their friends’ shoulders and sway. Things slowed down slightly for “Therapy,” which followed, but the audience’s sing a long still echoed loudly, and some fans put their phone lights or lighters in the air to keep the crowd participation levels up.
Later on in the night, an interaction between Gaskarth and a long-time fan summed up a good portion of the room’s history with the band; When a crowd surfer got pulled over the barricade right at the end of a song, she got lucky enough to catch the singer’s ear and he asked security to let her stop and introduce herself with the microphone. “I looked down and she’s just like HEY I’M CHRISTIE! I WAS 13 WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU,” Gaskarth said, filling in everyone in the balcony and the back of the venue who may have missed the beginning of the interaction. While the crowd on Friday night definitely contained teenagers and some older generations, the majority of the audience members, like Christie, were now in their 20’s and had been listening to All Time Low for more than 10 years— since they were teenagers. And luckily for the fans who have been with All Time Low for years, the setlist for the Chicago show contained a good mix of their discography, filling everyone with nostalgia during the early-day throwbacks. Further catering to the nostalgia, All Time Low ended Friday’s encore with “Jasey Rae” from their 2006 debut album and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” from their 2008 album So Wrong, It's Right. Regardless of how long you’d been listening to the band or how many years you’ve been going to their concerts, there was no denying the feel-good mood of the room and the sense of happiness everyone felt as they left the show that night.
If you missed out on the sold out show, check out photos from All Time Low’s set below.