Sunday night saw the Abbotsford Centre sold out and full of fans from as far as Vancouver who had come to see Blink-182, The All-American Rejects, and A Day to Remember. Most of the crowd consisted of fans from Generation Y, reliving a bit of our teenage years, but I was happy to note many new, younger fans also rocking along.
Down below, as the crowd began to file in, DJ Spider played clips from many old ‘90s / ’00s hits that had most people laughing and singing along. Smoke was hanging rather thick in the air as The All-American Rejects took the stage.
They put on a great show, and lead singer Tyson Ritter was hilarious. At one point he mentioned how nice it was to be playing in Canada, especially with the state of the U.S. right now. He jokingly apologized in advance for whatever goes down in November, since they’ll be choosing between a “pile of crap or a giant douche” as their next leader, then added how lucky we Canadians are, because “that Justin guy is the shit!” Ritter then went on to ask if any of us had ever wished we had a time machine, declaring that was what the evening was going to be like: a mother-fucking time machine! Their short set included several old favourites including “Move Along,” as well as some of their newer music, such as the song, “DGAF.” They teased the crowd that they were done and heading off before breaking into probably their most famous track, “Gives You Hell.”
A Day to Remember played next, and though I admittedly wasn’t very familiar with their music, they definitely helped make it a night to remember, with a slightly heavier rock / metal vibe that had the crowd head banging along. Screens in the back of the stage flashed with colourful images and had an almost video game-like motif. At one point the band encouraged a mosh circle, and people began running around in a conga-style circle in the middle of the pit. They began to throw random items into the crowd, including inflatable beach balls, toilet paper, colourful streamers — even a man in a large plastic bubble.
Finally, the centre now fully packed for the main event, a large black curtain hid the stage. People started chanting “Blink!” as more smoke filled the air, the curtain dropped, and the band arrived to the enthusiastic screaming of the fans.
While the large screens in the back continued to switch between visual effects, two flat screens on either side of the stage displayed close up camera angles of the band and images of the cheering crowd. Their performance was full of energy: lots of running around the stage, jumping, sometimes throwing things. Not to be out-done by the opening bands, there were pyrotechnics including flames and fireworks which flashed and blazed, and more toys were thrown into the crowd, including an assortment of blow-up dolls. There was some crowd surfing and other excitement, but overall the crowd was well-behaved and no one got hurt.
At one point during the performance, the fire alarm was set off somehow and the house lights came on. Not sure exactly what was going on, when assured it was not an emergency, Blink simply powered through it, with lead vocalist Mark Hoppus joking that the lights would just let them see how beautiful the crowd was. The lights lasted for about two songs before the arena was finally dark again.
Their set list was a wonderful combination of a lot of their most notable work, as well as a selection from their new album, California. I found myself misty-eyed with nostalgia more than once, singing along to tracks such as “Rock Show,” “All the Small Things,” and “What’s My Age Again?” Since many of the newer songs feel so akin to their older music, they could transition between them easily. Among those played were the popular “Bored to Death,” “Los Angeles,” and “Kings of the Weekend.” Towards the end of the night, a giant confetti gun was fired, filling the air and covering the stage and the front of the crowd with the colourful confetti.
Sadly there was no encore, but of course, like the weekend, all good things must come to an end. All three bands did a wonderful job; the night definitely felt like taking a ride in a time machine, while also enjoying the revival and new era of music being made by the artists.