When We Were Young Totem at this year's festival

MP3 TAKES: When We Were Young 2023 Was a Pop-Punk Superbowl (REVIEW)

Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.

With massive lines to get in, it was nearly impossible to see any of the opening bands at this year’s When We Were Young festival. Even worse, people in line were hot and in need of water in the Las Vegas sun. Thankfully, there was plenty of free water offered inside the festival, alongside free water bottle refilling stations around the festival grounds. Additionally security handed out water to the first few rows of people riding the rail all weekend long.

There was lots of shade to be found while first checking out the different stages and getting your bearings inside the venue, but later on when the crowd showed up by the thousands, shade was hard to find. Luckily once the sun went down this was no longer an issue. 

It was nice to see giant posters all over the venue reading “See Something Say Something.” Encouraging consent and taking care of one another is alway a plus at any music event, but especially a festival of this size. Inside the venue it felt as if everything was made with marketing in mind, but it was sort of cute. People actually wanted to take a picture with all of the When We Were Young logos and pop punk art installations around the festival grounds, that way they could all let Instagram know they witnessed Tom DeLonge‘s monumental return to the stage with Blink-182.

All in all, When We Were Young was an unforgettable experience. The surprise guests alone were enough to blow your mind. Avril Lavigne came out and sang “Fake as Hell” with All Time Low. Tony Hawk made an appearance on stage to sing with Goldfinger. The list goes on.

Now let’s jump into our three favorite sets. 

Green Day: Laughing, Crying, and Singing Our Hearts Out

Billie Joe Armstrong performing with Green Day at When We Were Young.
Billie Joe Armstrong performing with Green Day. Shot by Jesse Edelman.

For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while. We had the time of our lives — and other relatable song lyrics.

Watching Billie Joe Armstrong was mesmerizing. He was able to orchestrate the crowd in a way that fully picked the energy up, despite an obvious fatigue from a generally older emo crowd. Thankfully, Armstrong had fun with that demographic, firing off light hearted jokes throughout the set and playfully  mocking the crowd until they played along, eventually singing even louder than the band. 

There were plenty of heart warming moments too; during the set, Armstrong brought some younger fans on stage to play to lay along with the band on the guitar and tambourine. One of those kids was actually gifted the guitar as a momento. Who knows, maybe a rockstar was born that night.

Blink-182: A Journey Down Memory Lane, and Into the Future

Blink-182 performing at the When We Were Young festival
Blink-182. Shot by Quinn Tucker.

All the Small Things about this set made everyone ask “What’s My Age Again?” and shout “Dammit.” Blink-182 always hits you in the feels. 

The feeling of the entire venue singing songs new and old is difficult to describe. These were clearly die hard fans — it almost felt as if this was a Blink-182 show and everyone else was a support act on the bill.

The crowd was filled with fun and playful costumes full of Blink-182 nostalgia. Between seeing so many Enema of the State nurses and every other guy dressed like Armstrong or Mark Hoppus, it truly was a sight to see. 

Unfortunately Blink-182 didn’t let any photographers into the photo pit besides their own team, which was a bit of a let down. But, that didn’t stop us from losing our voice screaming “Where are you, and I’m so sorry”. 

The Rock Show is over and I guess this is growing up. 

30 Seconds to Mars: a Life-Changing Experience

Jared Leto performing with 30 Seconds To Mars. Shot by Jesse Edelman.
Jared Leto performing with 30 Seconds To Mars. Shot by Jesse Edelman.

With perfectly timed pyrotechnics, Jared Leto running through the crowd inside the pit, and the band bringing all photographers on stage for their biggest song, 30 Seconds To Mars went in for The Kill. 

Blink 182 may not have let us take close up photos of them, but 30 Seconds to Mars totally made up for it by inviting us to stay in the photo pit the entire set an invited all photographers on stage in front of 80,000 people singing and dancing to their biggest hit, “The Kill.” From start to finish, this one was magical.



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