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Let's Bring Back Boybands: Waterparks Concert Review

February 27th, 2024 (Portland, Oregon)

Waterparks, aka the only band I categorize as "sparkle emo", performed at the Roseland Theater in Portland last week and my friends and I went to see them. Because they'd already toured their most recent album "Intellectual Property" last spring/summer, I wasn't sure what to expect from the setlist. Though I've technically met the band before, this was my first time seeing them in concert, and I didn't leave disappointed.

Everything about the night was wonderful. It just makes such a difference when things go according to plan (for the most part), and I'm one to get anxious about concert-going. But, I was able to get a spot in the second row with a perfect view of the stage with my friends so it went well. The openers were wonderful and brought some great energy to the crowd, but by the time Waterparks came on stage, the theater was packed wall to wall. 

They kicked off the show with "Watch What Happens Next" which, admittedly, is not my favorite song of theirs nor is it my favorite album, but, it was still a wonderful way to kick off the show. Immediately the crowd responded to their energy, specifically lead singer Awsten Knight's. It's well known among fans that Knight spearheads a big portion of the creative side of the band, from album covers to color schemes to stage setups, he does it all. Very talented guy. That being said, I had high expectations for the show since I've seen what he can do. The stage was set up with a big white wall with two doors, and on the walls were frames that had screens showing the visuals. It was an incredibly immersive experience to be in the audience to see all of it. 

I was especially excited when they moved into a medley of songs from their fifth album "Greatest Hits", which is my personal favorite. The medley began with "Fuzzy" which was SO MUCH FUN to see live! The great thing about Waterparks is a lot of their music, even some of the slower songs, still seem to have an incredible energy. The mixing was excellent the whole concert too, I've been to too many in the last year where the vocals were too quiet or I couldn't hear one of the instruments which is always a disappointment. 

Nearing the halfway point of the show, there was a bit of an intermission with a projected visual of what appears to be Knight sitting on a stool. There was a very powerful voiceover monologue that talked about feeling the pressures of different institutions instilling ideas into your head from a young age. This ended up being one of my favorite parts of the show even though there was no actual music being played. 

This monologue was followed by two new songs, "Soulsucker" which is unreleased, and "Sneaking Out of Heaven" which was released after their last tour ended. But, after those two, they played possibly my favorite song of the set, "Magnetic". The opening notes of the song filled the room and it felt as though I had just hit another plane of consciousness because I could just feel how incredible the song was about to be. I hadn't expected to leave with that song being the one I was most impressed with, but it was. Even when I'm just playing that song with headphones in, the way it transcends is one of a kind. The guitarist Geoff Wigington deserves some special recognition too because he did a wonderful job of keeping the energy up. He was able to spin in circles, jump around on stage, and climb up and down off of the platform all while playing the guitar perfectly.


When the singer says something like that, you know the next song is about to go so hard. That song was "Ritual", my most beloved choice off of their album from last April, "Intellectual Property". About halfway through the song, I looked behind me and the pit was going absolutely crazy! The cryo jets went off right at the last drop of the song and it was just all around so much fun to be a part of. 

Every single song was filled with such vivacity and life. Concerts really are what remind me I'm alive and breathing. Those moments are the ones that get me through my daily life, what I do is just all in anticipation for my next concert. So when they played my all-time favorite song "Snow Globe", a song I hadn't expected them to play, I felt quite emotional. That's always been the song of theirs that I've connected with the deepest and got me through a lot of numb nights and repetitive days. Seeing Awsten sit at the piano and play this song is a moment I will never get over. 

The encore was a trifecta of insanity. It started with "Numb", then into "Turbulent" which is another cult classic song, and closed out with "Real Super Dark." The crowd was jumping, there was still moshing happening, and every time I looked to my left someone was crowdsurfing. The mix of energy between both the band and the crowd was one of the most infectious atmospheres I've ever been a part of. That's the magic of being in the pit. 

My friends and I left the venue on such a high. The show was fantastic, and getting to be a part of it with such awesome people made everything even better. Although there were a couple of songs I was a little upset they didn't play, I was satisfied with the entire night. Waterparks made it an unforgettable show!

Here's a little poster I made from the concert!


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