the nostalgia of seeing my favourite band (for the 9th time…)

2023, music


If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, it may come as no surprise that my favourite band is All Time Low and it has been for a very long time.

I first saw them at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge in 2012 – at only 15 years old, going to see a band with my friends was a military operation and we took hundreds of pictures getting ready in the school toilets and weighing up who had free minutes so we could spend the whole time on the phone from two separate cars. It was an absolute blast and I remember deliberately losing my voice so I could put off doing a performance for my drama exam the following day!

Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2012 – this was as good a picture as I could get in 2012

This began a tradition of seeing my favourite band every year, as I then went to see them in Nottingham the following year where my friend and I played a wonderful game of ‘Spot the Dad’ while we were waiting in the crowd (unfortunately I have no evidence of this one, though I probably have pictures on a hard drive somewhere!).

The third time was a trip to Birmingham in 2014, where we somehow managed to borrow the school mini bus to get a group of us there. I also met the bassist from the Vamps and I was an absolute loser about it. There is probably a picture floating around somewhere but god knows it doesn’t need to see the light of day!

Birmingham 2014

If I thought going to Cambridge was a military operation, getting a group of six teenagers to London Wembley Arena for ‘One Night in London’ (which was filmed and became Straight To DVD II) in 2015 required even more organisation! Getting us all out of school (lol) and on a train, navigating the underground to queue for approximately three hours ahead of the doors opening was nothing short of a miracle! I’ve still not watched the DVD because for some reason having been there makes it feel weird to watch.

Then I went to uni and going to a gig was a fantastic way to meet up with friends I didn’t see very often – first year was full of concerts and in 2016 I saw my favourite band for the 5th time at the O2 in London, which was made extra special because they were supported by another band I love, Against The Current.

London Apollo 2017

The 2017 trip to see All Time Low was a bittersweet one – it was very exciting because they announced a London date, which I bought tickets to go see with my sibling, then they announced a whole tour with a date in Southampton (where I went to uni) which felt like a silly opportunity to turn down, so I saw them in London on the Friday and in Southampton on the Monday. In the middle of all this, my nanny passed away so it was a difficult weekend, but actually going to a concert and thinking about something else for a while was almost certainly what I needed.

London Apollo 2017 – I adore this photo and I’m pretty sure I used it in my final university project too!
Southampton Guildhall 2017

In 2018 I had tickets but there’d been some pretty heavy snow and it was at Alexandra Palace which is a notoriously horrible venue to get to, so I made the very reluctant and sad decision not to go, which broke my streak of seeing them every year but it was probably for the best because I don’t think they did any UK performances in 2019 and we all know what happened in 2020 so it was a streak that was going to end anyway!

London O2 Academy Brixton 2021

Getting back to seeing All Time Low in 2021 felt extra special because it was the first time I’d got to see them with my now-husband – I’ve slowly been converting him into a dedicated All Time Low fan and being able to go to Brixton in 2021 was extra special with him there. I love the O2 Academy in Brixton because they have a tier of unreserved seating and for my old-lady-achy back, it’s lovely to be able to sit down until the main event starts!

And that brings us up to 2023 – another event at London Wembley Arena as we went to see what was essentially an album release party as it’s on the same day as their latest album release ‘Tell Me I’m Alive’. I’m writing this before we leave and I’m so excited to see my favourite boys again. A lot has happened since the first time I saw them in 2012! But to have their music as the one constant thing I can always come back to is something I’ll always be grateful for.

London Wembley Arena 2023

[ post-concert update ]

I wish I had better words to describe how much of a wonderful experience seeing this band is for me – I danced more than I’ve ever danced before without a care for what anyone else around me though. My husband treated me to more merch than he needed to because he is the kindest (and I’m very easily excitable).

We had fantastic seats, which was great for saving my achy back for the main event – especially as there were three support acts and there was approximately three hours between us getting into the venue and All Time Low starting their set!

Games We Play opened their set with a song we know and like, but the opening line is ‘you should get a fucking job’ and as a painfully unemployed person, it hit a bit close to home but in a way that makes you grimace and giggle at the same time. Lauran Hibbard was interesting for sure, I preferred her between-song banter to her songs but she did sing Sk8r Boi so that was fun. Set It Off were the perfect final opener before the main event and have such an amazing stage presence. Major plus points for the lead singer playing a saxophone solo, that made my nerdy I-was-in-the-school-jazz-band heart very happy.

London Wembley Arena 2023

The new album is so heartfelt and so much fun to listen to (I think we managed to listen to it three times all the way through on the drive to Wembley?), the set list actually popped off and made me seriously reconsider which song is my absolute favourite (ultimately, Time Bomb, but Sleepwalking, Somewhere In Neverland and Monsters definitely make top 5).

Here’s to the 10th All Time Low concert, hopefully in 2024!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx