When We Were Young 2023 Brings Live Debuts, Covers, Guests

Couldn't make it to the second annual When We Were Young Fest in Las Vegas this weekend? Don’t worry, we have all the highlights from this jam-packed festival! As one could expect, the event provided nonstop nostalgia, new tunes, and never-ending energy from millennials who never tire of the pop-punk life.

With headlining performances from Green Day and blink-182, plus appearances from Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, Thirty Seconds to Mars and 50+ more, it was a weekend full of surprises. Here are 5 incredible things that happened during When We Were Young weekend:

Tony Hawk performing “Superman” with Goldfinger

Many know “Superman,” arguably one of Goldfinger’s most famous songs, as the theme for the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game released in 1999. And not only is the band totally okay with this, but they encouraged it even further by bringing Mr. Hawk himself onstage with them! The skateboarding legend belted out verses alongside John Feldmann for a collaboration that’s stood the test of time. And the audience enjoyed every last second of this punk-rock mashup.

Yellowcard’s live debut and collaborators

It’s safe to say that 2023 is the year of Yellowcard. The group wrapped up their Ocean Avenue 20th anniversary trek just a few months back, and released new music for the first time in seven years! Therefore, Ryan Key and Co. knew they’d have to bring their A-game to When We Were Young, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. The Yellowcard set was a blend of nostalgic-meets-new essentials that had the whole crowd singing along to every song!

Between classics like “Ocean Avenue” and “Breathing,” Yellowcard also live-debuted the track “Three Minutes More” from their 2023 EP, Childhood Eyes. They even had a little help from Pierce The Veil frontman, Vic Fuentes! Later on, they went back in time to perform the 2003 hit, “Only One,” with guest vocals from Cassadee Pope…cementing themselves as pop-punk royalty with the best connections.

Guest vocalists galore!

Speaking of surprise guests, there were plenty of them on both days of When We Were Young! Fans got to witness the bonds between these rock bands that have been built up for decades, and it was a beautiful sight. Yellowcard’s Ryan Key sang “Swing Life Away” with Rise Against, adding a melodic element into their hardcore set that fans will never forget. Meanwhile, Tim McIlrath performed “This Is War” alongside Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars!

Some of the more surprising guest stars came out later in the day. Avril Lavigne joined All Time Low for two songs, creating a full-circle moment that started at last year’s When We Were Young. Who remembers when Alex Gaskarth joined Avril’s set in 2022 for a cover of blink-182’s “All The Small Things?” And finally, multiplatinum rapper Lil Wayne joined Good Charlotte for their first performance of “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous'” since 2019. Talk about 2000s nostalgia!

Song covers from in and out of the genre

This year’s When We Were Young fest catered more to the pop-punk, punk-rock, and alternative enthusiasts. However, there was also more than a bit of musical diversity in these bands’ song covers! Simple Plan delivered a three-song medley including “All Star” by Smash Mouth, Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” and “Mr. Brightside” from The Killers. And then there was Sum 41’s take on Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” which lived up to its name and caused a crowd uproar.

Remember the Punk Goes Pop album series you loved in the Warped Tour era? New Found Glory decided on a “punk goes Disney” angle with their heavy cover of “Let It Go” from Frozen! Was it random? Sure…but there’s nothing like seeing a circle pit go nuts over a children’s song. Finally, Green Day ended the night with not only their own massive list of hits, but also a snippet of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” for a metal twist on their punk rock prowess.

New songs from the headliners

When We Were Young was a celebration of rock music in all its glory — past, present, and future. And nobody understood the assignment better than the headliners! Green Day and blink-182 both had stacked setlists consisting of tracks from every decade, and that includes the 2020s.

Fresh off their 2024 stadium tour announcement, blink-182 played not only timeless tracks, like “All the Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again?,” and “The Rock Show,” but also brand-new tunes. These include “DANCE WITH ME,” “EDGING,” and “ONE MORE TIME” from their ninth album, One More Time…, released just a day before the When We Were Young festival!

As for Green Day? They’ve delivered a hearty dose of punk rock since the 1990s, and their When We Were Young set was nothing short of sensational. The show let attendees walk down the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” as they soaked up their “Holiday” under the Las Vegas sun and bid a bittersweet “Good Riddance” to the 2023 When We Were Young festival. See what we did there?

Of course, Green Day also had surprise debut of their new song, “Look Ma, No Brains!,” plus another 2020s track, “The American Dream Is Killing Me.” Billie Joe Armstrong even hinted at a 2024 Green Day tour, which is just fine with us! These new songs from your favorite 90s punk rockers are proof that getting older can be a lot of fun, as was the rest of this marvelous musical weekend.

Green Day setlist

See ALL the setlists from both days here! (Some are still being added)

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Last updated: 21 Feb 2024, 06:43 Etc/UTC