An All-Time Good Time With All Time Low

Words by Julian Mauricio
Photos by Joel H. Garcia


My love affair with All Time Low’s discography began in 2013 when I fell in love with someone who was way out of my league. I was too much of a chicken to shoot my shot, so instead, I spent my days shuffling around town with my headphones over my ears, my heart in my throat, and an icy feeling in the pit of my stomach while listening to “A Daydream Away.” 


It’s been over a decade since then, and I’ve grown and changed in so many ways. But one thing hasn’t changed: how big a fan I am of the band. Sadly, despite their frequent visits to the Philippines—six times in their 20-year career—I had never seen them live. So when I finally found myself at the Araneta Coliseum for the Manila leg of All Time Low’s Forever tour, I was beside myself with excitement—and it seemed that the band felt the same way too.


“We’re back! The energy here is fucking crazy,” exclaimed lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth during their opening number. They began with “Tell Me I’m Alive” and segued into “Some Kind of Disaster,” which flowed into “Weightless.” My ears perked up when they played one of my personal favorites, “Lost in Stereo.” That one had me bouncing so hard I dropped my phone. Also, may I take this opportunity to give a special shout-out to Rian Dawson? His drumming is one of the main reasons I got into All Time Low, and I wasn’t disappointed when I saw him live. He was just as energetic as he seemed in all the videos I’ve watched of him over the years.



During the show, Alex took a moment to reflect on the band’s journey: “We started this band all the way back in 2003 in Rian’s parents’ basement. Now, we’re playing halfway around the world to all of you guys. Twenty years into a career… this is pretty fucking wild, you guys. We wanted to start the show off by throwing it all the way back and playing a bunch of old songs. I hope that’s OK.”


For the crowd, it was more than OK—it was a dream come true. The band led us through what felt like a greatest-hits album come to life. Alex joked they’d play 85 songs, and while they didn’t exactly do that, they did play 31. They didn’t play everything in full—“Dirty Laundry” was abridged—but that didn’t matter. Their Manila set still ended up being their longest ever, which made the Araneta Coliseum crowd insanely happy.

They played songs like “Six Feet Under The Stars,” “Weightless,” “Shameless,” “Jasey Rae,” and “Vegas,” interspersed with surprise tracks like “Remembering Sunday” and “Time Bomb.” The Forever tour’s ever-changing setlists, dependent on the band’s whims, meant that every show was unique. They also played snippets of “Somewhere in Neverland,” “Stay Awake,” and others. The reaction to the familiar intro of “Remembering Sunday” was electric, with the crowd belting out the iconic bridge with passion. As of this writing, the Filipino crowd remains the only one to have witnessed the band play this song live on this tour, making that particular number even more special for everyone present.



Personally, I was hoping for “A Daydream Away,” although I suspected they might not play it because it’s not exactly a crowd favorite. To be honest, over the years I’ve felt like I was the only one in the world who still remembered that song. But I digress.


One thing that struck me is that although the band had no elaborate stage setups, no tightly choreographed dance routines, and no ostentatious display of pyrotechnics, the audience was captivated from start to finish. I guess it’s true what they say: a real musician can make a great show out of anything, no matter how small. In other words, if you have the charisma, talent, and attitude, you can give your audience their money’s worth without having to resort to too many bells and whistles. And that’s exactly what All Time Low did. 


Songs like “Monsters,” “Backseat Serenade,” and “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)” sounded even better in person than they ever did in my headphones. But I’ll never forget what happened when the band did a stripped-down version of “Glitter & Crimson.” This song led to one of the night’s most beautiful moments, with Alex inviting the audience to illuminate the venue with their cell phones, transforming the venue into a twinkling sea of stars. I whipped out my phone and tried my best to preserve the scene in my Camera Roll, despite my hands shaking and goosebumps breaking out all over my arms. I got chills because, as cheesy as it sounds, it felt like everyone in attendance was united for those three glorious minutes, swaying and waving their devices high in the air in time to the gentle strumming of Alex’s guitar.



Later, the band gave a shout-out to Avril Lavigne, their collaborator on the 2023 single “Fake As Hell.” As I thought, the band didn’t play “A Daydream Away.” But personally, they made up for it with a particularly stirring rendition of “Missing You.” I got so caught up in the performance that I forgot myself and screamed the line, “Fuck the world, ‘cause it’s my life, I’m gonna take it back,” at the same time Alex sang it. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one in the Big Dome who did. However, as loud as I got during that song, I fell silent when they broke out “Therapy.” There was a time in my life when I struggled with my mental health, and the professional I was seeing then wasn’t a good fit. I listened to “Therapy” ad infinitum at the time—the song spoke to the frustration I was feeling.


Many years later, I felt the exact opposite, as did Alex, who declared he was “having such a good fucking time,” much to the delight of the crowd. He also gave a shout-out to PULP Live World. I later learned that All Time Low has worked with them every time the band has come to Manila, starting with their Young Renegades tour in 2017 and continuing through their last visit in 2022. Alex described working with the PULP Live World team as “a pleasure” and added, “I don’t ever want to stop playing in Manila.”


You sure, Alex? You better be, because you know we Filo Hustlers will hold you to that.



All told, the concert reminded me why I love live music. As convenient as it is to be able to listen to your favorite songs on the go, streaming music and video can’t hold a candle to the feeling of experiencing a band you look up to live after so many years. It goes beyond hearing and seeing—you have to be there to understand what I mean. I definitely had an all-time good time with All Time Low.