Fans camped out all day in preparation for Waterparks' first headliner in St. Petersburg. After a long and hot wait, the fans rushed into Jannus Live, ready for a night to remember. Sophie Powers and Hunny opened up the night with high-energy sets that blew the crowd away. As the sun set just before Waterparks came on stage, it started to rain. Jannus Live being in an outdoor venue in Florida, it is often prone to experiencing wet weather. Ironically for a band called Waterparks, this was their first show in the rain in about five years, according to frontman Awsten Knight.
Waterparks opened their set with "ST*RFUCKER" which is also the opener for their latest album Intellectual Property. Knight wore a thick red snow jacket for the first two tracks which fans believe introduces his alter ego Soulsucker. The jacket was removed after playing "Numb", the only track from their fourth album Greatest Hits to be played in its full length on this date.
We then traveled to what could only be 2018, with their song "Rare", the crowd screamed out of excitement and sang along to every word. Knight began to wear makeup of red stars over each of his eyes on this tour, when in the past, wearing obvious makeup wasn't a part of their live shows. Fans again believe this to be a part of Soulsucker's identity. The makeup is more obvious once the jacket is removed before "Rare".
Of course, Waterparks' hit "Stupid For You" is played next to keep up with the late 2010's Waterparks vibe. Fans begged for some older songs, and Waterparks delivered, bringing back "Crave" from their 2016 EP Cluster. Fans were especially excited about this since it's one of the only tracks where guitarist Geoff Wigington sings a verse.
We are then introduced to more tracks from Intellectual Property, "BRAINWASHED", "2 BEST FRIENDS", and "FUCK ABOUT IT". We then visit their 2019 album, Fandom, with their track "War Crimes", and the mosh pits get larger and more active with this heavier track! The heaviness continued when the crowd chanted for drummer, Otto Wood, and Knight asked Wood if he "got somethin'?"
Wood then played the iconic "Group Chat", and Knight told the crowd to form a circle pit. They then replayed the track five times with screamo vocals from Knight and lots of moshing.
Still in our Fandom era, up next were "[Reboot]", "Royal", and "Telephone". Though "Royal" is featured on Waterparks' first album Double Dare, it fits right in place between these two upbeat Fandom tracks. The lights went dark red, and the crowd got rowdy when "RITUAL" began. One of Waterparks' heaviest tracks, which features vocalist Vincente Void on the studio version. The Waterparks fanbase is no stranger to crowd surfing and moshing, but shock set in seeing a bigger moshpit than I've personally seen at most hardcore shows. Giving us all whiplash, Knight slowed things down as Wood and Wigington left the stage.
Knight played acoustic snippets of "I'll Always Be Around", "Just Kidding", "21 Questions", "Lucky People", and "Snow Globe". These snippets changed every night and St. Pete was lucky enough to get these amazing, emotional tracks.
Wood and Wigington came back on stage for their hit "I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don't Wanna Die Anymore", which despite the name is a very upbeat poppy track especially live. The next song is arguably the most emotional track on this setlist, "CLOSER". Many fans were spotted crying, slow dancing with a significant other, or just simply swaying and softly singing along. You could easily tell this track meant a lot to Waterparks and their fans. The last track pre-encore was "A NIGHT OUT ON EARTH" which brought the crowd back to the high-energy atmosphere. The encore consisted of moshpit favorites, "REAL SUPER DARK" and "Turbulent", then closed out the night with the summer '22 classic "FUNERAL GREY".
All in all, Waterparks puts on one of the best audio-visual live performances I have ever seen. Every Waterparks show will one-up the other. With constant and insanely talented growth, who knows how far Waterparks is going to get? From opening at venues like these to selling them out on their own headline tour, they keep pushing limits. We can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the future.
All images and videos by Nolan Fisher.