When that springtime sunshine peeks through the gloomy winter clouds, it’s officially both music and baseball season in Arizona. Innings Festival brings these two American pastimes together each year for two days of music, food and sports and this year was bigger and better than ever. Day one boasted Green Day as the epic headliner, backed by The Black Crowes, Weezer and much more.
Fans rushed the gates for their chance to be right at the barricade for Green Day- despite the band not going on for another eight hours- and Tempe Beach Park slowly filled with over 20,000 fans for a sold out day. Atlas caught all the action from the pit as we enjoyed the first warm day of the season.
Food, Fans and Fun
Innings Festival loves to celebrate not only the music, but the food and festivities that really round out a solid fest weekend. Fans lined up for a plethora of food options while also taking advantage of the alcohol-sponsored cabanas and activities. The event also encouraged sustainable practices with their reusable plastic cups and recycling options throughout the park.
As the crowds swelled into massive numbers, these little oases were a nice respite from the bottleneck near the main stage. Attendees also made their way to the actual baseball diamond for appearances by former Major Leaguers who sat down to talk with Ryan Dempster and meet fans all day.
The Category Is: Rock ‘n’ Roll
From our first set of the day with The Glorious Sons, rock music ruled. The Home Plate stage faced directly into the sun but each band basked in the warmth and gave the growing crowd their all. We then made our way to the Right Field stage for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness- a joyful, uplifting set that brought McMahon both up on top of his battered piano and down into the crowd with his rainbow parachute.
The wind was blowing, dust was in the air and still the audience lifted hands and voices for The Pretty Reckless’ heaving rocking set. The breeze was certainly a paid actor for day one as singer Taylor Momsen’s hair whipped around and got the crowd riled up.
The sunset brought our other favorites in Weezer to the main stage and they delivered a set of straight hits (at this stage of their prolific career, opening with “Beverly Hills” is just a flex). A bespectacled Rivers Cuomo shredded through “Hash Pipe” and the band’s infamous cover of Toto’s “Africa”. Beyond getting to watch Weezer play was also watching the generation-spanning crowd all singing to these songs that defined childhoods and opened windows of musical discovery for so many people over the years. They closed with “Buddy Holly” and got the stage ready for the night’s main event.
Before we got to witness Green Day tear the place down, The Black Crowes put their own funky spin on the Right Field stage. They definitely came to party and brought the whole house with them- the perfect warmup for the end of the evening.
Green Day is undeniably a hugely influential band in modern rock- they broke out songs from every era but could have played another two hours and barely scratched the surface of their catalog. They kicked things off with a double-header of “American Idiot” and “Holiday” before jumping into older hits like “Longview” and “Welcome to Paradise”.
The band brought their pyrotechnics as well, adding flashbangs and fireworks to “21 Guns” and “Jesus of Suburbia”. Billie Joe Armstrong sprinted up and down the length of the stage while Mike Dirnt gave the fans his best goofy rock faces and Tre Cool blew our minds behind his drum kit.
We observed as fans of all ages in the iconic black button down/red tie combo lifted their rock horns to the sky and responded eagerly when Armstrong demanded we all sing louder and louder.
We closed out day one with a swaying sing-along to “Good Riddance”, shuffling out of the park to prep for another day at the rock show.
Check out all the photos from day one of Innings Festival!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel