Outside Lands (Day 1) Kicks Off On A Pop Note With Twenty One Pilots, The Lumineers, Blink-182 (FESTIVAL RECAP/PHOTOS))

Outside Lands returned to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the festival’s 12th edition. You couldn’t have asked for a better day to kick off the event, with afternoon temperatures hovering in the 70s under pristine blue skies. The crowd arrived early and in force, with massive audiences ultimately gathering for both the headliners (Twenty One Pilots and The Lumineers) by the time the evening came to an end. Here are five acts that stood out from the first day of the festivities:

AURORA

With the afternoon sun illuminating the Twin Peaks Stage, AURORA got the crowd hyped with bouncing electronic beats and unbridled positivity. “This next song is about many things, but I guess most of all respect, equality, love,” lead singer Aurora Aksnes said as she introduced “Queendom”. At the climax of the track, she extended her hand to the crowd at multiple points, declaring, “You have a place in my queendom.” The Norwegian group closed out their set with “Daydreamer”. As Aksnes bounced and twirled jubilantly over the frenetic beat and rapid-fire drum hits, the crowd eagerly clapped along.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne brought his high spirits to the Land’s End Stage. One of his greatest assets was his live band, with a bassist, guitarist and drummer all joining him and his DJ onstage. The bandmates gave the set a loose, jazzy feel as Lil Wayne cruised through some of his more downtempo hits like “Mrs. Officer” and “Can’t Be Broken”. The latter half of the set saw the crowd turn up with bangers like “A Milli” and “I’m Going In.” He even gave a fresh spin on Lil Nas X’s smash “Old Town Road” and let his effortless flow rip on “Let It Fly” with minimal backing instrumentation — reminding the crowd why he’s one of the most influential emcees of the past couple of decades.

Blink-182

Blink-182’s set stood out for how it differed from earlier gigs on this tour, which is throwing it back for the 20th anniversary of Enema of the State. Here, the band didn’t open with that classic record front to back (as they did at Warped Tour). Instead, they got the crowd going from the start with two of their other big hits, “Feeling This” and “The Rock Show.” Bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Matt Skiba hit their stride with their joint vocals on “Bored to Death”. And Blink-182 got the crowd singing along passionately to “I Miss You.” As compared to, say, Warped Tour, the crowd at Outside Lands was much more subdued with only a handful of crowd surfers making it toward the front. However, the California rockers sparked some huge singalongs with major hits like “All the Small Things” and “Dammit.”

And throughout, the band kept up their winking, sophomoric sense of humor. Hoppus broke into a “wetsuit, wetsuit cover me” chorus, joking about the first night’s headliner, Twenty One Pilots. Skiba also squeezed in some self-effacing ad libs, like “Marks are such a drag!” (on “Dysentery Gary”) and “I need a Travis I can train” (on “Dumpweed”).

And speaking of Travis Barker, the veteran drummer was at the heart of the set with his intricate and rapid drum beats, as his kit was flanked by flames. His driving, primal energy stood out on his drum solo, as well as “Violence” and “Reckless Abandon”.

Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots showcased their ascendency to bona fide festival headliner with their set that closed out the Land’s End Stage. Like on their epic arena tour, the duo brought along their fiery set pieces (torch and burned-out car included). Bassist/vocalist Tyler Joseph got the crowd moving from the get-go with the slamming bass line of “Jumpsuit.” He also showed his excellent command of the crowd with the “yeah yeah yeah!” chant of “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.” For casual and hardcore fans alike, their set was just a ton of fun, from drummer Joshua Dun’s high-flying acrobatics on “Holding on to You” to Tyler catching some serious air by leaping off the piano on “Stressed Out.” The duo even incorporated a new festival-ready cover of “Jump Around” to get the eager crowd moving.

The Lumineers

On the other side of the festival, The Lumineers were closing out the Twin Peaks Stage. The latter half of their set was chock full of hits like “Ophelia” and “Gloria” — perfect for park listening while in the midst of towering trees. On “Big Parade”, the band hit a breakdown where all the musicians froze in place. Slowly, lead singer Wesley Schultz raised his arm before kick starting the jam back into gear. They followed with “Angela”, and their pianist jumped atop his piano to implore the crowd to clap along. Then the folk rockers unleashed “Stubborn Love”. Schultz urged the crowd to sing along in hushed tones before building up to a cathartic release to emphatically close out the first night of Outside Lands.

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