Blink-182: What's their age again?By DARRYL STERDAN
Last Updated: 3rd August 2009, 1:38am
Sunday, Aug. 2
With Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects
Sun Rating: 4 out of 5
There's a big difference between reuniting and reforming.
Just look at Blink-182: After a four-year hiatus, they've reunited, sure. But reformed? Forget it; they're still the same goofballs they've always been.
That was made abundantly clear on Sunday night, when the pop-punk power trio blew the roof off MTS Centre with the seventh show of their 10-day-old comeback tour. Singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge, bassist Mark Hoppus and tattooed drummer Travis Barker are all in their mid-30s these days, but you'd never know it to look at them — from their T-shirts and jeans to Barker's shorts and backwards baseball cap, they fit right in with the arenaful of pumped teens who sang, screamed, moshed and crowdsurfed for the duration of their 100-minute show (when they weren't lined up 50 deep at the merch tables picking up their own $35 T-shirts, that is). And while the musicians are clearly still working out a few kinks in their live set, their performance packed all the pop-punk frenzy and firepower you'd expect from kids half their age (that goes double for the insanely hyperactive Barker) — and all the tomfoolery you'd expect from guys with albums titled Enema of the State and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.
The mood was set even before they took the stage — their intro music was Wang Chung's Everybody Have Fun Tonight. That is precisely what the Blinkers set out to do, tearing through a 23-song set list built around tunes from 1999's Enema, 2001's Pants and Jacket, and their self-titled (and slightly more grownup) disc from 2003 — with a few cuts from their first two albums just to keep things from getting too, you know, serious.
Actually, that's one of the strange things about Blink. While they clearly love a sophomoric title, a dirty joke and a well-placed belch as much as the next (arrested) adolescent, the bulk of their lyrics consist of surprisingly, strikingly sincere tales of teenage angst, yearning, confusion and heartbreak — delivered with a blend of bittersweet melody, buzzsaw guitars and Barker's frantically complex drumming. As expected, all of those elements were present in spades on Sunday night, as the band moved between lighthearted fare like The Rock Show and What's My Age Again? (which really oughta be their motto), barnburners like the appropriately titled Reckless Abandon, and more downbeat numbers like I Miss You and the suicide tale Adam's Song (which served as the evening's Bic lighter ballad).
But while the band may take its music seriously on occasion, between songs, all bets are off. Thankfully, the annoying puerile gags and expletive-filled 30-second ditties that are often part of their set were nowhere to be found on Sunday. Maybe it was because the band seemed seriously impressed with the wildly enthusiastic reception they were getting, and were more focused on the job at hand. Even so, there were plenty of opportunities to yuk it up. When somebody tossed a bra onstage early in the show, DeLonge leapt on it like manna from heaven, whisking it away for examination "to see if this bra is worthy of being onstage." He returned moments later with his verdict: "34C! ... Dude, your mom rocks!" Later, he mocked Pete Wentz from opening act Fall Out Boy, who had the temerity to leave Blink's show in mid-set. "Dude, I watched your whole f---ing show!" DeLonge whined, asking the crowd to boo Wentz. For his part, Hoppus tried to dedicate All the Small Things to Wentz — only to be informed they weren't playing it for another three songs, at which point he had to repeat his whole spiel.
OK, so maybe they don't have the wittiest repartee. Or the fanciest stage — their set was pretty minimalist, with just their gear and little else, and none of the ramps, runways or satellite stages that seem mandatory these days. But they made up for it with the requisite eye-candy light show, which included all the computerized bells and whistles: Moving trusses, plenty of strobes, and six round video screens situated in two rows behind the band. Set within an interconnecting grid of fluorescent-style tubes and a wall of mini-lights, it all resembled something between a high-tech TV test pattern and and a classic arcade game (a cartoon rabbit that kept cropping up in their videos added to the effect).
The other big moment of rock-concert spectacle came during the Tommy Lee-style drum solo, when Barker and his kit — which was set atop a giant replica of a Technics turntable — flew several metres up into the air, spinning around as it tilted at precarious angles and as Travis bashed away to hip-hop samples. (After surviving a plane crash, he deserves some serious points for doing that every night.)
After Barker got back on the ground, the band closed with another pair of slam-bang oldies titled Carousel and Dammit. While inflatable windsock-men danced and confetti blowers worked overtime on the latter, Hoppus went offscript and sang the lyrics from Fall Out Boy's Sugar, We're Going Down, leaving DeLonge to belt out the song's actual refrain: "I guess this is growing up."
Well, not really, dude. But it'll do for now.
• • •
Something else that will have to do for now: The middle set from Wentz and Fall Out Boy. Their 45 minutes was chock full of gems from last year's Folie a Deux, 2007's Infinity on High and 2004's From Under the Cork Tree — including This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race, Thnks fr th Mmrs, I Don't Care and America's Suitehearts — along with an abbreviated cover of Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. But they still left the crowd (including me) wanting more. A lot more. Wentz, who also happens to be married to Ashlee Simpson, also scored ample brownie points by praising Canada's health-care system and drinking age, along with Winnipeg's own Weakerthans. Here's hoping they come back as headliners next time around.
Opening act All-American Rejects also got a strong reception — even though they've apparently decided to morph into a ’70s-style rock band, complete with a bare-chested, tight-trousered singer who spent almost as much time taunting the crowd ("Are you scared of the sparkle?") as he did singing and prancing. Guess we should have known what we were in for when they used Grand Funk Railroad's We're an American Band as their intro music.
The Rock Show
What's My Age Again?
I Miss You
Stay Together for the Kids
Going Away to College
All the Small Things
Anthem Part 2
Premio TCBTE Blinkers Awards Primavera 2009
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Mark, Tom o Travis? : Mark ♥
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