Blink 182 | My Chemical Romance | Manchester Orchestra Verizon Wireless Amphitheater August 19, 2011
Let's review last night's Blink 182 concert by the numbers: The total number of Boomer masks sporting a mustachioed Tom Delonge's face: approximately one million. The amount of times someone offered me pot: four. The number of times someone asked me for it: three. The number of times Tom changed the lyrics of our favorite Blink 182 songs to focus on sex (usually with other men): seven. Total number of "yo mama" jokes between Mark Hoppus and Tom: thirteen. The number that centered on Mark's mom's ass cheeks: three. The number of times Tom called attention to his penis: seven. The number of things we should be surprised by here: zero.
Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge and Travis Barker are, after all, the real-life Lost Boys of a generation of immature punk-pop that has nostalgia to thank for still not outlasting its longevity. A search through the archives shows us nothing has changed: Blink 182 has long cornered the market on dick jokes and giggling at Jell-O for all of us who have progressed only marginally past drinking juice boxes. At least twelve years after their chart-topping heyday and only one month before their next album, this is what the three thirty-somethings have to say for themselves, courtesy of vulgar virtuoso Tom: "I'm gonna show you my dick on song eight. And you're gonna like it."
Even after a particularly rowdy My Chemical Romance stirred up the almost berserker crowd (88 percent of which donned T-shirts supporting one of the two headliners), Blink 182 was still the loudest performance this side of the Richter scale. Songs such as "Feeling This," the perfect opener for what was consistently epic stadium rock, channeled enough nostalgia that the guys could have registered on it. But the overbloated sound quality that comes with corralling thousands into an amphitheater meant Tom started the night wallowing like a beached stegosaurus and was not aided by sound techs until halfway through the set. At that point the Angels and Airwaves singer, sporting a bandana-like head contraption, returned to all the nasal, post-helium glory we all know and love to imitate.
From there, the setlist traveled through the remaining hits with brief stops at forthcoming new material announced with no aplomb: "The Predicament," "Heart's All Gone," "Ghost on the Dancefloor." If the band's live antics and the reactions they earn are any sign, foreshadowing suggests the September album will do well. The new Blink songs, though noticeably more world-weary, sound a lot like the old Blink songs, and that market is still surprisingly open for the band that started it.
In fine PG-13 form, the guys left vulgar Easter eggs in the places fans would least expect. Tucked between the most famous lines of hits such as "First Date" and "All the Small Things" were sexual mistakes shouted by Tom in place of the correct lyrics: "She gives me rimjobs [not roses] on the stairs" and "I want to suck off every dude in the room" were the titter-inducing highlights of those two Blink anthems. (A pit member with a laser pointer also earned this PG-13 chastisement from Tom: "Everyone, slap your dicks on his forehead. He's being rude.")
But the band member with the most onstage star power is, for potentially obvious reasons, the one who doesn't talk. Travis, a man who has never met a shirt sleeve he liked enough to keep, spent the entirety of the concert pounding the drums with a frenzy that found his arms lifted entirely above his head at least half the time. (The man's arm and shoulder muscles look like two boa constrictors that just feasted on sports equipment.) The most significant band interaction took place in the moments when Mark and Tom asked him to show-off for the crowd. What resulted was even more romantic than "First Date"'s dedication to Tom's wife in the crowd: "Travis won't tell you himself, but he's the best drummer in the world. And because we're a band and we love each other, we're going to ask him to show you." The solo, and the show itself, did not disappoint.
Notes and setlist on the next page.
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