Blink-182 at Xcel Energy Center, 9/7/2011



September 7, 2011

Xcel Energy Center

Who's up for a night of circle pits, poop and masturbation jokes, and poignant reflection? Anyone and everyone in attendance at the Xcel Energy Center for Blink-182 sure was. Despite the many empty seats in the arena (although general audience was sold out), the trio steadily rocked their old hits along with some new material.

[jump] Power-pop duo Matt and Kim and My Chemical Romance opened. I drew parallels to the No Doubt show that took place at the Xcel two years ago to tonight's show, in that No Doubt had Paramore open to include the younger generation in attendance, much like My Chemical Romance did for Blink-182.  Plus Gerard Way has flaming red hair like Hayley Williams, and there must be something about that color that makes a lead singer that much more charismatic.

If you talk to any pop/punk bands that are currently at the peak of their career about which artists they drew influence from when growing up, Blink would most likely be in the blend.  A friend recently told me that what he saw in these guys was himself; three guys who play music and have fun doing it.  If they can do it, why not my friend?  Hence the evolution of the pop/punk scene that has over-saturated the internet.   

Openers Matt and Kim

Openers Matt and Kim

With the group's troubled past within the band, I was expecting there to be some tension or drama, yet everything about the set was typical guy stuff, from the dick jokes to the fact that they were there to have a good time.  Much of that was evident in their stage banter when Tom claimed that, "There are certain thing I did during that last song that made the women here pregnant."  Blink's songs are simple and they've realized that works for them; not everything has to be epic like a Coldplay song.  

Opening with "Feeling This" and "Up All Night,"  Blink didn't really get the crowd moving until "What's My Age Again?" -- which was my theme song when I was 23, because nobody truly likes you when you're 23 and still trying to figure out who you are.  At least, that's how I saw it.    

Not sure if this was intentional or not, but midway through the set, the band preceded "First Date" with "Fuck a Dog."  Freudian slip?  Perhaps not since 90% of their songs have sexual references.

I've always enjoyed the pieces with Mark Hoppus on lead vocals over Tom DeLonge's nasally voice, yet the two blend perfectly when necessary.  For just a trio, the band have a such a full sound, which is a good thing; during My Chemical Romance's set, the vocals were lost within the instrumentation.  In songs like "Happy Holidays, You Bastard,"  Blink resembled the Ramones, playing the song without any frills, in the dark.

Prior to walking offstage for their encore, Mark explained to the crowd that they were going to act like they were leaving, but they'll actually be back in a few minutes. The encore started with Travis Barker's drum solo, which was performed on a rig that rose out over the mass of bodies that was the circle pit -- quite impressive.  

Being back at the Xcel was a culmination of many things for the group; one important one, DeLonge shared, was the last time he was in the building was the day that he wrote a reconciliation letter to Travis to get the band back together.  Taking a line from the group's first single "Dammit," Blink-182 showed that "this is growing up."

Critic's bias: I cannot take my eyes off Travis Barker and his impressive drumming.

The crowd: Middle aged men and women reliving their youth, but also a surprising amount of young teens.

Overheard in the crowd: "This is the first song I ever downloaded off of Napster."

Random notebook dump 1: I was hoping they'd play "Adam's Song," but a friend told me that they haven't played it since the passing of DJ AM.

Random notebook dump 2: The guy sitting in front of me and my concert buddy kept asking us random questions such as, "What's a blog?"  He had no idea that I was covering the show for a blog, so I thought it was odd for him to ask.  My reply was, "An online journal," to which he asked, "Why would anyone ever read that?"  He then proceeded to ask if my friend smoked pot.

For more photos: See our full slideshow of all three acts by Stacy Schwartz.


Feeling This

Up All Night

My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance

The Rock Show

What's My Age Again?


I Miss You

Stay Together for the Kids





After Midnight

Fuck a Dog

First Date

Man Overboard

Ghost on the Dance Floor

All the Small Things

Happy Holidays, You Bastard




Drum Solo



Family Reunion

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