It was about 3pm when the overwhelming excitement hit, work got steadily less productive, my leg started jumping up and down, it was almost time. Blink-182 is one of those bands that I listened to obsessively back in the 90’s; they were one of the first bands that I chose to listen to myself as opposed to what my parents were playing. Even when they went on hiatus back in 2005 they were still a band guaranteed to bring a smile to the faces of Generation Y. When “Neighborhoods” was released back in 2011 I knew this moment was coming, I was going to live my childhood fantasy and actually see Blink-182 live one day. While not everything went according to plan, it was still a night to remember.
Blink- 182. The legends of punk rock. Wish people showed a little more respect for these guys as they are still at their best more than 20 years on.
After some commuter difficulties involving a veritable “Platform 9 3/4” at Lidcombe station, things had not got off to a particularly good start.Despite the complete chaos that was transport, I wasn’t going to lose hope, I was going to see Blink-182, this was going to be an amazing night.
Standing in the queue lasted for about an hour before security let us start to trickle into the mosh, at this point the excitement was palpable, the people there that early were all keen to bask in the soundtrack of their childhood. Before long the first support act Sharks took to the stage, I hadn’t heard them before and the fact that they weren’t a local supporting act surprised me but I settled in with an open mind. Their lead singer, James Mattock, definitely channels his vocal inspiration from Morrissey, they would have perhaps been better if he was less focused on this but they did their job and got people excited.
After a quick changeover The Vandals were on and rapidly whipped the crowd into a frenzy. They were on top form, playing a stream of classics; by this point the pit was starting to grow as more people moved forward to get caught up in the moment. The band have established a good stage presence over the years and switched effortlessly between playing and bantering with the crowd. They played together so cohesively that it was a shame to see them leave the stage, even if it meant that the headline would be on soon enough. Unfortunately at this point there were a few undesirables joining the crowd, people who weren’t there for the nostalgia, they were there to get drunk and because it’s “cool” to go to gigs these days; but I digress.
A massive black curtain descended over the stage to hide the set up and projector screens were lowered into the surrounding area. By this point the entire place was packed out, including the nosebleed seats right up on the side of the stage where you can see virtually nothing. Hallelujah, the moment had come and no hipster with a stupid gold head band and a shirt for a dress was going to stop me from having a great time. And by god I was not disappointed.
If you thought that the boys from Blink would have grown up any since their last Australian tour you are sorely mistaken, Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge were firing off quips about each others mothers and genitals like there was no tomorrow. Some of the highlights included:
“My Grandmother is a freak in the sheets and a freak on the streets”
“I need a back rub. On my penis. With you mom’s mouth”
“I need to keep picking at my underwear, I’m getting camel toe on my balls”
The show was full of energy from both the crowd and the men on stage. At times the show seemed to get a bit serious under the weight of their more recent songs which are less humorous than the tracks that made them famous; but just as you started to loose the energy, they’d play a classic like “The Rock Show” or “All The Small Things” and everything was back in high spirits. A very special mention to Brooks Wackerman the Bad Religion drummer who filled in for Travis Barker who understandably couldn’t make it out to Aus this time round. Wackerman said all of one word the entire show but was amazing on the kit, particularly for a last minute addition to the line up. So despite the girl who asked me if “Dumpweed” was a cover of some other band it was an intense and amusing night.
The encore started off with a 3-song acoustic set that had me shushing the VIPs in the sound & lighting booth behind me so I could bask in the beauty of the music. The electric guitars where picked up again and of course they pulled out “Carousel” and “Dammit” to the explosion of silver confetti and the screams of fans. To finish off they reminded everyone there that they were still the group of boys making dick jokes by playing off with the very vulgar “Family Matters” and throwing merch into the crowd of adoring fans who had had their faith reaffirmed. Hoppus ran on stage one last time to send everyone out with one last resounding cord on his bass.
I remember on the night being incredibly frustrated at all the little annoying things happening around me and thinking to myself in between sets about how my review of the show was going to sound incredibly jaded and cynical. But looking back, reflecting and writing, all I can think about is how the amazing opportunity of seeing a band I’ve been waiting over thirteen years to see and having them come through in the best way possible just overshadows everything else.
BLINK-182 SET LIST:
Up All Night
The Rock Show
What’s My Age Again?
Dogs Eating Dogs (live debut)
I Miss You
The Legend of Pat Brown (The Vandals cover, played through half before giving up)
Disaster (live debut)
Heart’s All Gone
Ghost on the Dancefloor
All the Small Things
Reckless Abandon (acoustic)
All of This (acoustic)
Boxing Day (acoustic, live debut)
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