Blink-182 really hates Dallas.
Newly appointed co-lead vocalist Matt Skiba made sure the fans at the Austin360 Ampitheater Wednesday night knew that, spewing praises for the Austin crowd (saying performing there was better than performing in Dallas, “and f*** Fort Worth too!”) and shouting out Gourdough’s, Austin’s beloved doughnut shop.
The group totally acknowledged the irony of being in town just days after South by Southwest, too:
The band, fresh off the heels of last year’s “California” (the reunited group’s first album without former lead vocalist Tom Delonge), sprinkled in tracks from the new album to their nostalgia-inducing set, filled primarily with songs from 1999’s “Enema of the State,” 2001’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” and the band’s self-titled album in 2003.
When the band launched into set opener “Feeling This” followed by “The Rock Show,” they knew what they were doing: The olds in the crowd, who loved the band back in middle or high school but couldn’t quite believe they were attending a Blink-182 show in 2017, loved it. The band even played “Anthem Pt. 2,” with the disclaimer, “We haven’t played this one live in about 12 to 13 years, so let’s not f*** it up, people,” beforehand. Jury’s still out on whether “people” meant the band or the crowd.
If you saw Blink-182 for the nostalgia, you got what you came for: “First Date,” “I Miss You,” “All The Small Things,” “Dammit” and “Stay Together For The Kids” all made it into Wednesday’s show (before announcing the melancholy “Stay Together For the Kids,” the group joked with the crowd: “Who’s having fun? That stops now.”). And the crowd didn’t seem to miss Delonge—Skiba does a good Delonge imitation, and the vocal differences were minimal (except on “I Miss You,” which includes a little more singing and a little less yelling than some of the other early hits).
Skiba’s been with the group for two years—the former Alkaline Trio singer and guitarist was recruited two years ago, after Delonge left the group (for the second time, by the way) in January 2015. And it was the crowd’s reaction to post-Delonge songs like “Cynical,” “Bored to Death” and “Built This Pool” and the age dichotomy in the crowd (20- and 30-year-olds who knew the words to the oldies, and teenagers who screamed every word to the 2016 songs) that begged the question: Are there new Blink-182 fans in the world? Are there people who listened to last year’s “California” and thought, “Hey, this band is kind of great”?
For a band that was so huge during the late 1990s and early 2000s, it’s hard to imagine anybody younger than 25 or so becoming a new fan of the pop-punk group’s kick-drum heavy compositions and often-melancholy lyrics, but those people surely exist, and they made up most of the pit at Wednesday’s show. But the band’s songwriting hasn’t evolved much over the years: “California” included a track called “She’s Out Of Her Mind” (which was on the setlist Wednesday night) with the lyrics: “I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind / She said babe I’m sorry but I’m crazy tonight / She got a black shirt, black skirt and Bauhaus stuck in her head / I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind.” Compare that to 1999’s “Dysentery Gary”: “Life just sucks, I lost the one / I’m giving up, she found someone / There’s plenty more, girls are such a drag.” Just because those types of lines worked on teenagers 15 years ago doesn’t mean they work when written by 40-year-old men (despite the fact that drummer Travis Barker seems to have miraculously not aged over the past 20 years), but the younger people in the crowd begged to differ.
Well, I guess this is growing up.