Blink 182 Gets by With a Little Help From Their Friends
I didn’t think it was possible to love Blink 182 more than I already do, but after the band’s Saturday performance in Hartford, Conn., I know that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When Blink performed for the massive crowd at the Civic Center just a day after the news of DJ AM’s passing (he collabed with Travis Barker, duh) the audience saw the band at their rawest. It was only a few songs in when Mark thanked us for coming and said he truly hoped we were having a great time, but that it was a pretty tough night for them.
His voice cracked and he started to cry as he talked about Adam Goldstein (DJ AM)’s death. He called him an innovator and a great friend, and then led the crowd in a moment of silence. Many-a-bic were flicked, and the band went into the song “Down.” You could tell the boys were really hurtin’.
Up until that point I was kind of bumming that I had decided to get lawn seats over general admission (what was I thinking?), but after Mark bared his soul like that, I knew the only thing that mattered was the vibe everybody was sharing. I couldn’t believe that I was able to have such an intimate moment with a band that I loved so much.
Tom was definitely the glue that held the band together that night. Normally, I would’ve said cool it with the dick jokes (trust me, he tells a lot), but it was welcome as he was trying his hardest to keep the energy going. He did most of the talking, and a few songs after Mark’s moment of silence he made a perverted hand/tongue gesture and told everybody to “wake the fuck up.” Later he told the crowd that at some point in their life something shitty happened to them maybe that’s why they started listening to Blink. Then he compared it to the shitty situation the band was in, and he said we needed to come together and say fuck it and celebrate. It was pretty apparent that his onstage banter and pep talks were more for the band’s sake than the audience’s, and it gave me a whole new respect for Tom. He really reinstated himself in my mind since all that break-up nonsense.
Despite the sad stuff, Mark, Tom and Travis put on a great show. They played their little hearts out, and were still pretty funny at times. Tom grabbed Mark and kissed him on the head, and later admitted to going down on Oprah. They dedicated the song “Reckless Abandon” to all of us out on the lawn, and “First Date” to any guy at the show who was on a date with a chick who was “fucking crazy.” Honestly, my opinion of them is completely bias so you might want to ask somebody else. They could probably just stand there onstage and I’d be content. But, I have seen them twice before and I think they sounded best this time around. They played all the hits, and a couple gooduns like “Josie” and “Not Now,” a particularly heart wrenching song for that evening, “Come here, please hold my hand, Lord, now / Help me, I’m scared please show me how / To fight this, God has a master plan / And I guess, I am in his demand.”
The show also had a lot of awesome lights and special effects. The band has certainly come a long way since the flaming fuck sign onstage during 2001’s TOYPAJ tour. I think the band’s last album and this tour really defined (and refined) their style. Onstage there was this huge wall made up of little screens that had awesome designs and patterns on it as a backdrop for the band. The colors were bright and the patterns were very big. This is reflected in the band’s new merch, which is also super colorful with really big images and text. It’s all very 80s, very The Cure, but with this modern uber-poprockness to it. If the new material is anything like this new style then I am down like a clown. I’m also happy to report that the famous punk bunny logo (re: my shoulder) is back to life, only 3D and cooler than eva.
Blink played their standard hour and a half set, sans Travis’s drum solo that would normally have been during the encore. But it didn’t matter that night, because the crowd got to see something much more special than Travis levitating while drumming his ass off (although I’m sure it would’ve been sick). We got to see our favorite band in a real, human way, relying on us the same way we’ve relied on them all these years. And we got to see first hand how the loss of DJ AM affected people, and not how MTV news says it affected them. I feel so honored to have been able to see my favorite band in such a vulnerable and intimate state, and I have never loved them more.
Near the end of the show Mark told the audience that it had been one of the hardest days of the bandmembers’ lives, but that he appreciated all of our support.
Consider it payback for the last 10 years.