Live in Vancouver (09/18/16)
Abbotsford Centre - Vancouver, BC
When the black curtains fell at the Abbotsford Centre, Blink 182 dived into an evening of nostalgia and progression, creating a unique evening showcasing the future and past of the pop punk band.
Touring in support of this year’s California, the trio treated Vancouver to their first post-Tom DeLonge performance with Alkaline Trio‘s Matt Skiba taking over guitar and vocal duties. Sonically, Skiba fits perfectly. Years of harmonizing with Dan Andriano has readied him for the new role, what took a hit is the on-stage presence that Blink used to have.
The banter between Mark and Tom was always fascinating, comical and so very real. Off-the-cuff chit-chat that not only felt fresh, but also incredibly genuine. Each night felt like a new show no matter how many of the same songs they played.
Skiba hasn’t quite perfected that repertoire with Mark yet, making the performance a bit more – dare I say – normal.
However, the show itself – the setlist, pyrotechnics, and lights – were on top form.
As the opening chords of Feeling This blared through the speakers, four big bangs rung though the arena and there it was: the famous flaming fuck from Blink 182‘s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket tour. It was a throwback to an older tour gimmick, a hidden gem that many people probably have forgotten but it also set the tone for the night as they continually pulled through hidden gems – many of which came from TOYPAJ itself.
Somehow you just wouldn’t expect them to pull out Family Reunion or Happy Holidays Your Bastard when they just released Built This Pool, but the night featured all three and Brohemian Rhapsody as well. In between you were treated to the hits – I Miss You, What’s My Age Again, All The Small Things, Stay Together For The Kids – alongside many of the lesser known cuts like Dystentary Gary, Dumpweed, Down, Reckless Abandon and Violence (which was used for Barker’s famous show-stopping solo section). The distinction between famed abd
Of course, the evening wouldn’t be a new tour without cuts from their latest album making an appearance, so the crowd got to compare Skiba’s writing style to DeLonge’s as the switched from I Miss You to Bored to Death and San Diego to Not Now
Their set was punctuated by flames spitting out all around Travis Barker and interactive videos splashed across the big screen (the videos for The Rockshow, Dystentary Gary and Los Angeles definitely being the highlights). They even filled the crowd with inflatable sex dolls for First Date.
Sadly, the venue itself wasn’t as ready for the show as the band was. The sound was sub-par, muffled for a large part of the set; and for four entire songs, the house lights were fully on. At first it may have been a schtick, but it soon became evident that something was wrong and the lights were stuck on inadvertently.
Was the show the best Blink show to grace Vancouver in the past several years – definitely not. I missed some of the comedic charm that DeLonge and Hoppus carried with them, but nothing really matters when they end the night with both Carousel and Dammit in their encore.
Anytime those two songs come on – well, then the night’s a success.
Photos by Nick Dudar