Concert Reviews

Last Night: Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance at Gexa Energy Pavilion

Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Matt & Kim
Gexa Energy Pavilion
September 27, 2011

Better than:
seeing SR-71 right now.

They're a little older and wiser at this point, but make no mistake: On the night in which their new album, Neighborhoods, earned its release, Blink-182 proved themselves still crass as ever. Never mind the would-be accomplished vibe that one wold expect at this show, which celebrated the band's first album in eight years and their first in the wake of a fairly nasty breakup (and subsequent reunion). No, there were dick jokes to be made. Testicle jokes, too. Even a few knocks on the female anatomy. But, mostly, there were dick jokes.

As bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge bantered back and forth with one another and their audience throughout their 90-minute set at Gexa Energy Pavilion last night, those quips came rapid-fire. They even came from the crowd, too. Out in the audience, as Hoppus pointed out at one point in the night, a fan lifted a sign that read "Baby Dicks Play Josie," in this case, one assumes, with "Baby Dicks" referring to the Blink trio and "Josie" being the fan-favorite track from 1997's Dude Ranch.

"Oh, we're the baby dicks, I guess," Hoppus remarked upon noticing the sign. "That's not a very effective way to get a band to do something."

Then, as Hoppus and DeLonge offered repeatedly throughout the night, came a tangent -- this time from Hoppus and this time on linguistics: "Maybe it's more like, 'Baby, Dicks Play Josie,' or something."

The important thing here: Dick jokes.

Also: Yes, they played "Josie." Of course they did. Right at the end of their main set, which featured four songs from Neighborhoods in an otherwise mostly Enema of the State-heavy offering.

How could they not? This may not be the band's reunion tour -- that came last year, before the new album -- but Blink-182, two decades into their careers, is something of a legacy band at this point, a likable if bratty touchstone for pop-punk fans of all ages. They know it.

And they know what their fans want, too: the aforementioned dick jokes for starters, but also a lot of running around the stage and a setlist of the band's biggest hits, with no minor single too minor to play.

Better yet, the band appeared to be having fun with their roles. Hoppus performed an a capella of the simple felatio-inspired "People People People" for what he claimed was the first time in 12 years. DeLonge offered up his token extended-vowel singing drawl. Drummer Travis Barker, meanwhile, was awe-inspiring, filling his performance with unnecessary stick twirls and cross-hand hits, just to flash things up a bit.

Barker's flashiest moment came in the opening of the band's four-song encore. No, there were no special hip-hop guests like he had in Houston the night before, but he still performed an intense Give The Drummer Some-inspired solo on a kit attached to a massive arm that flew him above the up-front pit as he played. The crowd went bonkers -- even more so than they had been throughout the rest of the night, which was impressive.

For fans of Blink-182, it was kind of a dream scenario -- all the hits, the gang back together, some nice surprises, and so on. And the band was happy to provide it.

Earlier in the night, My Chemical Romance similarly pleased. Theatrically performing their smart brand of speedy pop-punk (emphasis on pop), the band featured songs from their most recent Danger Days album, while also touching on previous hits and heavily focusing on their biggest album release to date, The Black Parade. Capable headliners in their own right, the band impressively set the stage for Blink-182 on this bill, seemingly happy to pave the way for those who came before them.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I've never seen Blink-182 before, but I was a pretty big fan of theirs back in high school. Dude Ranch and Enema of the State in particular spoke to me at that age and eventually opened my eyes to the world of punk rock beyond the pop-punk heard on the radio and seen on MTV at the time. It was difficult to not get swept up in all this nostalgia at this performance.

Random Note: Yes, Hoppus did the whole "The stars at night..." bit. Like you're surprised.

By The Way: Ever notice how it takes, like, half an hour to drive the last half a mile on the way in to Gexa? But it never takes any time whatsoever to leave? What gives?

Blink-182 Set List:
Feeling This
Up All Night
The Rock Show
What's My Age Again?
I Miss You
Stay Together for the Kids
After Midnight
First Date
People People People
Heart's All Gone
Man Overboard
Ghost on the Dancefloor
All the Small Things

Drum Solo/Give The Drummer Some
Family Reunion

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman