Live Review: Blink 182

Originally published through Tone Deaf.

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Peter Pan isn’t the only who doesn’t want to grow up. Judging from the turn out at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for Blink 182 on Tuesday night (the event sold out in minutes) there are thousands upon thousands of Melbournians pursuing the exact same goal.

It often seems like within a certain demographic, every fifth person you meet has a tattoo of the gutter stomping Blink 182 bunny rabbit somewhere on their body; at the very least, there seem to be an incredibly large number of 15 to 30-year-olds that can competently discuss Cheshire Cat vs. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket at a moments notice.

On Tuesday night, all of these Lost Boys and Girls converged in a shared experience of recaptured adolescence, as Blink 182 reminded the skating-and-mild-delinquency set of Melbourne why being young and stupid is a really awesome thing to be.

It would have been nice to see at least some Aussie representation in the supports, but Brit punks Sharks and American pop punk legends the Vandals do a spectacular job of revving up the mood before Blink took to the stage.

The Vandals, in particular, are so light-hearted they actually make DeLonge and Hoppus look serious, with songs like ‘Anarchy Burger’ and ‘Oi To The World.’

They took DIY to epic proportions in their closing number, a jagged cover of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ taken from their latest album Hollywood Potato Chip (named for a certain bodily fluid which can apparently regularly be found on casting couches).

But for all the amusement the Vandals’ joke-punk and tongue-in-cheek stage banter provided (“You guys are so polite! We love a polite punk crowd!”), fans were here to see two people: Blink 182 vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge.

Not to understate the drumming chops of stand-in Brooks Wackerman – one obviously does not perform with a band of the calibre of Blink 182, let alone call drumming for Tenacious D and Bad Religion their day job, without some serious skill behind the kit. But it was the songwriters behind ‘Josie’ ‘All the Small Things’ and opener ‘Feeling This’ that the crowd turned out for.

While it was a shame long-time member Travis Barker couldn’t make it across the Pacific, his twitter beef with Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah over his no-show was almost as entertaining as his live performance would have been anyway.

Besides, the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

It was a touching sight, watching a sea of people crying out; don’t waste your time on me/ you’re already, the voice inside my head,” from the emotional 2003 track ‘Miss You’; backs bent over, faces contorted, as though the teen angst was being exorcised from their bodies.

But it’s hardly a surprise that their songs resonate with so many people.

If you were to create a character based on the views expressed in Blink 182’s discography, they would have the following personality traits: their highest priority having fun, the opposite sex is both mystifying and terrifying, they despise responsibility, love life, but always feel vaguely worthless. Oh, and they don’t handle break ups well.

In other words, basically everyone who has ever been a teenager. We get older, but these feelings and experiences linger on, and these songs remind us that we don’t ever completely mature.

“What’s my age again?” isn’t a meaningless but catchy throwaway line, it’s a motto for the temporary escape that Blink 182 can offer in their live show.

It’s safe to assume that everyone in the audience had their own shit going on: boring jobs, fights with partners or family members, no money in the bank, whatever. But for one night, each and every one of us – from the 38-year-old DeLonge to the tiny girls on the grass who appeared to be pushing 12 – got to be exactly sixteen.

Excited, insecure, a little silly, scared, and desperately pretending not to be.

“On and on (or for 2 hours at least,) reckless abandon.”

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