Blink-182 / October 4, 2009 / New York (Madison Square Garden)
The blink-182 reunion tour landed at Madison Square Garden Sunday night (Oct. 4), marking the latest stop in a new-era trek for the Southern California pop-punk outfit.
But first, there was an important cosmetic matter to tend to.
"You know that Jay-Z song, 'Death of Autotune'? Well, this is Death of the Emo Haircut," proclaimed Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz during "Friday," the final number of his band's opening set. Armed with an electric razor, blink-182's Mark Hoppus emerged onstage and shaved the fellow bassist's head, giving Wentz an aerodynamic haircut just in time for him to grab the mic and scream the song's final stanzas.
Perhaps invigorated by his taking of Wentz's emo-swoop, Hoppus and his bandmates -- guitarist/singer Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker -- opened their set with ferocity and plowed through hit after hit, serenaded by their own fans shouting back the lyrics and encountering a wall of cheers when each song was complete.
Even while playing the more down-tempo numbers from its self-titled 2003 album, such as "Obvious" and "Stockholm Syndrome," blink-182 held the tempo and energy with as much command as during quick-paced fan favorites like "Man Overboard" and "What's My Age Again?"
Hoppus bounced across the stage all night while DeLonge provided the group's trademark potty humor, referencing rectums and pregnancy as he groped Hoppus. Barker, meanwhile, attacked his instrument with the showmanship of Gene Krupa, thrusting his signature, kinetic flourishes onto the drum kit.
After being coaxed back onstage for an encore to chants of "We want Blink!," Barker performed solo versions of Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls On Parade" while being strapped into his kit and hoisted above fans in mid-air.
Blink-182 closed out the night with "Dammit," the band's breakout hit from its 1997 sophomore album, "Dude Ranch." Under streams of confetti, Hoppus, DeLonge and Barker triumphantly left the stage, but not before vowing to return soon.
Fall Out Boy appeared to be going through the motions during its hasty, 45-minute set. Newly trim lead singer Patrick Stump crooned through the band's hits, and although his vocals were sometimes incomprehensible, that didn't keep fans from singing along to every word.
Wentz's charisma and energy helped carry the set, per usual. After ripping through "Thnks fr th Mmrs," he announced to the crowd that Fall Out Boy wouldn't be playing shows for a while and thanked the fans for their continued support, an apropos segue into the band's next number -- a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
Here is blink-182's setlist:
"What's My Age Again?"
"I Miss You"
"Stay Together For the Kids"
"Don't Leave Me"
"All The Small Things"
"Anthem Part Two"
"Dirt Off Your Shoulder"/"Bulls On Parade" (Travis Barker drum solo)