|Blink-182 played to a sold out audience at the Molson Amphitheatre, August 17, 2011. (Alex Urosevic, QMI Agency)
TORONTO - The potty humour and sexual innuendos were far more sporadic than years gone by, but it's pretty fair to say punk rockers Blink-182 have gotten this far on a pretty popular catalogue.
Well, at least 16,000 thought so Wednesday evening at Toronto's Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
The trio – reuniting following drummer Travis Barker's near death in a 2008 plane crash – played a smartly-paced 90-minute set with a few from the forthcoming studio album Neighborhoods, their first since 2003.
”It's been eight years, don't f------ rush us or we'll break up again,” singer/bassist Mark Hoppus jokingly threatened halfway through the set before he and singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge feigned splitting up.
Yet that time away probably turned out for the best judging how responsive the primarily teen and twenty-something throng were. Even the opening Feeling This, while not exactly one of their signatures, had the vocals of DeLonge and Hoppus instantly drowned out.
With Barker on a riser and the group shown on video screens in black and white, Blink-182 quickly delved into hits like The Rock Show and What's My Age Again? while Up All Night, the first single off Neighborhoods, fared far better than anticipated.
”You guys have been rocking so hard my hair collapsed,” Hoppus said of his “faux hawk” looking more like a no-hawk.
Occasionally ambling around the stage but content to mostly stick to their own sides, Hoppus and DeLonge sounded strong on the beefy Stay Together For The Kids and the sullen I Miss You, the latter seeing DeLonge on his knees to finish.
When not talking about urine, belching before excusing himself or asking fans to boo Hoppus, DeLonge – sporting what appeared to be a toque for some reason – did little to embarrass himself musically on the old-school punk punch of Dumpweed and Hearts All Gone, a new tune “which sounds like an old one.”
Of the new ones performed probably the best was After Midnight, quite groove-focused and guitar driven. It came across great but with at best a smattering of fans knowing it the track didn't gain much traction.
Other highlights were All The Small Things, Man Overboard and First Date. As First Date ended DeLonge briefly got serious, saying he was amazed 16,000 people were singing the song. Hoppus however erred when starting a line of O Canada and not letting the patriotic audience finish the anthem fully.
The only component that hasn't changed a bit is Barker's ridiculous prowess behind the drum kit. A drum solo during the encore saw Barker on a specially designed kit which rose high above the crowd and deep into the audience, even going on a very steep angle at one point.
And he also won the cuteness factor hands down thanks to his children, his daughter who gave him a kiss on the cheek prior to Josie and his son Landon with his own pair of drum sticks mimicking daddy at certain points a foot or two away.
On the whole a sweet blast from the recent past, and what could be a promising new chapter.