LIVE REVIEW - THE HONDA CIVIC TOUR
The notorious trio blink-182 is back and better than ever. Singer Tom Delonge, bassist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker are perfect together now. Supported by My Chemical Romance and Manchester Orchestra, blink-182 put on a hilariously thrilling show. Headlining the tenth anniversary of the Honda Civic Tour sounds like a nerve-racking job but the music veterans graced the stage like it was nothing. Equipped with ‘yo mama’ jokes and sexual comments, blink-182 appeared to be having the time of their lives. Fans have been waiting for eight years to hear new music out of blink-182. The fun loving rock trio made sure to please the eager audience with a mix of unforgettable hits and new tracks.
Manchester Orchestra awkwardly started the night off with a string of their hits. Minimal contact was made between the band and the audience, which was definitely a turn off. The concert was at an amphitheater, so it was filled with mainly reserved seats with a small pit in front and a strip of lawn in back. Every person in the seating area was sitting down during the set. The singer, Andy Hull, had a striking resemblance of actor Zach Galifianakis. His voice was surprisingly high, similar to the rest of the front men in this show, but he seemed to have great talent. If they were to pick up the pace of their set and try to communicate with the crowd more, they would have been a much more impressive band.
During the brief intermission between Manchester Orchestraand My Chemical Romance, gigantic flat screens situated in the middle of the stage entertained fans. They played various music videos by blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, as well as bits of interviews of the two bands. It was a simple, easy way to keep the rowdy crowd focused.
When the music videos suddenly stopped, blood-curdling screams erupted. It sounded as if someone had died, but no, it was just My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way making his way on stage. There were obviously many young Gerard fans in the audience. His luscious, neon redhair was clearly the object of many girls’ desires. The band started their set with their hit single “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na).” Kids were jumping up and down and belting out lyrics to that fun song. It was surprising to see how many fans at the concert were appreciative of My Chemical Romance. If Gerard’s hair had been his normal black, the set wouldn’t have been as visually appetizing.
My Chemical Romance continued on their set with a slew of great songs. “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid,” “Planetary (GO!),” “Helena,” “The Kids From Yesterday,” and “The Only Hope From Me Is You” were played to perfection. Gerard was repeatedly on the ground, rolling around. During one song things got a little creepy as Gerard was waltzing around the stage clutching a knife. Soon, large balloons filled with confetti made their way around the amphitheater, and it was slowly pieced together that he was in charge of popping those balloons with the knife. The audience got extremely hectic as the band started “The Black Parade.” The large screens in the middle of the stage displayed the band’s cover art for The Black Parade. Fans were beaming with joy throughout all of the old songs. Following “The Black Parade” was “DESTROYA” and “Mama.” They were two great pieces.
The crowd reached a new level of noisiness as My Chemical Romance started “Teenagers.” “Teenagers” is one of the most well known songs by the band, so nearly everyone in the amphitheater knew the lyrics to sing along with Gerard. Dazed teenage girls could not stop staring at Gerard as he swung his hips to the catchy beat. Fans were once again jumping out of their seats and forcing their fists up into the sky in appreciation for the band. My Chemical Romancefinished their set with “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and “Famous Last Words.” They did not speak much to the audience, but the high level of intimacy between the band and the fans was obvious. Watching Gerard Way crawl around the stage in his skinny black jeans made it clear why Mark Hoppus would call him “hot.” My Chemical Romance flitted off stage and left a positive lasting impression.
The huge screens started playing music videos again as the crowd settled down. It was clear that the audience had high anticipation for the final band. When looking around at the people in the crowd, it was amazing to see the different generations present. A couple in their mid-thirties with two eight year olds completely decked out in blink-182 apparel sat nervously in their seats. Clearly the couple had been with blink-182 since the beginning, and made their own children blink fans as well. It was a truly special feeling to see that.
The lights dimmed and the crowd went absolutely insane. Loud, boisterous shrieks were heard all throughout the audience. It was finally time for the troublesome trio to make their appearance in St. Louis, Missouri. Blink-182 ran on stage and started their famous “Feeling This.” Whenever Mark Hoppus would sayhis repetitive “I’m feeling this!” fans would pump their fists into the air. Travis Barker was being his usual brilliant self, pounding the night away on his drums.
Blink continued their set with a song off their upcoming record, Neighborhoods, called “Up All Night.” They had recently released a fan video to this first single that was a mash-up of fan’s youtube videos that illegally used their music over the years. Definitely check it out if given the chance. Despite being a new song, “Up All Night” was well received and kept up the high energy level in the amphitheater. As soon as they got the chance during their brief break, Tom and Mark went back and forth telling sexual jokes. The amount of times Tom commented on Mark’s mom’s butt cheeks was uncountable.
The strange comedians stopped cracking jokes as they started “The Rock Show.” By this part in the show it was clear that even though the band is aged mid to upper thirties, they still haven’t grown up. Whenever he had the chance, Tom would adlib parts of the songs with sexual terms. Also, he was wearing a tight, black beanie on his head despite the high humidity and heat index. That outfit choice did not make sense.
Things slowed down as the band started “What’s My Age Again?” That song is perfectly suited for the band, as clearly things never change with them. The tender “Down” began as raw emotions erupted from within the crowd. “Down” is one of blink’s more mature songs. Arms swayed in the air to the divine song. “I Miss You,” another slow song, followed. “I Miss You” was arguably one of the most impressive, successful hits out of blink-182. Thoughtful acoustic and piano backing truly surprised fans and critics when it was released in 2004. The trio played it to perfection for the sweaty St. Louis crowd.
The band paused and Tom quipped that the following song was a song about them. The recognizable strumming of “Stay Together For The Kids” began as fans realized what Tom had meant by that brief intro. Heads were bobbing to the beat and kids were screaming along to the thoughtful song. By this point in the set, Tom’s high-pitched crooning was getting slightly annoying. It is no hidden fact that Tom Delonge’s voice has a different tone. He sometimes sounded like a teenage boy going through puberty.
“Dumpweed” quickly followed much to the audience’s pleasure. Before blink began “Always,” Mark and
Tom took some time to talk with the crowd. Tom made some more sexual references, and Mark took the opportunity to show off the most talented member of the band, Travis. Mark said that Travis is a modest man who never shows off his talent, which prompted Travis to solo for a few minutes. During the solo, Mark proved that he is in touch with his fans whilst taking a camera from a kid from the audience, snapping a photo of Travis doing his thing, and gave it back. Cool things like that show that blink still cares about their fans. Tom sweetly dedicated “Always” to the women of St. Louis, and began to belt out the song.
The crowd energy dipped a tad as blink started a less known song “Violence.” Mark jumped around the stage not showing his age of thirty-nine years at all. The band played another song, “The Predicament,” off their upcoming album. For the fans that are worried about the new music, don’t be, it’s solid. They have matured musically but still have their blink-182 spunk. They perfectly mixed the new with the old, as “First Date” was the next song of the night. In a brief, touching moment before the song started, Tom dedicated the song to his wife whom was sitting backstage. Another single off of Neighborhoods shortly followed. “Heart’s All Gone” sounds more like blink-182’s old music from the 2001 era.
The trio waltzed through “Man Overboard” and new song “Ghost On The Dancefloor.” The most recognizable song of the night, “All The Small Things,” sparked a new level of energy within the audience. That song beckoned pure nostalgia. People’s ears may have easily started bleeding at the rate of how much screaming was going on. Blink-182 finished with “Josie” and departed the stage.
After much chanting, screaming, and clapping, the encore began. To start it off, the phenomenal Travis Barker had his drum solo. That was not any ordinary drum solo. Travis was situated on a drum set that was on two metal beams that extended him out, over the audience. He was hundreds of feet up into the air and was literally playing his solo over the concertgoers. People were awestruck by this sight. Travis clearly showed who has by far the most talent in the band with that memorable solo. As he came back down from the sky, the band filed back on stage to finish out the night with “Carousel” and “Dammit.”
Mark and Tom rambled on about moms, sex, and other things, but made sure to thank the fans for their loving support before they started “Dammit.” Despite their strange humor and immaturity, blink-182 made it clear they care about their fans. People in the pit went absolutely insane at the beginning notes of “Dammit.” Towards the middle of the song, thousands of black and white confetti strips tumbled from the top of the stage. As the song ended, Travis threw his drumsticks into the crowd, smiled, and walked away. Tom and Mark threw random picks and screamed their appreciation. Soon enough, the concert was over, and blink-182was gone.
Blink-182 is a band that has really had their share of ups and downs in the past decade. They put on an excellent show that cannot be missed. If they are in your area sometime soon, be sure to check them out. New and old fans alike will be sure to enjoy what they have in store. Also, make sure to buy Neighborhoods, in stores September 27th!