Report: Blink-182, Brisbane 2013

Report: Blink-182, Brisbane 2013

RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
Friday February 22

A Blink-182 setlist in the 2010s is almost as predictable as a Kevin Rudd comeback. Tonight their repertoire is a virtual carbon copy of the band's show I saw in 2011 at the Hollywood Bowl and identical to Wednesday night’s Sydney show. This isn't surprising given that it's been almost a decade since they toured Australia. The crowd is here tonight for the 'act', not the art. Deafening sing-a-longs greet the classics MTV-era hits while chirping crickets largely accompany the new material.

The inane back and forth banter between Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus is present as usual, but seemingly more rehearsed than ever. Given the band's past, and Tom Delonge's humourless streak in‘Angels and Airwaves, you wonder if the perpetual juvenile shtick is actually a gravely serious piece of the performance puzzle, used to conjure up nostalgia – or maybe they’re just giving us what we want.

Travis Barker’s replacement Brookes Wackerman seems to be relishing the opportunity to play to 15,000 people and proves to be a real standout. The Bad Religion drummer is faultless, and adds a strange youthful punk vibe to the gig, despite being similar vintage as Hoppus and Delonge. For all the contempt, heart break and disappointment expressed by the fans over Barker's non-appearance, the big question needs to be asked, do Mark and Tom still need Barker for these greatest hits style shows? Barker is a prolific session drummer who took the opportunity to play in Blink-182 by the nutsack and never looked back, but whether he views it as a creative challenge—especially with so many side-projects on the go—may never be known. Nonetheless, the crowd is there to hear the songs, not who's playing them, necessarily.

When I reviewed the band in 2011, I suggested that there was a certain detachment felt by older Blink-182 fans. For most people, Blink was that guilty pleasure in the late '90s. It was the band that was always on the sound system during those high school days, etched in those memories; those three dudes who timed their entrance into punk rock with surgical like precision. For the kids out there who are listening to their first Blink-182 song in 2013, it's difficult to imagine what they're getting out of it.

But then maybes it's us. Blink-182 truly is the David Wooderson of the music world: "We get older and they stay the same age".

Nick Holt

(Photos: Clare Hawley)

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