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words by Jeff Jetton

photos by Dakota Fine

Before all the reality TV shows, the plane crashes, the break-ups, the Angels & Airwaves, the clothing companies, before all that, there were just three dudes from San Diego that could crush a pop-punk song like nobody else. But being in the biggest band in the world brings its own special set of circumstances. Blink-182 was that band. Terms like ‘meteoric rise’ are invented for just such bands and are pretty apt, because it’s got to be difficult to become that huge and not burn up (insert awesome plane-crash joke here). At the height of their popularity, the band broke up and spent four years making more above average pop punk (+44, Transplants, Angels & Airwaves) and spending more time with their families.

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Let’s be honest, though, when your band has sold 27 million records, it’s got to be hard to hang up those spurs. When the appetite for your catchy, yet surprisingly mediocre, punk rock speaks to that many people, sitting at home raising your kids must get pretty boring.

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So, what’s an aging punk rocker to do? Well, our guess is that you swallow your pride, suck up your hatred for your bandmates and stock up on juvenile humor and fart jokes, because you have legions of teenage fans to impress if you’re getting back together to schlep those same old songs.

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Expectations were low in the BYT camp on this show. We hadn’t seen Blink-182 since, well, actually I think collectively, none of us had ever seen Blink-182 live. Not a lot of takers in the ‘want to review this show?’ department.

Something happened on the way to the races, though. Blink-182 actually put their differences aside and became a pretty swell band to watch. They took a page out of the Peter Frampton book of playing giant amphitheaters and brought along a set featuring giant digital screens chock full of interesting black-and-white animation, great lighting, and a laser show that would color Pink Floyd green with envy.

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But for the crappy stage banter between Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge and being surrounded by 15,000 fourteen to eighteen year olds, this show was pretty damn enjoyable. I’ve never been to a concert and heard anything remotely like the kid standing next to me in line at the concessions stand:

Her: {makes some unnerving noises, what I will only call ‘grunts of joy’}

Me: Are you okay?

Her: Yes! I’m fourteen years old and I just got moshed for the first time.

What do you say to that? Enjoy yourself, kid, because it’s all down hill from there? Congratulations, you just peaked? I just grabbed my eight dollar beers and backed away.

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You know that you like Blink-182. Don’t hate. Yes, they are idiots, but there’s no real good reason not to nod your head along with their tunes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSDiTMdjpjk

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Here’s the real reason to love Blink-182, though: Travis Barker. The guy just destroys the drum kit. He seems fairly likable. But beyond that, while watching the show we thought of a few more reasons why we love the dude:

1) He survived a plane crash. He’s actually the sole surviving member of the plane crash, after DJ AM’s post-crash overdose or suicide or whatever it was and everybody else on the plane perished. This, in and of itself, is probably the most impressive thing about anybody playing in rock music at the moment.Take that, Richie Valens, Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Aaliyah, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson, John Denver, Patsy Cline, Jim Croce, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and half of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

2) He had to continually stop playing at least three times during the show to put super glue on his hands to stop the bleeding from playing so hard. Superglue.

3) He brought his 3-year old son onstage for the entire show, dressed exactly like him with no shirt and a backwards ball cap, and his kid had a mini-drum set right next to his dad so he could play along to the songs and mimick his pop’s every move. It was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

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Since we couldn’t find much fodder for vitriol to heap upon Blink-182, we’ll expend our snark on the crowd. One might be able to gauge the state of the Union by the mood and temperment of the 15,000 little shits attending a Blink-182 concert. Let’s call it the Northern Virginia Straw Poll.

Mark Hoppus: Guess what I did today, you peasants. I met the president. You know what’s cool about that? Everything.

The chorus of boos and hisses that arose from the crowd in response to that statement was deafening! At a punk rock show? Dismissal of a left-wing president?

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People began throwing stuff on stage until the band realized their political views were out of favor and quickly steered the conversation back to juvenile sex jokes.

Mark Hoppus: We’re gonna do something different now, we’re gonna walk around and sit on all your laps and wiggle.

Cue 6,000 15-year old girls going wild. Forget about the fact that it’s a man in his late thirties saying this.

I weep for the future, seriously.

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As much as we were having a good time, there’s only so much Blink-182 we could take, so we skipped out a bit early to beat the crowd. Best part of the show was the literal sea of fathers waiting to pick up their kids in the parking lot. There were hundreds of dads standing by their cars, bored, wondering what kind of mayhem their kids were getting into inside the hallowed halls of Jiffy Lube Live. I’ve got news for you, dads, it’s not as exciting as when you were kids:

This teenager spent the entire show sitting down and playing Minesweeper on her smart phone. That’s right, not Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja or Cut the Rope. Fucking Minesweeper. Shit’s almost as old as Pac Man. Kids today?!?!?!

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