I’m going to start with a broad statement and say it was probably one of the best shows I have attended in a very long time. I know a lot of people who say things like “But is it really Blink-182 without Tom?” and I’m going to say yes, and no. I say no because it is not the trio that I grew up listening to, and Matt Skiba doesn’t have the same tonality to his voice that Tom has. BUT I’m going to stop there and say that yes it is still Blink-182 and I’m going to tell you why I think so. I’ve been skeptic of Skiba’s addition to the band since it was announced (because it is human nature to be averse to change).
Even after the release of their 2016 LP “California” I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about the change. I love the way the album as a whole sounds even though it’s not exactly the Blink I grew up with, but change is sometimes necessary and they did it the right way by keeping a classic Blink-182 feel.
I believe that Matt Skiba fits in perfectly with Blink-182. His energy and overall stage presence fit in seamlessly with Mark and Travis, keeping that sort of “teenage boy” humor Blink is known for incorporating into everything they do. As far as his vocals go, the tone of his voice compliments Mark’s well and I may actually like his voice more than Tom’s live.
The setlist for the night was well rounded and included songs from albums going all the way back to “Dammit” from the 1997 album “Dude Ranch” to pulling seven songs from their newest album “California”. The other 19 songs on the setlist came from albums “Take Off Your Pants And Jacket”, “Enema Of The State”, and their self titled album “Blink-182” as well as including a Ramone’s cover and the song “Family Reunion” as part of their encore.
About three quarters of the way into the show Mark told the crowd to pull out their cellphones and turn on the flashlights because they were about to do something no one would ever see again and proceeded to play “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” completely in the dark.
I will always be amazed by the dedication of the fans here in Orlando because even after four encore songs, the crowd was not leaving. Drummer Travis Barker and Guitarist/ Vocalist Matt Skiba had already left the stage because their set was over but Bassist/ Vocalist Mark Hoppus stayed on stage and was joined by a fan from the crowd. Mark turned to the crowd and said “You guys should really just go home at this point, for real—there’s going to be traffic,” before calling Matt Skiba back on stage and saying “I guess we’re going to play one more song,” as the fan climbed the stairs up to Travis Barker’s drum set and started playing “Always”.
Blink-182 plans on releasing a deluxe edition of their album “California” on May 19th that will include 11 new songs not on the original album.