Still Feeling This: Seeing Blink 182 About 5 (or 15) Years Later Than Imagined
Early in the semester, Blink 182 was making a stop on their American Tour at Hershey Park. When I saw they’d be in central PA, I quickly lit the signal fires to my former Warped Tour-going friends, who quickly responded: “Ok. Do you take cash or venmo?” With a playlist straight from 2003 and a rekindled teenage angst, my friend and fellow CV writer Joe Tull and I headed down Route 15 towards Hershey. The opening acts reflected the vast changes to the genre, punk or pop-punk if that’s what you call it, that have come since Blink’s days of being one of the largest bands in the world. Punk has fallen off the mainstream radar, being replaced by more electronic, heavy, and pop influences. Following a punk-DJ (yeah, remixing Taking Back Sunday and Chainsmokers, believe it or not), All Time Low took stage to a throng of screaming preteen girls. I was a bit dismayed at the possibility that this was going to be backup sound to the entire concert. A cool fact: All Time Low was formed after the members were inspired to form a band after seeing Blink live at the same stadium in which they were now opening for them.
A Day To Remember, the pop-metalcore-Warped-Tour (rhyme intentional) band came on as the second opening act. I remembered a few of their songs from high school, and was shocked that they played so many old ones as I don’t think I have listened to anything by them since 2013 at the latest. ADTR’s performance featured some of the best visuals I have ever seen at a concert. Massive screens visually complimented each song. It was a nostalgic take on the band’s rise to alternative rock fame, featuring album art I recognized from their very early records. ADTR was a phenomenal stage entity, vibing with the energy from the visibly more mature crowd at the front after All Time Low Left. So, after a preteen girl pop scream-fest and a metalcore mosh pit, the stage went dark for Blink.
Blink 182 took stage to “Feeling This”, a wonderfully poppy sing-along. Immediately, the fans that sat through All Time Low and ADTR (whether happily or begrudgingly) caught onto which song it was and the fact that it was a classic Blink 182 hit. I remember shouting along with Joe, happy that Blink 182 began with a classic and not one from their new album.
As Blink 182 wound their way through their discography, covering old niche songs such as “Dysentery Gary” and “Carousel”, and new ones, “Los Angeles” and “Bored to Death” punctuated by the same beautiful visual accompaniments that ADTR used, I was taken aback by the group in the row in front of Joe and me. It was a family, with older parents and middle school aged children. At first glance, one would think that the kids dragged their parents to the rock show. But the dad, with his fishing shirt and crew cut, was shouting along to the classics. When they played my favorite song, “I Miss You”, I felt amazed that he knew the words to this over the top emo song, the anthem of 2005 high schoolers across suburban America.
Blink 182 has a unique hold on many demographics. The band has been together since 1992, which is hard to believe considering they had their most mainstream success 10 years later with the release of their self-titled album as well as Enema of the State. Spanning a time longer than the lifetime of their average fan, Blink 182 is a staple of teenagers from at least two generations. If you were fifteen in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, or 2015, you are in the demographic of the Blink 182 fan base. This age dichotomy between 15 and 45 year olds cheering for a bunch of near AARP-aged musicians shouting about how girls don’t like them and they don’t fit in (they are married with children after all) was one of the most fascinating parts of any concert I’ve ever been to.
Image via Wikimedia.