On August 13, 2011, four excited 18-year-olds travelled 130 miles to see three guys in a rock band.
On August 11, 2016, two excited 23-year-olds travelled 60 miles to see three guys in a rock band.
I was both one of the excited 18-year-olds and one of the excited 23-year-olds. I missed the rest of our posse’, but I was glad to not make the drive out to Hershey for the night. Hello, Camden and HELLO BLINK 182!
In 2011, this Blink show was a huge deal for many reasons: We had just graduated high school and in a few weeks, we’d be going away to college. A final hurrah! This was just my second time at the Hershey stadium, and the very first time I was seeing Blink 182. I told my parents, “THIS IS LIKE YOU GETTING TO SEE QUEEN!”
It seems that I’m exaggerating. Here are some quotes to support my statement.
“When it comes to having inestimable influence, Blink-182 might well be contemporary punk’s version of the Beatles”, Scott Heisel, music editor at Alternative Press magazine, said back in 2009 in the cover story, “Back Together for the Kids”.
Jon Caramanica of the New York Times said, “No punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182,” back in 2011 in , “Not Quite Gone, A Punk Band Is Coming Back”.
So growing up, I sang along to “What’s My Age Again?” in the backseat of our family van. I also annoyed my sister (six years older than me) by yelling, “It’s the YED song!” when “I Miss You” came on. That was the extent of my Blink knowledge until I reached high school. (I’m not alone on this. Urban Dictionary defines yead as, “The way Tom DeLonge pronounces the word, ‘head’ in the blink-182 song, ‘I Miss You.'”)
I fell in love with a band back in 2007 and they call themselves All Time Low. I needed to know everything about them, from their dogs’ names to the town they grew up in. I admit, I was a full-blown fan-girl. For years. Every teenager has their obsessions, mine just happened to be a pop-punk band. All Time Low started back in 2003 doing Blink 182 covers. I had to see the guys who inspired the guys I adored so much. AND Blink had just (okay, in 2009, but they were touring now!) gotten back together. So we bought our tickets for the Honda Civic Tour with MCR and were on our way.
The significant memory I have of this night is this:
Flash forward to 2016.
When the tour dates were announced, my friend (the other 23 year old mentioned above) sent me the image and said, “WE’RE GOING I DONT CARE WHAT YOU SAY” and i met her with just as much enthusiasm. All Time Low, A Day to Remember AND Blink 182?? I’ll discuss the concert in more detail at a later time, but wow. What a dream come true.
Five years ago, I saw Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge, and Travis Barker. That night I saw Mark, Travis and Matt Skiba. I was anxious to see how well Matt worked with Mark and Tom, and he exceeded my expectations.
Flame-lit letters behind Blink 182
Despite it being over 90 degrees, Blink had incredible pyrotechnics including a flame lit “F***” and crackling sparks. They used the screen behind them to play videos, images, as well as mirroring the cameras on stage and in the stadium.
As a graphic design nerd, I loved this test shot. I knew exciting things were coming!
Everyone was so stoked! I kept glancing around me to see people jumping up and down, screaming the lyrics to every song. Shout out to the three guys in front of me, row S section 103. I loved your camaraderie and energy. And no shout out to the guy behind me that kept commanding us to yell louder and cheer, who kept saying, “let’s bleeping go! You are making me mad. LET’S GO”, as if he was hyping the team up to get ready to play some sporting event.
A few of my favorite moments:
Blink asked the crowd to all turn on their flashlights on their phones and asked the light guys to turn off the lights and started with, “ITS CHRISTMAS EVE…” I was so excited, I turned to my friend and started jumping up and down, singing as fast as I can.
Blink sang their infamous swear word song. It’s dirty and vulgar and singing it gives me the satisfaction I had at 16 saying those *bad words*.
When Mark put down his bangs to sing, Stay Together for the Kids.
Watching Travis Barker drum is one of the best things in life. He’s amazing.
Small rant: Nothing personal (shout out to All Time Low), but I am so sick of fake encores. It may excite the other fans, but I don’t see the point of it. I am all for the band taking a break if they need it, but keep the lights on. Don’t pretend to leave and “surprise” us coming out to finish off your set. The trick is to make the audience think that the show is actually over. But I am happy that Mark warned us.
“This is our last song no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT…except for four more because we’re contractually obligated.”
And another thing: Matt sang, “Don’t waste your time on me. You’re already the voice instead my HEAD”. My beloved Yed is gone. RIP.
The show closed with my fav track, Dammit. The confetti cannons exploded as they sang, “Well, I guess this is growing up”
And I couldn’t help but think, is it? Does growing up include confetti cannons, as we celebrate our achievements? Or is it the annoyance of picking confetti out of your hair, peeling it off your sweat covered skin? Is this what life is about, enjoying loud music with hundreds of strangers, sticky and content and exhausted yet satisfied? I think so.
I limped out of the show (still trying to break in my Vans) with my best friend by my side, craving a McDouble and an iced water (hey, it was late & I was hungry).
Blink-182, Camden NJ, August 2016.
Thanks for a good time Blink. See ya in five more years *fingers crossed*.