It’s hard to make music that transcends generations. Most musicians hope for a No.1 Billboard spot and many of those who snag the title disappear after their moment of fame.
But every now and then, a band pops up that manages to secure a following whose dedication to its music goes beyond any “greatest hits” album.
Blink-182 is that band. Formed in 1992 just outside of San Diego, California, the founding members include Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge, along with later-addition Travis Barker. The band still manages to sell out 30,000 seat amphitheaters and release albums debuting at No. 1 around the world more than 20 years later.
The band cut ties with DeLonge in 2015, after a five-year feud over his lack of focus that pushed back production for “California” (2016), the band’s seventh studio album, which was supposed to be completed in 2013.
As a result of the DeLonge-Blink split, Matt Skiba, former frontman for Alkaline Trio, took DeLonge’s place as guitarist and co-frontman alongside Hoppus.
This is supposed to be the part where the reviewer — putting the nostalgic and irrefutable ties with Blink-182 aside — should say that the absence of DeLonge will forever mar the band and change the fate of their fame.
Yet, as much as it would settle the tides to say that DeLonge was missed during their current headlining tour, it would be impossible to claim that Skiba didn’t meld perfectly into the punk trio.
The band played at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park — a south Chicago suburb — on Sept. 10 to a sold-out arena of teenagers and 40-somethings alike. Fellow rock bands A Day to Remember and the All-American Rejects opened the show. It was Skiba’s first official tour as a part of Blink-182.
There’s something delightfully surreal about being surrounded by people whose ties to Blink go as deep as yours. The band opened up with its 2003 hit, “Feeling This,” to an enormous thunder of applause.
The band’s setlist mostly comprised hits released from 1992-2003, including “What’s My Age Again?,” “Family Reunion,” “The Rock Show” and “First Date.” Despite the rain, a filled-to-capacity lawn area and an obviously over-sold arena, fans jumped on railings and climbed venue beams. They sang along as Hoppus led the band in performing one of its new releases, “Bored to Death,” which became the indisputable highlight of the night.
The band later played “All The Small Things,” which, released in 1999, has become one of the most recognizable punk-rock songs of the past two decades. Barker closed the song with a drum solo that proved he was just as energetic and talented as he was when he first joined Blink in ‘98.
A Blink-182 show is everything a non-fan would assume it is: Beer-drinking, crusty punk rockers standing among 16-year-olds who are just now realizing how tantalizing the opening lyrics of “Josie” are.
It’s a celebration among people who grew up listening to the music made by twenty-somethings in the early 90s — complaining about the drag of growing up and a weirdly settling feeling of not following society’s carved-out path for success.
For all intents and purposes, Blink-182 is one of the greatest bands of our generation. It is a band that established itself by writing songs with lyrics made up mostly of cuss words, and carved itself into the hearts of millions of people across the globe.