SARATOGA SPRINGS – Introduced to the stage by an eruption of pyrotechnics and the pulsating throb of a tom-tom drum, blink-182 showcased a 24-song set at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Sunday night, delighting the crowd of more than 12,000 in attendance, many of whom stood for the duration of the band’s 80-minute show.
The boys of blink drew top billing among a quartet of power pop bands paying tribute to a sound-and-vision aura initiated by Cartoon Punk grand-daddies Green Day, from which each of the bands were spawned. Fittingly, perhaps, the concert marked a return to SPAC by blink-182, who first appeared at the venue sharing the stage with Green Day in 2002.
The band opened their set with “Feeling This,” siphoned off a half-dozen songs from their new album, ‘California,’ and concluded the show with a four-song encore – the inclusion of “Carousel,” released in 1995, and “Brohemian Rhapsody,” released this year - effectively tracing a 21-year timeline across the band’s songbook.
“Go back to 2002, put your bangs back down and tell your mom: it’s not a phase, mom, this is me!” founding band member Mark Hoppus announced to the crowd.
Following a series of solo projects and internal band conflict, the trio these days consists of longtime drummer Travis Barker, Matt Skiba – who took over co-vocal and guitar duties after Tom DeLonge left the band last year - and Hoppus, who attacked his bass as if he were strumming guitar while pogo dancing across the stage, a flop of Ed Grimley hair (Google it) dancing atop his head.
A good number of songs performed were culled from the band’s songbook dating back 15 years, the popular radio-friendly hits "The Rock Show," "All the Small Things," and "What's My Age Again?" among them. The members of the band are all in their forties, but gauging the presence of the large number of young people in attendance – say, under the age of 22 or so - many seemed to mark a new generation of blink-182 fans.
Inside the amphitheater, the vocals were flat at times, but the staging colorful and poignant, with an ever-changing screen of images alternately depicting rock ‘n’ roll posters, exploding bombs, eerie skulls and pleasant Frida Kahlo-like flowers.
blink-182 is currently headlining a cross-country tour with All American Rejects, All Time Low, and A Day To Remember, which began in San Diego in July and concludes in Los Angeles in October.