There's a sort of uneasiness heading into a concert when a main member of the band has been replaced. Especially when the band is as popular as the kings of pop punk, Blink-182. When founding member, Tom DeLonge made his second exit from Blink (whether by choice or forced out, the story has been different depending on the source) there were many questions if the band would survive without one of the pivotal members, and in stepped Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio.
The All-American Rejects kicked off the night, with signer Tyson Ritter's comedic antics. "Where were you twelve years ago? Oh I know you were watching us on TV everyday!" Even the biggest pop-punk-emo music snob from the turn of the millennium catches themselves singing along to the hits of "Swing, Swing" and "Move Along." Hometown heroes, A Day To Remember, annihilated the crowd, putting on an even better performance than they did back in April. Hard hits like "2nd Sucks" and "Paranoia" mixed in with the softer "Have Faith In Me" and "If It Means A Lot To You," the band's set was tight and packed a punch for the crowd.
The Perfect Vodka Amphitheater was sold out on the night of for the show on August 5th, 2016; fans packed in from the front row to the very edges of the lawn, more people than I have ever seen at the venue. With the amount of cellphones lit up through the crowd during slower songs, and the moshpits erupting on the lawn, the crowd held no reserve for the "new guy" and rocked out through the long set.
Kicking off with "Feeling This" and "What's My Age Again?" they definitely played into older favorites to start the night off strong. Halfway through the setlist they had only touched upon the newly released California with "Cynical" and their newest single "Bored to Death." While Skiba's vocals vary to a high degree from that of DeLonge's, it was easy to put that to the side and enjoy a thoroughly riveting performance. The synergy between the new trio is not that of "the two members and the new guy" but of a three piece that clearly enjoys having each other on stage.
The crowd ranged from older adults, whose formative years played out to the early Blink albums, to the newer generation just getting into the band now. I can tell you, though, it didn't make much difference to which side you fell on. Strangers and friends alike from the seats to the lawn danced and sang around with each other throughout the night. From the heartfelt lyrics of "Stay Together For The Kids" to the bouncier (and raunchier) "Family Reunion" the crowd paced along with Barker, Hoppus, and Skiba.
Closing out with "All The Small Things" and "Dammit" there was little downtime in the setlist, leaving little time to ponder if the absence of DeLonge was even effecting the show. Skiba definitely feels at home on stage with the Blink family, and while naysayers may question the decision to continue on with the Blink moniker, this tour proves the new lineup can hold up to the test.