Blink-182 opened their Australian tour with a sizzling show to a packed crowd at Sydney’s Allphones Arena. It was impossible not to have incredibly high hopes after listening to The Mark, Tom and Travis Show on repeat throughout my adolescence and although this was definitely a step down from that, Blink-121.3 (do the math) nailed a killer show, and it was enough to know they were here playing for us after an almost 7-year wait.
Blink pleased the entire crowd with nostalgic hits like All The Small Things and Rock Show, punk classics Dumpweed and Carousel, and plenty of new material. It’s crazy to think the band’s career spans over two decades, a fact emblazoned across T-shirts all over the venue, reading “Offending Moms Since ’92”.
The biggest focus for many was the ability of drummer Brooks Wackerman to step it up behind the drum kit in the absence of one of the world’s greatest, Travis Barker. Barker’s absence was particularly noticeable during songs like Ghost On The Dancefloor, where his most unique fills could never be imitated, even by Wackerman. The heightened speed that Travis brings to the live show was painfully absent but, that said, Wackerman’s drumming was almost as good as album quality, with only a few notes missed and timing stuffed, probably due to the small time he’d had to learn the set list.
While Mark worked the stage and played with energy, and the dual frontmen shared laughs while pulling emotional faces during I Miss You, Tom looked a tad bored at times, especially when playing certain songs they’d obviously played hundreds of times before. There was an energy lacking and you couldn’t help but think, “What if Travis had come?” But the banter was hilarious, and they certainly had the crowd captivated in between songs, particularly when they tried to get their friend in the mosh pit laid, and physically demonstrated how New Zealanders give each other blowjobs and wash themselves in their own semen.
They band closed their set with the brash expletive-filled anthem Family Reunion after an amazing 3-song acoustic encore. Silver confetti floated over the crowd and Mark threw merch to fans, closing on a massive outro with one chord on his bass in true punk fashion. The teenager inside of all of us in that mosh pit was screaming with joy, and although the guys might have families, we still have plenty of reckless abandon – there were “BOOBIES!” as Tom proclaimed, and unlike the commentary during their live album from 2000, the boobies definitely weren’t too young.