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Wednesday night, pop-punk titans Blink-182 played what was, for them, an incredibly intimate concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Having played the night before at Sayreville, N.J.’s Starland Ballroom to support Sandy Relief, the trio decided to make use of what was meant to be a day off to raise more money for charity, donating the proceeds from the show to burn treatment centers, as well as research and treatment for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
That might not be what people expect from these formerly snotty-nosed proponents of immature, scatological humor, but even before they re-formed in 2009 — and especially after drummer Travis Barker‘s near-fatal plane crash almost five years ago to the day — the band had grown up.
Not entirely, though — as Wednesday night proved, they still know how to entertain and have fun, mixing the ri-dick-ulous with the emotional. Opening the night were hyped, hip indie-noise darlings DIIV, who cite Blink-182 as a big influence, and L.A.’s New Beat Fund and their carefree, summer, alt-rock groves. And then it was Blink-182’s turn, who did both themselves — and the charities they’re raising money for — more than proud. Here, based on the performance, is The Hollywood Reporter‘s picks for the band’s best songs of the evening …
“The Rock Show”
The first single from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket is a tale of young, naive love. The band were already pretty old when it was first released, but it was delivered with an extra dose of jaded nostalgia tonight — but no less energy. As the band built up to the crescendo and the final, heartwarming, heartbreaking sting of the “I’ll never forget tonight” refrain, the melancholy increased, precisely because that sense of being in love for the first time was as potent as ever.
“What’s My Age Again?”
Proving they haven’t entirely lost their juvenile sense of humor, the band introduced this song with a joke about their sound guy’s masturbatory habits. And yes, it’s a ridiculous song about prank calls, but it’s also filled with a wonderful joie de vivre that visibly infects every member of the audience. Because it’s a song that recalls the reckless abandon of youth, and the carelessness of growing up. Which means, sure, it’s a little dumb, but we all were at some point.
“I Miss You”
As soon as the opening notes of this one began the camera phones came out. The somber third song from their eponymous 2003 album — the record which took the band into much more emotional, serious territory — it marked a point of quiet contemplation on an evening which happened to fall on the anniversary of 9/11. Without doubt the saddest few minutes of the night.
The song that kicked off the album that kicked their career into the stratosphere, “Dumpweed” brought back to life the tense, frantic energy that coursed through that record. For the few minutes that the song was alive, it coursed through the audience, crowdsurfers desperately trying to reach the stage. Silly and sad, it summed up perfectly the paradox that is Blink-182 — super catchy and super fun but, in those guitar lines and melancholy vocals, a super sadness, too.
Probably the song that everybody at the venue wanted to hear most, which explains why it was the very last song of the night. Tonight, it sounded as raw and urgent as it did back in 1997, when it was first recorded. It’s nothing new — a tortured tale of lost love and missed opportunities — but the sheer power of its delivery, and the reaction it drew from the crowd, demonstrated just how potent it remains today. It was, truly, the perfect way for the evening to end.
And just because it was hard enough to pick just five songs, here are a few runners-up that just didn’t quite make the top five:
“Ghost on the Dance Floor”
“All the Small Things”
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