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Five thoughts: Blink-182 at The Pearl (May 27)

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(L-R) Singer/bassist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker and guitarist Matt Skiba of Blink-182 perform as the band kicks of its 16-show “Kings of the Weekend” residency at The Pearl concert theater at Palms Casino Resort on May 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
David Becker

1. The only time I’ve come close to seeing Blink-182 during their 25-plus year career was when I heard it playing just blocks away from my Downtown home during the 2017 Life is Beautiful Festival. While 9-year-old me grew up on Enema of the State—I stole my cousin’s copy and played it on my discman every night before bed—my Blink fandom dissipated exponentially with each new record. But there’s something oddly perfect about Blink-182 having a Las Vegas residency, and I was ready to witness the iconic pop-punk trio myself Sunday night, as it performed its second show at the Pearl sans Tom DeLonge (because, well, aliens).

2. Emo-punk vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio began subbing for DeLonge two years ago, and since then he’s impressively mastered the co-founder’s nasally pitch and steadfast guitar lines. If you doubt Skiba as DeLonge’s first-string replacement, rest assured that Blink is still in good hands alongside bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker—the latter’s non-stop performance proving that he’s always been pivotal in driving Blink-182’s signature pop-punk sound.

3. The trio opened with “Feeling This” from their 2003 self-titled album (a song that I didn’t even know I liked or knew all of the words to until I saw it performed live on Sunday), followed by “First Date” from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, the sold-out crowd jumping and chanting to every sing-along word in the chorus, led by the amazingly energetic Hoppus. Speaking of the bassist, the 46-year-old hardly stopped skipping and running around on stage throughout the entire 27-song set, giving new meaning to the song “What’s My Age Again?” “Maybe the longest set we’ve played in years?’ Hoppus tweeted about Saturday’s show hours before the one Sunday night, pinpointing exactly why a residency for a band like Blink-182—most of whose fans are now well into their 30s— makes so much sense. This is the kind of band that can play a nearly two-hour set and not run afoul of boring the audience.

4. Despite the lengthy set, we only got one song from the band’s 1995 debut Cheshire Cat: “Carousel,” a song that cemented the trio as skate-punk heroes long before they were ever accused of selling out with 1999’s Enema of the State. Not surprisingly, the crowd seemed far less interested in that selection, as well as the rarely played EOTS cut “Party Song,” a rare treat for anyone who grew up religiously listening to that album. Other choice cuts from Enema that were performed included an acoustic version of “Wendy Clear?” plus pitch-perfect renditions of “Dysentery Gary” and “Dumpweed.”

5. “I’m never touring again, I’m just gonna play Las Vegas,” Hoppus said halfway during the set—and I don’t doubt that they could. While I’m sure Blink got paid a hefty chunk of change for their 16-date residency, the guys never phoned it in, bringing nothing but pure energy and smiles throughout the entire set (seriously, I don’t think I saw Hoppus without a smile during the entire gig). Backed by Barker’s super-sonic drumming, Hoppus and Skiba took turns on vocals the entire night—Skiba sounded perfect on “Miss You” while Hoppus gave everyone chills on the EOTS ballad “Adam’s Song.” It was a near-perfect setlist and performance for anyone nostalgic for their pop-punk youth—and luckily for the band and venue, there are a lot of us.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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