Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion – Rogers, AR – 22 April 2017
Blink-182 has hit the road for a small US tour before heading overseas in support of their 2016 release California. The show made for a special treat for the Walmart Amp, as it was the first concert of the season. Despite Arkansas’ bipolar weather as of late, the dreary and misty 45-degree weather didn’t stop fans from bundling up in their jackets, blankets, and rain coats while lining up outside hours before showtime. Walmart Amp has brought many classic acts since 2014, such as Korn, Shinedown, and Weezer to the Arkansas area, so when Blink was announced, tickets sold fast. Punk rockers from all around the area gathered for the second stop of this leg of the tour.
Though I missed Wavves‘ set due to a mishap outside the venue, from what I could hear, the music was great and the crowd enjoyed their set. The Naked and The Famous got the audience on their feet, playing a pallet of power electronic with a dash of rock. “All Of This” and “Punching In A Dream” were early in the set, and all band members seemed perfectly aligned in their traits. The combination of the sweet, soft vocals/keys, harsh drum beats, and fast strummed guitars won me over. The audience couldn’t help but dance along to the heavy bass of “Higher” and “Laid Low.” TNAF busted out their disco moves during “Young Blood“, finishing their set with everyone clapping and singing along.
Blink-182 opened the show with a tune only Netflix watchers would recognize: the thumpy theme music of the original series Stranger Things. This brought great suspense as Mark, Travis, and Matt revealed their appearance one by one. “Feeling This” opened the set and the crowd roared in excitement. Smoke cannons inducted the classic tracks “What’s My Age Again?” and “I Miss You“, which had the entire venue singing along and spoon feeding energy to the band. Mark and Matt playfully bantered all throughout the night, smiling at the crowd while proclaiming, “People in Arkansas are much better looking than in Texas” (his words, not mine!) right before diving in “First Date“. Barker slayed the drums on “Bored to Death” as the song played out full of angst and hope. The new track echoed with “Ohs”, which then transformed into “Built This Pool“, another (what I call) snippet song (shorter than taking a deep breath in and out.) Mark definitely was feeling giddy, announcing a sing along with Matt on “Reckless Abandon” and dedicating “She’s Out Of Her Mind” to Travis. Fans cheered in excitement as the band inputted that Arkansas has one of the best art museums they’ve ever been to, jumping around the stage for “Man Overboard“. Only then was it Travis’ time to shine for a drum solo, the crowd egging him on as he fiercely blasted those sticks. Following the drum solo were a few drum-heavy tracks to continue to show off this talent before bursting into “Violence“. Fans clapped with the beat of Travis clicking his sticks, and it was apparent this was a crowd favorite. “Sober” was the perfect summer sing-along song. They even performed in the dark, only to be illuminated by the crowd’s supplied lights on their phones for “Happy Holidays, You Bastard“. The interaction continued throughout the set list, Mark and Matt galloping around the stage while performing their fast and heavy riffs. Blink-182 thanked the crowd for coming out before heading off stage, what appeared to be the end of the show.
From what I could only describe as tropical elevator music rang through the speakers, and most people stood still while others debated whether or not to leave. Not too long into the pause, Blink erupted with no warning whatsoever, showcasing their newly swapped instruments now decked in neon pink. “All The Small Things” exploded with nostalgia and punk rock goodness. There was an epic blow out after the bridge with the band giving everything they had. The night was finished off with “Dammit” while confetti canons blasted, filling the entire amphitheater with color. A small child finished with a mini drum solo (unsure of who the child was, but I’m going to guess a son of one of the band members – I’d hate to assume, though!). Either way, he kicked ass and fit right in on that stage. They treated fans with shirts, drum sticks, and picks thrown out into the crowd.
The concert season here is off to a wonderful start, and we will always welcome Blink-182 back to our neck of the woods, anytime.