‘This is growing up’

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Blink-182 performs anniversary show in Los Angeles

Photo by Alyssa Aldrete
Photo by Alyssa Aldrete


In 2005, Blink-182 released a music video for the song “Not Now,” the last official song from their “Greatest Hits” compilation.

It featured clips from their past videos, first shown as faded photographs on the wall, then zoomed in and played, while panning to Mark Hoppus (vocals, bass), Tom Delonge (vocals, guitar), and Travis Barker (drums) performing in front of the wall.

The video ends with the band’s signature “smiley” symbol flying away into the wind.

Any die-hard fan knew that this was some sort of goodbye from the pop-punk legends.

And sure enough, shortly after the video was released, the band had announced an “indefinite hiatus.”

Fast-forward through three side projects, feuds and a life-threatening plane crash, and we find Blink-182 announcing their reunion at the 2009 Grammy awards.

After touring the world again, the anniversary of the “Untitled” album, which was released in November of 2003, soon approached, and the band announced a tour to commemorate their most popular album.

With only five shows and two venues, the band paid tribute to their roots in Southern California, and on Nov. 11, they played the first of three shows at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.

At about 9:30 p.m., Barker walked to his elevated drum set, Hoppus wandered to stage left with a signature pink bass, and DeLonge planted his feet on stage right, with a guitar in hand.

The band opened with “Feeling This,” the first song off the “Untitled” album, and proceeded to play the rest of the tracks front to back, just as they appear on the record itself.

The trio proved the tale of old age wrong, using the same comedic antics in between songs as they did back when they were fresh-faced 20-something men just having a few laughs on stage while playing their fast-paced songs.

Hoppus and DeLonge played their instruments proudly and loudly, singing their ten-year-old songs with even more enthusiasm than can be heard on the original album, while Barker amazed the audience as he beat on his drums with fluid motion that looked nearly effortless.

Following the 14-track long original set, the band walked off stage and left the audience staring at dark blue, ambient light in anticipation for more songs that they clearly knew were coming.

After just about five minutes of waiting, the guys walked back on stage, immediately getting into the song that told their tale of goodbye almost a decade back, entitled “Not Now.”

The band played a few fan favorites, including “Going Away to College,” “Mutt,” and ended with their most popular song, “Dammit,” inviting rapper Machine Gun Kelly to the stage to entice the crowd and make them jump up and down one final time.

With the spectrum of emotions that were brought out of the audience (crowdsurfing during “Going Away to College” off the “Enema of the State” album, moshing during “Go,” the entire crowd swaying and breaking out their lighters during “I’m Lost Without You,” and looks of pure awe when Barker performed an intense, lost-in-the-moment drum solo at the end of the song), nothing evoked more pure joy than when the band went all out with “Dammit.”

Barker beat his drums and twirled his drumsticks above his head between each beat, DeLonge and Hoppus ran around stage singing and swinging their heads, and the audience was put into a state of euphoria, with strangers putting their arms around one another, jumping up and down, singing their hearts out, and smiling ear-to-ear as confetti rained down on top of them.

The show ended with hundreds of people and three middle-aged men smiling and singing the words, “I guess this is growing up,” and in a bittersweet way, it was the perfect way to end an incredible show.

Sometimes reality hits us harshly and we think only of getting older and losing our sense of self – but charisma still lives in our hearts, and with a band like Blink-182 around, no one should ever forget that.

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