Pop Punk Powerhouse blink-182 Takes Ak-Chin Pavilion by Storm!


Original album cover art [CALIFORNIA] by "D*Face", a.k.a. Dean Stockton.

On September 24, 2016, Pop Punk super-group blink-182 and tourmates DJ Spider, All Time Low, and A Day to Remember took Phoenix, Arizona by storm when they brought the California Summer Tour to the Ak-Chin Pavilion. The California Summer Tour is the product of the comeback of blink-182 and their new album California, which was released on July 1, 2016. After the messy departure of the band’s former guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, the band regrouped, and bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker enlisted the help of Alkaline Trio’s guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba.

Before the show began, DJ Spider took the stage in an awkward attempt to get the crowd hyped for the upcoming live bands. While he seemed to have good intentions, his eclectic mixes of ‘90s and early 2000s Pop Punk hits like Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” and today’s Top 40 Pop and Hip Hop tracks were not well received by the audience. Most people seemed to ignore him or were confused as to why a DJ was present in the first place. Although DJ Spider would have been great to have at a high school dance, the California Summer Tour could have done without him.

YouTube | All Time Low - Take Cover (Official Music Video)

To counter the West Coast Pop Punk sound of blink-182, East Coast Pop Punk group and former blink-182 cover band All Time Low kicked off the show. The quartet is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Jack Barakat, bassist and backing vocalist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson. Because so many All Time Low fans are also fans of blink-182 due to the obvious musical influence that blink-182 has on the younger band, it was not surprising that the audience was captivated by All Time Low’s set. The band played an array of songs, including tracks from their latest album Future Hearts and even a couple throwback songs from their album Nothing Personal. Riddled in between songs, Gaskarth and Barakat entertained the audience with more than slightly inappropriate jokes and witty banter. The boys ended their set like they always do: with the ever popular song “Dear Maria Count Me In”. The crowd sang along from beginning to end, the pavilion echoing with voices shouting lyrics along with the band. All Time Low put on a great performance; however, the band did release a new song while on the tour called “Take Cover”, and it was disappointing to find out that it was not added to the setlist of the show. Despite this, All Time Low did not fail to deliver a crowd-pleasing set.

YouTube | A Day to Remember - Bad Vibrations (Official Video)

Next up was the Pop Punk and Post-Hardcore fusion band A Day to Remember. The Florida based group consists of lead vocalist Jeremy McKinnon, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Neil Westfall, lead guitarist Kevin Skaff, bass guitarist Joshua Woodard, and drummer Alex Shelnutt. The venue was already packed, but it seemed like even more people had shown up just to see A Day to Remember. They came out swinging with their hardcore and energetic performance of their song “The Downfall of Us All”. Unlike during All Time Low’s performance, the audience could not sit still. All through the set McKinnon ran around the stage and encouraged crowd movement. The audience loosened up, and people began crowd-surfing and moshing. The monitors on the stage projected lyrics to their songs during the entire set, so even those who were unfamiliar with A Day to Remember could participate in the rowdiness. Toward the middle of the set, and then again at the end of the set, the band played their slower songs. During the song “If It Means a Lot to You”, a hush fell over the crowd and everyone settled down. People pulled out their phones, turned on their flashlights, and swayed to the music. When the set ended, it seemed like nobody wanted it to. The audience was invigorated by A Day to Remember and was sad to see them go. A Day to Remember’s stage presence and ability to perform well live made them the best opening act on the tour. But just like All Time Low, A Day to Remember released new music while on the tour, their new album Bad Vibrations came out September 2, 2016, yet they only played two tracks from the album during their set. The only thing that could have made their show better was an incorporation of newer songs.

Check out our gallery on New Music Inferno for more A Day to Remember photos.

There was over a half-hour gap between the end of A Day to Remember’s set and the beginning of blink-182’s set. The air was electric with anticipation for the final act. Finally, the stage lights dimmed and the intro to blink’s hit song “Feeling This” flooded the speakers. Somehow even more people had managed to fill the venue. People were shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get a glimpse of the band. “Feeling This” faded into the insanely popular song “What’s My Age Again”. blink-182 played almost all of their most popular hit singles as well as a majority of their new album. Interspersed with songs were jokes and funny commentary on life. The graphics going on behind them on stage made it feel like the ‘90s again. Their light show was not too prominent in their performance, but blink-182 does not need a flashy light show; that would take away from their quality. Their set theoretically was everything the audience wanted, but something was off. Maybe it was the loss of Tom DeLonge or the fact that the members just are not as young as they used to be, but there was something lacking from the performance. It seemed tired, even a little overdone. It felt like blink-182 was trying to be something they were not. Over the years, blink-182 has changed. They switched up their sound and gained a new member. The show they tried to put on was one of the old blink-182. Because so much has changed, they need to change, too. Even with all of that, the show was still enjoyable for the audience and extremely well done. blink-182 is a legendary band, and on the California Summer Tour, they were still able to prove that.

Check out our gallery on New Music Inferno for more blink-182 photos.

Although some improvements could have been made in the show, it was still a quality night. The opening acts did not disappoint, and did a stellar job preparing the crowd for the headliner. Having three powerhouse groups perform at one concert made it an unforgettable night. blink-182’s comeback might continue to be rocky until they work out all the kinks, but choosing DJ Spider, All Time Low, and A Day to remember as tourmates was definitely a step in the right direction.

YouTube | blink-182 - Bored to Death

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