Sunday night at the Abbotsford Centre was just plain fun.
I mean three American rock bands doing what they do best before a sold out venue of eager and energetic music lovers, it was the epitome of “good times”.
Starting the night was Oklahoma rock outfit The All-American Rejects. Lead singer, Tyson Ritter, is the key to this bands persona. As the band fired through hit after hit, he injected colorful commentary between each song, garnering laughter and applause. One point he apologized for what was about to happen in November in regards to the US election; referring to the candidates as a “giant douche and a turd sandwich”, one of my favourite South Park references.
Ritter has this sort of aloof, poet feel about him. He would be lost in the moment, with a certain level of brooding disconnection emanating from his gaze.
The bands set was steeped in nostalgia, songs like It Ends Tonight, Dirty Little Secret, and DGAF permeated the air, and the audience joined in throughout the night, singing along.
I was really impressed with how solid this quarter is in a live scenario. For a group that hasn’t written a song in five years, as Ritter iterated during the show, they have such a solid back catalog that they kept the onlookers attention with ease.
The best moment of their time on stage when they played Dirty Little Secret. A song that everyone knows and loves. Those lyrics echoed through the building – “Tell me all that you’ve thrown away/Find out games you don’t wanna play/You are the only one that needs to know/I’ll keep you my dirty little secret.
The Florida-native, rock quintet A Day to Remember were up next. They brought a much more aggressive mood to their allotted time.
Jeremy McKinnon, the lead singer, burls out this animalistic growl with his vocals that just gets your blood pumping. The night started with The Downfall of Us All from the bands 2009 compilation, Homesick. A massive mob on the floor started into a big circle pit. Bodies started to fly around, some went overhead and some went under foot. The band has so much attitude in their delivery. Each note was struck with power, each lyric was forceful and deliberate.
ADTR had some really great ways to stir up their audience. We managed to get a couple videos of two of the best ones, so check em.
Dozens of rolls of toilet paper were launched out to the patrons on the floor:
Jeremy walked along the crowd in a giant inflatable hamster ball:
As you can see, this band was there to have a good time, and keep the fans entertained. I went in to their set as a casual fan, but left with a hope that they would return very soon.
The venue allotted a little bit of a break before the headliner. So the halls were filled with people trying to spend money or empty their bladders.
I fought my way to the stage, and waited for the things to start.
A big black sheet lowered from above the stage and then covered the front of it. From where I was standing I could see Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Matt Skiba run up the stairs and take their positions.
The sheet dropped, and a visual explosion began on the displays around the stage. A huge burning four letter world appeared behind the band, it was fitting to see a 6 foot tall FUCK as the backdrop for the band.
The night started off with Feeling This from the 2003 eponymous album Blink-182, and the band was on point from the word go.
Looking out across the sea of smiling faces, and feeling my own elated spirit glowing from the nostalgic overload, I knew I was in the right place.
I was impressed with how energized the whole group was. Lead singer Mark Hoppus stepped around to every corner of the stage through the whole set, playing to each corner of the audience. Matt Skiba, though a little less mobile, still worked around during a point in each song and fired through those oh-so famous rifts. Then you have Travis Barker who is just a made man. At some points I thought he was standing up more then he was sitting down. His epic drum work firing through the backbone of every song, and keeping time for the rhythmic jumping mob on the floor.
The theatrics of the stage were an entity all on its own, from streams of smoke to flame throwers to heaps of fireworks. The stage was a constant visual assault that kept your eyes wide open through the night.
Their was a weird moment around the fifth song or so, where the house lights in the venue came on. You could hear the feint audible pulsing of some sort of warning alarm. The assumption was that the last bout of raining shower of sparks has produced a little too much smoke, and set the fire warning system off. But Mark Hoppus played along with the house lights and yelled to the crowd that the band wanted to play a song with “every motherfucking light in the house on.” So the whole audience just kept write on with enjoying every moment of the night.
As things rolled on, the band had a few more tricks up their sleeve, one of the best of the evening was when they unloaded about a dozen or so inflatable adult dolls into the crowd. Though they were quickly swallowed up by the mob of eager fans, most of which would pop them and save them as an interesting keepsake, the gesture stirred up a couple mini circle pits that pulsated their energy through the entire venue.
Things started to wing down, and all I could think was how everything about this night was just fun. I, and everyone else, well except that one guy that had too much too drink and was throwing up into a garbage can, had a fantastic and engaging time experiencing three bands that put it all out there for their fans and the love of the music.
Blink -182 set list
What’s My Age Again?
The Rock Show
I Miss You
Bored to Death
Built This Pool
Stay Together for the Kids
Kings of the Weekend
Happy Holidays, You Bastard
All the Small Things
By the end of the night I was sweaty and smiling.
Blink-182 hasn’t missed a beat through the aging process, they have just gotten better and more efficient at what they do.
Thanks to the bands and the venue for such a great night. Until next time.