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Concert Reviews:
blink-182 and others bring 9/11 to a jovial end at DTE

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2011

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Spending the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a band that talks -- a lot -- about inappropriate sex might seem irreverent at the least. But for the 15,000 or so who packed the DTE Energy Music Theatre under a near-full moon on Sunday for the blink-182 headlined Honda Civic Tour, a little cheeky and profane joviality seemed just the way to cap the sober occasion.

Then again, it's fair to say that the tragedy was not exactly top of mind during the three-act show. blink bassist Mark Hoppus' reference to U-M's win over Notre Dame the day before, for instance, drew a far louder cheer than My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way's 9/11 remembrance, when he told the crowd that the group formed on that very day "so we could do our part in making everything positive and hopeful again" -- before playing "Skylines and Turnstiles," the first song the band ever wrote.

And genially beer-chugging Kim Schifino of opening act Matt & Kim even admitted "I don't know what day this is" during the duo's energetic set.

The greater drama during the evening was probably the fact that blink guitarist and primary singer Tom DeLonge had lost his voice due to a cold. He sounded relatively strong during the opening "Feeling This" and managed to croak his way through the rest of the trio's loud, laser-lit 90-minute set, though blink did call on help from Matt & Kim -- Matt Johnson sang "Always" ("A dream come true," he gushed) while Schifino "booty danced" around the stage. And MCR's Way, whose rendition of "First Date" prompted Hoppus to tell DeLonge "the show gets a little better when different people sing your songs...It's been good playing in a band with you, but Gerard, let's start something rad!"

Fans needn't worry about any new blood in blink any time soon, however. Despite DeLonge's ailment, the group -- which reunited in 2009 after a five-year hiatus -- sounded strong, cohesive and confident, its members firing one-liners at each other in the same quick-flash manner as they delivered their melodic brand of punk rock. Heavily inked drummer Travis Barker in particular was a flashy but solidly playing standout all night, propelling blink through hits such as "The Rock Show," "What's My Age Again?," "Stay Together For the Kids" and "All the Small Things" as well as brief aural asides like "F*** a Dog," "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" and "When You F***ed Grandpa." Barker also soloed along to his solo single "Can a Drummer Get Some?" while riding above the crowd on a steel arm extending from the lighting rig.

blink also gave fans a taste of "Neighborhoods," its first new album in eight years (due Sept. 27), by playing a few of its songs, including the droney single "Up All Night" and the hooky "Hearts All Gone."

MCR also went the career-spanning route during its 50 minutes on stage, including four songs from 2010's "Danger Days" and previous favorites such as "Mama," "Helena," "Give Em Hell, Kid" and "Teenagers." Volume and back-lighting provided to be the set's undoing, however; the former obscured the songs' melodic nuances as well as Ray Toro's lead guitar work, while the latter was better suited for a theater setting than an amphitheater. Matt & Kim, meanwhile, delivered an ebullient 35 minutes, tossing out commemorative tour balloons for the crowd to blow up and snippets of Europe's "The Final Countdown" and Guns 'N Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" while also recalling that Johnson had a gun pulled on him when the duo performed during June in downtown Detroit.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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