It was just under a year ago when I saw Blink-182 live for the first time ever. It was one of the best nights of my life and something I will never forget. I had another chance to see this legendary band last night and I was ready for it… well kind of.
It rained all day… literally all day. With the show being held outside, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping they would just cancel and reschedule the show. I’ve done that whole “show in the rain” thing and, although they make it look super romantic and fun in the movies, they tend to avoid showing the aftermath of boxes of tissues mixed with bottles of DayQuil when you wake up sick as shit the next day. I was more than fine with not getting sick from being in the rain but I also knew that, regardless of what the weather was going to do, there was nothing that was going to stop me from going to this show if they weren’t going to cancel it. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to go to a show last night but I was feeling a bit pessimistic. The fact that I left my apartment in a downpour of cold rain didn’t really help anything but, as I made my way south, the skies started to clear. By the time I picked up my friend Jennifer, the sun was starting to peek through and I was finally in the mood and excited for the concert.
Jennifer and I arrived at Mystic Lake Casino with no idea where we were going or what to expect. This was my first time at the amphitheater there but, after the great experience I had, it definitely won’t be my last. After going through the super efficient (no, I’m not kidding) security lines and getting our tickets scanned, we were greeted with free ponchos just in case it started raining again. Okay, this sounds like a super tiny thing, I know, but after being at a festival not too long ago that didn’t even offer free water, being offered a free poncho was like being treated like royalty and I truly appreciated it. Beyond the free ponchos and friendly staff, the grounds were absolutely beautiful. The lush grass made a perfect place to stand or sit and the layout of the space was accessible and easy to figure out. Towards the back of the area was a small hill where people could set up chairs and chill out. Closer to the stage was just a wide open flat piece of land that housed majority of the crowd. With bathrooms all over the place and drink/food stands that were easy to spot, I was more than impressed with what was going on.
The music started promptly at 8PM with Atlas Genius from Australia. With two full length albums out, this group has been making waves with their indie pop sounds that make you want to get up and dance. I saw these guys open up for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness this past March and knew that they were going to be getting themselves into huge things. That being said, I was a bit shocked when I realized they were opening for Blink-182. The indie pop music of Atlas Genius was almost a juxtaposition to the punk rock bad-assery of Blink-182 but it somehow worked and it was obvious that the crowd was enjoying it. As people were sipping their reasonably priced drinks, they were also nodding their heads along to the music while catching up with friends and strangers. Atlas Genius’ music added the perfect sense of ambiance to the night. Even though it was easy to have conversations during their set, it was impossible to ignore their catchy songs. I would be willing to bet that majority of the crowd had no clue who this group was walking into the show last night but they left with a new favorite.
After a generous forty minute set from Atlas Genius, the stage was swarmed by crew members as they set it up for Blink-182. Jennifer and I had merged with a larger group of my friends and we inched our way a bit closer to the stage where you could feel the anticipation in the air. As soon as iconic drummer and heartthrob Travis Barker was spotted taking his seat behind the kit, the crowd pushed forward as far as they could and it was off to the races.
It was hit song after hit song throughout the nearly hour and a half long set. With seven albums that span a twenty year life-span, this band is definitely a force to be reckoned with. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call them one of the godfather groups of pop-punk and to say they are influential would be an understatement. With their quintessential pop-punk sound, Blink-182 powered through their set with a sense of fury and power while keeping it light-hearted and fun. Bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus had a personality that truly shined as he joked about how Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 Lakes” motto is a bit of a sham as some of them are dried up and not even lakes. Mark seemed to be the only one that addressed the crowd. Travis was a bit too busy showing off the fact that he is one of the best drummers on the planet (okay, I’m a bit biased but this guy is seriously a beast behind the drumkit) by playing impromptu drum solos between songs. Guitarist/ singer Matt Skiba (who took the place of original member Tom DeLonge who is currently off chasing aliens or something— true story, look it up) has always been a soft spoken guy all of the times I’ve seen him as the frontman for one of his other projects- Alkaline Trio- so I wasn’t surprised when he didn’t really talk much between songs.
Sure, the show lacked a sense of banter that I typically love from bands but hearing Blink-182’s iconic songs live while being surrounded by some of the best of friends made up for all of that. From the first note of their first song “Feeling This” to the last note of the final song of their encore (“Dammit”) there was a smile on my face. I definitely lost my cool a bit when they played “The Rock Show” second in their set. This is easily one of my favorite songs on the planet and the namesake for this blog so being able to hear that song live was truly an unforgettable moment. Throughout the over twenty song show my friends and I were screaming along to the lyrics that truly shaped our childhoods. As the night came to an end and the confetti stopped falling from the sky, we slowly made our way into the night. The sky was illuminated with lightning off in the distance and I couldn’t help but feel downright grateful that I have a hobby that allows me to cover such awesome shows from bands that truly made me who I am today.
Jennifer and I popped into the casino quick to wait out the traffic and try our luck at the slots. With just $9 between the two of us we figured luck wouldn’t really be on our side but after about forty minutes, we were walking into the still busy parking lot with $40 in our hands. As I dropped Jennifer off at home, the raindrops started to fall and, by the time I made it out of the boonies and onto an actual highway, the raindrops turned into a torrential rainstorm complete with car shaking thunder and frightening lightning. I white knuckled it all the way home.
Last night could have been a disaster but it went off without a hitch. The rain seemed to stop just for the show, I got to see Blink-182, and I won money at a casino instead of loosing it. Let’s talk about a win win win!