Blink-182 Kick Off Tour at Xcel Energy Center with a Bang


When I was driving around downtown St. Paul to find parking, I kept seeing small waves of fans dressed in typical and expected punk attire, and it honestly got me excited about the buzz of the blink-182’s opening night of their U.S. tour. As I got closer to Xcel Energy Center, and even waiting inside before heading down to photograph, the excitement grew exponentially not only for me, but for the hundreds of fans pouring into the venue to witness the reunion of the legendary punk trio. A small blessing in disguise for me was the show started a little earlier than advertised, which got me and many others fully ready to be a part of what was sure to be an entertaining and cathartic evening.

First up for the night was LA based band Beauty School Dropout. As usual for me, this was a band I didn’t really know about and wanted my first experience with them to be in a live setting. Taking the diamond shaped stage promptly at 7:15, the band walked on and started off the night with a short but sweet set. Beauty School Dropout might not have been exactly my cup of tea, but I cannot dent they were fun to watch and to see fully embrace their opening arena set. The group brought a lively performance to the stage to match their rhythmic sound, and was a great warmup for the chaos that was sure to ensure with the next band up.

Rising hardcore band Turnstile took that stage next to a fuller house, with fans still making their way to their seats. From first glance, their style of music didn’t seem like everyone’s favorite; while the band gave their full chaotic energy on stage, that didn’t seem to 100% translate with the entire crowd. Pockets of the crowd were into their set, and others were patiently awaiting the headliner.  Regardless, their set perfectly fit the direct support bill for blink-182: Turnstile has a unique, catchy, and new punk vibe that kicked the energy up a quite a few notches. Playing a variety of songs from their hit album “Glow On” along with others, Turnstile filled their set with what for me was nonstop fun. They fit in an arena, but it made me appreciate even more catching them in smaller venues (like Varsity and The Fillmore). What felt like all too quickly, their set was over and it was time for the headliners of the evening to grace the stage.

After the lights dimmed, the LCD screen behind the stage started to slowly piece by piece light up with blink-182’s logo, and the trio walked on to the stage amidst a huge uproar from the crowd. Kicking things off with a bang, the band went right into “Anthem Part Two” with fantastic lighting and even some small fireworks that acentuated the song. Visually, what I liked from blink-182’s set was their excellent use of the LCD screen behind them and the imagery that blended perfectly with each moment. It was even a treat to see some songs from the band’s releases without Tom sung by him live for the first time, as well as a few songs the band dug out of the vault to play live (“Adam’s Song” being one of them). It’s hard for a band with this lengthy of a career to not play a setlist full of nostalgic crowd favorites, and with the original lineup back in place, the blink-182’s first stop on their extensive North American run was an enormous success in the Twin Cities.