SAN FRANCISCO Bad jokes, bare breasts and belching can mean
only one thing: Blink-182 are in town.
"We're artists we paint on a tapestry of obscenities and sh--ty
music," singer/bassist Mark Hoppus told the sold-out crowd Thursday at
the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where the band recorded its show for
an upcoming live album.
Using an excerpt of Samuel L. Jackson reciting Ezekiel 25:17 in the movie
"Pulp Fiction" as an introduction, Blink-182 took the stage and launched
into "Dumpweed" off their platinum Enema of the State (1999).
Nearly drowned out by Beatles-like crowd hysteria, singer/guitarist Tom
DeLonge returned the love, announcing to the throng of 7,000 teens,
preteens and their parents, "I wanna have sex with every one of you!"
The San Diego pop-punk trio mostly played songs off their new album, which
the audience seemed to be most familiar with. "This next one is for all
of you who knew us before Enema of the State all three of
you!" DeLonge announced before playing "Pathetic" from 1997's Dude
DeLonge, wearing a white T-shirt, khaki shorts and a backward baseball
cap, spent most of the show stationed in front of his microphone. He
blamed his frequent belching on the many power drinks he had consumed.
Hoppus, in a red T-shirt and black shorts, danced and ran around when he
wasn't singing. He drew screams and upraised arms as he stalked along
the lip of the stage.
Rather than saving it for an encore, the band played its hit "What's My
Age Again?" (RealAudio
excerpt) midset, accompanied by a disco ball and purple and green
In addition to the occasional stagediver, there were also sporadic displays
of flesh, which received mixed reactions from the band.
"Put those away, you underage freak!" Hoppus admonished one girl.
But another flasher prompted DeLonge to admit, "I like to see the boobies
jiggle and dance."
The two frontmen used the time between songs to tell jokes, though the
duo's pure cheekiness drew more laughs than the jokes themselves. Much
of the humor revolved around sex, and some people weren't laughing.
"They should just try to play their music and not be cute," said Rich
Clarke of Redwood City, Calif., who brought his 13-year-old daughter and
her two friends to the show. "They were just disgusting. They need to
learn some words that aren't filthy."
Clarke said he didn't expect the risqué material because none of
the band's CDs has a parental-warning sticker.
In an interview shortly after Enema of the State was released,
DeLonge acknowledged that some people may be surprised by the band's
"Our albums are mostly relationship songs, growing up, dealing with your
parents fairly serious," he said. "Kids will hear a song about a
relationship gone bad on the radio, they'll come to our show and we come
out cussing and talking about the gnarliest things masturbation
and humping dogs and stuff and I think they just go, 'Wow, what
is wrong with these guys?' "
Thursday's show included such musical interludes as a short country ditty
that begins "Take off your pants, dad," a simple tune built around the
words "It'd be nice to have a blowjob," and "Family Reunion," a half-minute
string of obscenities that appeared on the compilation Short Music for
Short People (1999).
The set-ending "Dammit" (RealAudio
excerpt) inspired chaos, as boys stepped up the moshing and girls
dropped their "I Love Mark" signs to jump and sing along. The screaming
continued until the band returned for an encore that included "Wendy
Clear," from Enema, and "Carousel," from 1994's Cheshire Cat.
Blink-182 protégés Fenix*TX kicked off the night with a
half-hour set of SoCal punk that would fit nicely in the Fat Wreck Chords
catalog between Lagwagon and NOFX.
Fenix*TX, managed by Hoppus, may be young, but they were well versed in
the ways of arena rock.
Singer/guitarist Willie Powers tossed out such tried-and-true lines as,
"Wave your hands in the air!," "Somebody scream!" and "Everybody jump!"
The kids ate it up like after-school treats.
Aussie rockers Silverchair followed with a more diverse set that ranged
from powerful grunge-rock stomps to moody ballads to a cover of the MC5's
"Kick Out the Jams."
Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns spent most of the show in Pete Townshend
mode, mimicking the Who guitarist's windmill strumming and finger pointing,
while bassist Chris Joannou mostly bobbed and paced forward and back.
The crowd came to life for the group's radio hit "Pure Massacre" from
Frogstomp (1995), but the band chose not to play that album's biggest
After unsuccessfully trying to get the audience to sing along with "Freak"
from 1997's Freak Show, Silverchair closed with "Anthem for the
Year 2000" (RealAudio
excerpt) off Neon Ballroom (1999) and found the response
they were looking for.