A few hours before Blink-182 took the stage at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Mark Hoppus was still working out his strategy for the night. It was September 11, after all, and his band isn't exactly known for their eulogies. So how would they mark the occasion?
"We just want to put on a show, hopefully bring some joy and happiness and perhaps some release," he told MTV News. "It's a pretty awful day, so we think people could benefit from a Blink show."
And Hoppus was true to his words. Because on Wednesday night, Blink tore through the tiny Brooklyn club, raging hard and bringing some much needed relief to a city still dealing with the terrorist attacks of a dozen years ago. There were no somber moments, just Blink's patented brand of hard-bopping pop punk (and the occasional masturbation joke). And based on how the crowd's reaction, it was just what this city needed.
Yes, from the opening chords of "Feeling This" to the surging choruses of set closer "Dammit," this was Blink at their best. It was a benefit show — originally, this was supposed to be a day for Blink to meet with record labels — but it had none of the stuffy trappings, sermons or posturing that usually comes with these kinds of gigs.
Instead, the thundering trio focused on playing the hits, much to the delight of the kids in the pit. They shouted along to "Rock Show," crowd surfed to "Carousel," and politely moshed to "What's My Age Again?" Blink seemed to delight in it all, adding extra flourishes to their normally razor-thin rockers: a spacey breakdown on "Violence," and extended jam on "I Miss You," etc. Travis Barker did a stripped down version of his famed drum solos, Hoppus joked that he missed a few chords on a song (and then played said chords "to give everyone the full experience") and Tom Delonge strutted and spat.
"Up All Night" skittered along on an electronic beat, "First Date" seared and soared, and "Josie" was still as snotty as ever. Bink bashed hard, cracked jokes, and continued to prove that, even twenty years into their careers, they're still as lean and mean as ever.
In short, it was a classic show, the kind a generation grew up on. About the only time 9/11 entered anybody's mind was when the crowd chanted "USA! USA!" Blink didn't mention it, though they did seem touched to be playing in the city, on this date.
Earlier, Hoppus had told us that a dozen years ago, Blink were filming a video for "Stay Together For The Kids" when the attacks happened, and as you could see the emotion on his face as he recounted turning on the television to see the Towers fall. That was as deep as he, or his bandmates, got at any point during the day; instead, they opted to lift the spirits of the city and bring a little levity to the day. And that was good enough; they're not the eulogizing type, after all.