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No matter what the bands tell you, a co-headlining tour is a battle between two popular groups desperately trying to upstage the other. This package usually gives the audience something extra to enjoy from the show.
When Blink-182, the darlings of current pop-punk, hit the road with Green Day, the elder statesmen who set the standard, teenagers and young adults everywhere were licking their chops waiting for a chance to see this tandem go toe to toe.
Green Day took the first shift, opening with the single from new hits collection International Superhits! “Maria.” From the opening chords, the crowd came alive, kids sang, danced and crowd-surfed through the pit, while kids trapped in their seats jumped.
Covering all their major hits, Green Day played “Hitchin’ A Ride,” “Brain Stew/Jaded,” “Longview,” and others. Few songs were left back for this set, which ran considerable longer than scheduled.
Green Day’s experience took control from the beginning. Vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong played to the audience during the down parts of “Longview” when he ran from end to end of the stage carrying his microphone singing the verses. This tour even saw the addition of a second guitarist so that Armstrong could leave his guitarist duties behind for a few songs and give the crowd a much-welcomed bath with his Super Soaker.
While doing a cover of Bay Area legends Operation Ivy’s song “Knowledge,” the band found three lucky crowd members to finish the song. One of the fans, who was holding up a sign calling for a chance to play, got the gift of a lifetime, Armstrong’s guitar which the fan happily took home.
At the conclusion of the hour-plus long set, which had dancing horn playing mariachis and farm animals plus the band destroying its gear, Armstrong put on an acoustic guitar and ended with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Which definitely summed up their set.
After a short break, Blink-182 took the stage fighting the clock. After Green Day ran over, Blink-182 was left with barely an hour to make its case for band of the night.
As Blink-182 took the darkened stage, flames erupted and vocalist/guitarist Tom DeLonge began singing “Anthem Part 2.” As every hard note was hit, flames shot into the air.
Bassist Mark Hoppus bounced around the stage waiting for his turn to step to the microphone. As he sang “Rock Show,” his voice was almost lost in the blaring sounds of the instruments. This setback failed to keep the fans from singing along to the chorus of this hit single.
The one thing Blink-182 lacked more than anything was a library of hits the size of Green Day’s. Blink-182 still pieced together a set of crowd favorites and rarities, which got the older fans excited.
In a failed attempt to gain an edge on the show, Blink-182 stole a page from the Motley Crue playbook and hoisted Travis Barker, Tommy Lee-style, in the air while he pounded out a blistering drum solo. To add a twist, Barker pulled the solo off while spinning, definitely gives a bit of an edge to this attempt over Lee’s stunts.
Blink-182 kept the energy high and the hits coming, but the rush was felt. By playing at a venue with a strict curfew, the band lost a good portion of its time in the set up. After seeing past performances, one could notice the lack of crowd interaction beyond a few momma jokes and stabs at offending the young crowd.
In the end, Blink-182’s momma jokes and toilet humor fell short in the battle against Green Day, implied or not. Considering Blink-182 was playing five-hundred capacity clubs when Green Day was playing 15,000 capacity venues, Blink-182 are on their way to becoming a superstar in the arena rock world, if they are willing to be humble and learn from the veterans.
Opening the show was relative newcomers, Jimmy Eat World. Coming with a bit different approach from the headliners, Jimmy Eat World played more on aural experimentation rather than pop acceptance.
Opening with “The Praise Chorus,” Jimmy Eat World played to the still filing-in audience with sheer determination. From the screeching breakdowns to the melodic choruses, Jimmy Eat World came to play.
The addition of this band illustrated clearly the different stages a band will reach on its way to the top. Jimmy Eat World definitely have a few things to learn from the headliners on its way to prominence, but the talent is there, no one can teach talent.