blink-182 played ‘Enema of the State’ at Warped Tour (review)
Not only is Warped Tour celebrating its 25th anniversary with a few events this year, its Sunday (6/30) headliner in Atlantic City is celebrating an anniversary too. blink-182's Enema of the State recently turned 20, and they kicked off a tour performing the album in full in Columbus, OH this past Thursday (6/27), and then hit Warped to play the album a few days later. blink didn't have to introduce themselves or the album; they just took the stage without saying a word, launched right into "Dumpweed," and the many thousands of people in the crowd knew exactly what was about to go down. There may not be a single band as intrinsically tied to Warped Tour as blink-182. They played the fest four years in a row in the '90s (and then again in '01, and not again until now), they immortalized the festival in the lyrics to "The Rock Show," and they came up at the same time as Warped and both blink-182 and Warped Tour simultaneously became iconic signifiers of pop punk. The only pop punk band that gives blink a run for their money in terms of fame and influence is Green Day, but they only played the fest once and not until years after they were famous. blink played Warped Tour back when they only had one scrappy album out, and they kept playing until they were on top of the world. If you had to pick one festival that defines pop punk, it's Warped Tour, and if you have to pick one band, it's blink-182. A handful of bands who played before them on Sunday talked about them on stage (Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday made a joke that referenced "The Rock Show"), and -- during both days of Warped -- I saw more people in blink-182 shirts than in any other band tee. It wouldn't have been a proper Warped Tour anniversary celebration without the return of blink-182, and it's hard to imagine anyone feeling otherwise. If you like enough of the bands playing Warped Tour 2019 to attend the festival, you like blink-182. And that's why the entire weekend's audience packed in around the main stage to watch them wrap up the fest.
Just to get this out of the way, no Tom Delonge is not in the band and yes Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba is his replacement. It's impossible to watch blink-182 perform Enema of the State in full without Tom and not notice his absence -- and Tom was very much missed -- but it's not worth harping on it. Matt is a fine choice for a replacement, he's been in the band for four years now, and they already have one album with him and a second one is on the way. It's a little hard to hear songs like "Dumpweed" and "Aliens Exist" and "Dysentery Gary" and "Mutt" without Tom's trademark snarl, but Matt is very well acclimated to the band at this point and they ripped through the Enema songs with ease. And with Mark running around the stage nonstop and Travis beating the hell out of his drums, 2/3 of the band's classic lineup giving it 110% was enough to get the crowd jumping, shrieking, and yelling every word. I didn't catch if Mark said the same thing in Atlantic City, but at the Hartford show one night earlier, he dedicated "Aliens Exist" to Tom.
blink-182 have a lot of great albums and Enema isn't necessarily their best, but it is absolutely their most significant and influential. If you're a pop punk band that released your debut album after Enema of the State came out, there's a very good chance you were influenced by that album. It made punk music more popular than it had ever been, and it changed the music world permanently. It's a nearly flawless album, with no song worth skipping, and it remains the album that many pop punk bands model their careers off of, even twenty years later. And hearing current-day blink-182 rip through those 12 classic songs was very much a treat. blink tend to play greatest hits type sets, so hearing deeper cuts like "Going Away to College" and "Aliens Exist" and "Wendy Clear" and "Anthem" -- most of which aren't played often and some of which haven't been played at all since the band's heyday -- made this show a lot more special than your average blink-182 show. Every song on the album holds up super well, and Mark and Travis still play those songs like they just released them. There was a real sense of urgency to their performances, and they seemed like they were genuinely having a lot of fun. These songs mean a lot to a lot of people, and it feels safe to say they still mean a lot to Mark and Travis too.
After playing the album, blink did a few more hits, including "Feeling This," "I Miss You," "The Rock Show" (naturally), and set-closer "Dammit," and they also played "Bored to Death" off their first album with Matt (2016's California) and their recently-released new single "Generational Divide." "Generational Divide" is one of the most straight-up punk songs in blink's catalog, and it was a real ripper live, really holding its own next to blink's classics. Most details on the upcoming blink-182 album are still TBA, but if it's got more stuff like "Generational Divide," we might be looking at a very solid new LP. It's nice to see that -- 20 years after their mainstream breakthrough -- blink have still got some creative juice left in them.
Check out some videos from Warped Tour and Hartford, and the Warped Tour setlist, below.
UPDATE: Just one day after playing Warped, blink released new single "Happy Days."
blink-182 at Warped Tour Atlantic City 2019 Setlist
Enema of the State
Don't Leave Me
Going Away to College
What's My Age Again?
All the Small Things
The Party Song
Bored to Death
Built This Pool
I Miss You
The Rock Show