Robert Fayette

Blink-182 @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – 9/18/09

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Following a four-year hiatus that saw the creations of + 44 (Hoppus, Barker) and Angels and Airwaves (DeLonge), the reformed trio (for now), Blink-182 made their way this past weekend to Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre for two nights of sold-out concerts.

The two-day run at VWA kicked off Thursday night with Vans Warped Tour Veterans, Taking Back Sunday, fresh off a June Orange County headlining show at The Grove in nearby Anaheim. Being a fan over the years of TBS as they are more commonly referred to, I expected a high octane adrenaline fueled performance from Adam Lazarra and company. The New York five-piece quickly got to work with a thirty minute set that included the songs, “MakeDamnSure” and “This Photograph Is Proof” capped off by crowd interaction from singer Adam Lazarra and bassist Matt Rubano.

Blink-182 was advertised as the evening’s headliners but by the time Weezer walked offstage it was clear they stole the show. O.C. bred Josh Freese, the drummer extraordinaire known for his stints with The Vandals, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails and Devo, is currently driving the Weezer drum force freeing up Patrick Wilson who has come out from behind the kit to lend his hand on the guitar and backing vocals. Choosing an opener like the Black Sabbath classic, “War Pigs” which was quickly transitioned into “Hash Pipe” had the sold-out crowd immediately on their feet.

Early microphone problems didn’t seem to slow down the near 40 years old Cuomo who resembled the stage presence of a singer half of his age as he repeatedly made his way from one side of the stage to the other. Known for his awkwardly shy performances through-out the years, a rejuvenated and guitar free Rivers Cuomo gave a near perfect performance capped off by a rockstar-esque pose in the closing notes of “Troublemaker.”

After several years of recording several mediocre albums, those in attendance were in for a treat that included the songs “Buddy Holly,” “Surf Wax America” and “Say It Ain’t So” off their 1994 Blue Album.

Weezer has shown no signs of slowing down as a band with their upcoming seventh studio album, Ratitude, due for release on October 27th.

After a short break, Blink-182 emerged from the black stage curtain as they immediately went to work with the song, “”umpweed” off the 1999 release, Enema Of The State. The 90-minute set featured a mixture of old classics “Carousel” and “Josie” along with the hit songs, “The Rock Show,” “What’s My Age Again” and “First Date.”

Bassist Mark Hoppus monotone voice has clearly worsened over the years but provides a relief from Tom DeLonge’s whine that has become more apparent in the recent years from his time fronting Angels and Airwaves. On display both nights was the foul-mouthed toilet humor in between songs that briefly had the crowd amused.

Friday night opened up with Oklahoma natives, The All American Rejects. With a career that started off with thanks to the hit song, “Swing, Swing,” Tyson Ritter and company clearly have found a recipe for success, catchy songs and onstage antics from its singer. Through-out the course of the performance the crowd was provided with a brief set of the hits including “Move Along,” “Dirty Little Secret” and the closer “Gives You Hell.”

Fall Out Boy graced the stage next with their first Southern California performance since their April headlining slot at Bamboozle Left. Following a recent run in with the law, a slimmer Patrick Stump opened up with “Sugar, We’re Going Down.” Forgetting the chorus of boos that Pete Wentz’s experienced earlier in the month at the Vans Warped Tour 15th Anniversary Party, the band successfully covered Journey’s staple, “Don’t Stop Believing” prior to exiting the stage with their closer “Saturday.”

Blink-182 is back, for now as a reunited band nearly a year after drummer Travis Barker survived a fiery September 2008 plane crash. The theme of both nights was The Travis Barker show that showcased his raw natural talent on the kit saving two lack luster performances highlighted by a drum solo, which had Barker’s drum kit elevated and spinning, at the beginning of the encore.

For those who weren’t fortunate to make it to either of the Irvine dates, Blink will be returning on October 10th for Hollywood Palladium performance with The Aquabats in tow. Tickets go on Sale this Saturday through LiveNation.com

Photos by Paul Hebert

Blink-182
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Weezer
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Taking Back Sunday
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Asher Roth
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