Blink-182 (w/ Turnstile, Beauty School Dropout) at Scotiabank Arena (Toronto, ON) on May 11, 2023
Punk rock royalty Blink-182 hit Toronto for a pair of long wished-for, pined for, prayed for, cried-for sold-out shows at Scotiabank Arena. This is the first tour since 2014, when the band’s most popular configuration broke up with the departure of founding member Tom Delonge. While replacement singer/guitarist Matt Skiba joined the band, toured and created two albums with them from 2015 – 2021, and did a respectable job, Blink just isn’t Blink without Delonge.
As the lights went down, and the smiling face logo from their self-titled 2003 album cover was slowly drawn on the centre video screen, the room was electric. For many fans, this would be the first live show they’d seen with the core three members. And as the triumphant theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey played in the darkness, the roar of the fans rose to a fever pitch as the band took the stage. With DeLonge kneeling at his microphone stand, they kicked off the party with “Anthem Pt. 2” from 2001’s epic album, Take off Your Pants and Jacket. Bass/vocalist and co-founder Mark Hoppus paced the stage and engaged with the fans from the unique square stage that was turned 45 degrees so the point of the square was aimed at the audience. Drummer Travis Barker commands every inch of his kit and goes full out from start to finish. He always has a gimmick worked into his kit platform, and this tour had him raised high above the stage with chains that would turn him, giving fans on all sides of the venue a great look at him.
It seemed everyone there knew every word and sang every one of those words throughout the show. The setlist was filled with 25 of their greatest hits from nearly 30 years of rocking out. The frantic, energetic music was complemented by a stage that could keep up. Moving light rigging above, four giant video screens, lasers, fog blasters, pyro and that same smiling logo built into the stage surface backlit with colour-changing lights projecting up.
The reunion is said to have occurred when Hoppus was undergoing lymphoma treatment. He and Delonge got together and decided to get back at it once he was given a clean bill of health. Hoppus commented to the crowd how grateful he was to be back performing again.
A Blink show wouldn’t be a Blink show without the dick and “yer mom” jokes and other off-colour banter around the stage. The guys looked happy to be able to bring the show to the people again and happy to be together being their goofball selves on stage again. The second Toronto show had to be scheduled four days later, on Monday, May 15th, as the next show was in Montreal on the 12th. It’s safe to say they didn’t expect this tour to be in such demand from the outset.
Catch a show on this world tour if you can. Blink-182 shows are wall-to-wall fun. Opening the show were LA rockers Beauty School Dropout and Baltimore’s hardcore punk band Turnstile.
Blink-182’s Toronto Setlist:
Also Sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss song)
Anthem Part Two
The Rock Show
Violence (Tour debut; first time with Delonge since 2014)
Up All Night
Happy Holidays, You Bastard
Stay Together for the Kids
Bored to Death
I Miss You
Ghost on the Dance Floor
What’s My Age Again?
All the Small Things