There were few surprises when Blink-182’s Civic Tour 2001 rolled into the Warfield on Tuesday. Singers Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge belched and told poo-poo and pee-pee jokes. Kids crowd-surfed. Bras landed onstage. New songs – there were two – sounded like old songs. Even the encore was preceded by an assurance from bassist Hoppus that the band would be right back to play more songs.
And yet the trio thoroughly entertained the capacity crowd of 2,500 fans with a 19-song, 75-minute set that mixed poppy punk rock with juvenile abandon.
As usual, the jokes began before the music did, with DeLonge informing audience members that despite what Rice-a-Roni had led them to believe, his penis was actually the San Francisco treat.
That said, the band launched into “Don’t Leave Me” from 1999’s multiplatinum Enema of the State, which was followed by the Enema songs “Aliens Exist,” “Dumpweed” and “Going Away to College.”
The Hoppus/DeLonge stand-up routine, however, prevented the group from establishing a momentum, as the duo cracked wise between each song on the set list.
“We have a 15-minute set, but we talk for 45 minutes so it’s an hour,” Hoppus said.
Next they kicked into “Dick Lips,” a panty magnet from 1997’s Dude Ranch (“Shame on you, San Francisco,” Hoppus said as guitarist DeLonge held up the pink thong that landed at his feet), which was followed by “Family Reunion,” a half-minute string of obscenities accompanied by guitar. The latter ruffled a few feathers in the back of the historic theater, where parents gathered around the venue’s few tables asked one another, “Did they really say what I think they just said?”
Yes, DeLonge did admonish the crowd, insisting, “No more orgasms in the pit – you guys aren’t focusing!” Yes, Hoppus did take on the tone of a Southern preacher and proclaim, “Hallelujah for my naked penis!” Yes, when a beach ball landed onstage, DeLonge suggested using it as a suppository – but only after he and Hoppus gleefully tossed it back and forth a few times.
Watching the clown princes of punk is like watching a pair of 6-year-olds with the vocabulary of 16-year-olds – a playful innocence lies beneath the over-the-top vulgarity. Everything is done for a laugh, including DeLonge’s graceless dancing (imagine a bad break-dancer trying out for “Riverdance”), which accompanied Hoppus rapping lines from Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” during the extended breakdown in “Peggy Sue,” a nugget from the band’s 1994 debut LP, Cheshire Cat.
Musically, the band sounded as tight as ever – especially drummer Travis Barker, who often added fills and other flourishes to the live versions of the group’s songs.
Although the bulk of the night’s material was from Enema of the State, including the hits “What’s My Age Again?,” “All the Small Things” and “Adam’s Song,” the band tested out two new numbers: “First Date” and “The Rock Show,” the first single from the forthcoming Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, due June 12.
Longtime fan Justin Maxwell, 27, drove up from Los Angeles to see the show. “I loved the new songs,” he said. “I think the new songs sound just like the old songs, and that’s great. I just want them to sound like Blink-182, because that’s the sound I love. I want them to progress but not change.”
The band will shoot a video for “The Rock Show” in Los Angeles on Wednesday (May 2). The Civic Tour 2001 resumes Friday in New York.