This past weekend blink-182 returned to Pennsylvania supporting their chart topping new record “California” for the biggest tour of the summer so far. The band was joined by A Day to Remember and All Time Low as support for the show that packed Hershey Park Stadium on one of the hottest Saturdays of the year so far. This tour line up had long been rumored since A Day to Remember joined blink-182 for a few shows late in 2015. Those shows were the debut of blink-182’s new vocalist Matt Skiba who has since gone on to become a full-fledged member alongside the mainstay blink-icons Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker. The drama of the transition has long since past as blink-182 has truly returned to form and as a result has catapulted to new heights with the release of “California.” Skiba, Hoppus, and Barker may not be kids anymore but that doesn’t mean they have had to grow up and that mindset has resonated with their generation spanning fans.
The show began with a dj set from DJ Snake that met to lukewarm reactions despite the blazing summer heat. Most of the stadium had yet to find their seats and those that had were eagerly awaiting the arrival of All Time Low to the stage. They didn’t have to wait too long as the band hit the stage just past 7:00PM to a massive welcoming cheer and blinding sunlight. It is important to note that this tour didn’t pass through Baltimore, All Time Low’s hometown, as the band later explained. This meant that Hershey was the closest date to home which in their eyes made it a hometown show for them. Many of their loyal friends and family turned out for the show because this and you could see a near ocean of guest passes in the pit that the band had likely given out to those closest to them.
As for the show All Time Low focused heavily on material off their most recent album “Future Hearts” which was a fantastic choice as that album really showcases how well their sound has held up over the years. ‘Missing You,’ which was nominated for a VMA this past weekend, was missing from the set due to technical difficulties but the set went off without a hitch otherwise despite it’s rather shot length. Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat ended the set in a special way for their fans up front as they jumped onto the barricade and hung onto screaming fans hand’s to finish out the set with a group sing a long of “Dear Maria.”
A quick set change took place as things were prepped for the chaos that would take place during A Day to Remember’s performance that evening. The band burst onto the stage with a roar as hundreds of beach balls of all sizes were set loose onto the crowd that was ready to party with the band. Front man Jeremy McKinnon took this opportunity to tell the stadium to get off their feet and get ready to move as he belted out the lyrics of opening track “The Downfall of Us All.” The crowd quickly forgot the quiet sing a long they shared with All Time Low just moments ago and unleashed hell in one of the greatest mosh pits I have seen at a concert in a long time.
There were circle pits, there were push pits and though security tried to stop them they couldn’t be contained as they were having the time of their lives with one of the best bands in the hardcore scene. The crowd kept moving as the band rattled through “I’m Made of Wax Larry” and other tracks but things really got wild when they brought out one of their most popular tracks, “All I Want.” The pit jumped in time with every chorus and even the people in the nosebleeds of the stadium could be seen moshing it out amongst themselves, how metal is that?
The band’s set was just 11 songs long but in this time it was clear that A Day to Remember had come to steal the night and they were successful in doing so. This wasn’t their show, they weren’t the headliner but they acted like the biggest band on the bill and commanded the crowd as such. Their newest single “Paranoia” was the only recent material that made the setlist which meant the crowd knew every song and was able to give it their all when the band asked them too. With everything from toilet paper, beach balls, and a hamster ball A Day to Remember came to play and the crowd was ready for them. As the dust settled in the pit as their set came to a close many fans began to leave the stadium, as their night was complete by seeing A Day to Remember in Hershey. For some however the night was just getting started as the stage went dark for the last set change of the night.
It was a hot summer night as the stage was set for blink-182 to take the stage in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Lights were tested, guitars were checked but before too much was given away a large black curtain dropped across the stage which obscured the view for most of the fans in the packed football stadium that Saturday evening. Anticipation began to build as the stadium lights went dark and the curtain became black-lit in a solid blue wash that appeared from the back of the stage. With the a riff of a guitar and the bang of the drums the curtain fell and revealed the band ready to go as the stage lit on fire behind them with a massive explosion in burning letters that spelled out “F*CK.”
Straight and to the point, classic blink-182 without a doubt and the crowd loved it. The band dove into “Feeling This,” which has opened their shows for the past few years but this time it was different as Matt Skiba commanded the stage immediately to gain the faith of the crowd. There was much talk about his joining of the band earlier this year and it was literally a trial by fire last Saturday in Hershey, Pennyslvania. By the end of the second song it was clear that the fans loved their new co-vocalist and it was clear to see why, Skiba brought it for them. His guitar riffs were tight and while he possessed a classic blink-182 sound to his voice he also managed to bring new life to many of the older tracks.
Blink-182’s return to the top came as a surprise to many but for myself I think it was a long time coming. Their music has always spoken across generational lines and it has been a few years since a pop-punk album broke the Billboard 100 Charts, the perfect storm was waiting for blink-182 to rise to the occasion. It will be interesting to see where their success takes them, one can assume there will be another tour but only time will tell if Skiba stays commited to the band. As a fan of the new record I will say I hope he does but if not blink-182 will have to find themselves again and maybe another fantastic album will come of it. Until then let’s enjoy the blink-182 we have as it has been years in the making and has never been more relevant.
Exclusive Photos of the Hershey, Pennsylvania show.