​Blink-182 / Simple Plan / the Used

MTS Centre, Winnipeg MB, July 7

​Blink-182 / Simple Plan / the UsedMTS Centre, Winnipeg MB, July 7
Photo: Greg Gallinger
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Thousands of people filed into the MTS Centre to sing along to their favourite childhood pop-punk songs last night (July 7), and Blink-182 gave them exactly what they were looking for. Despite releasing a brand new record last week, the trio kept it safe and didn't really play much off of California. The night began with "Feeling This" and it wasn't until nine tracks into their set that they launched into the new album's lead single, "Bored to Death," then played one of the record's joke tracks "Built This Pool," before throwing it back to '99 with "Dumpweed."
 
It's kind a bummer — some of the new songs are actually pretty decent. "Sober" is a super catchy summer track that would have been cool to have heard on the night.
 
Overall though, the band sounded great, and were probably the tightest they've ever sounded. Matt Skiba is definitely a better vocalist than the band's ex-guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, which is good; he has large shoes to fill, as DeLonge's unique style of singing was a huge part of the band, and it felt a little weird with him no longer there. Despite messing up the intro guitar riff on "Dysentery Gary" and having to start over, Skiba did a good job throughout the night. Again, it's just too bad some more of the songs he actually helped record didn't make it into the set list. "Brohemian Rhapsody" did make it into the encore, but that song is only 28 seconds long, more amuse-bouche than entrée.
 
The stage set-up was basic but efficient. There were lots of bright lights, and at the end during "Dammit," the confetti cannons went off. There was no big drum solo courtesy of Travis Barker where he gets spun around in the air on the platform he's strapped into, which is something that's usually happened in the past. There was also curiously little in the way of stage banter, and Mark Hoppus must have dedicated at least three songs "to the ladies" that night in place of the usual dick jokes and curse words. The only ones heard that came out of their mouths was during "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" and "Family Reunion," but with the whole band in their 40s now, it makes sense that they might finally want to grow up — at least a little bit.
 
Blink-182 have their share of cheesy songs, but Simple Plan have always managed to take things to the next level. The band sounded fine playing right before the headliners, and Pierre Bouvier doesn't sound quite as whiny live as he does on recordings, but their set still had a hokey-ness about it, particularly when they ended with "Perfect," one of the most cringe-worthy Simple Plan singles ever. The big disappointment was when they played "I'd Do Anything" and Hoppus didn't even come out to sing his own part, even though both bands are on tour together. The crowd still seemed pretty stoked on it though, and that song still got one of the best reactions. The only time they kind of went quiet was when they played "Farewell," off their newest record Taking One For the Team, further proving nostalgia was fuelling the night pretty hard.
 
The album art for their 2004 release In Love and Death provided the backdrop for the Used, and they too focused more on their old favourites than their new material. Bert McCracken may have finally chopped off his long, greasy locks, but he's still an energetic frontman and seemed the most enthusiastic out of everyone to be there last night. He was a lot of fun to watch, and the big sing-along during "The Taste of Ink" was pretty epic. They opened with "Take It Away," and before they launched into "A Box Full of Sharp Objects," they played the opening guitar riff from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," just to bring the past back one last time.
 
 
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