By Ross Ketschke:
Blink 182, arguably one of the most successful band to emerge from the pop-punk explosion of the 1990’s, proved to a sold out crowd at Mansfield’s xFinity center that they are back on the map as a powerhouse group ready to bring rock, laughter, and emotion to a worldwide audience.
Opening the night was Baltimore Maryland’s All Time Low, a pop rock four piece group who brought energy and excitement to open the show. Performing a mix of their breakout hits like Back Street Serenade from their 2012 album “Don’t Panic” and singles off their latest release “Future Hearts” like Missing You and Something Gotta Give, All Time Low played to a crowd of both new and old fans excited to have such a high profile group as the opening act. Normally a headlining caliber band, All Time Low did not let their early set time prevent them from bringing their usual power and passion to their performance, which has helped keep them as one of the most relevant bands in the so-called “warped tour scene” since first coming into national attention in the mid 2000’s. They closed their set with with their 2007 breakout single Dear Maria, Count Me In, setting the stage for what would be an non-stop high energy night of powerhouse acts.
As the sun set over Mansfield, A Day To Remember from Ocala Florida exploded onto the stage, with a punch-packing performance of their 2008 hit Downfall Of Us All. Throwing a barrage of beach balls, toilet paper rolls, and t-shirts into the ecstatic crowd, A Day To Remember brought a set filled with crowd favorites both old and new. Taking a brief break from their usual pop-punk/post harcore fusion, vocalit Jeremy Mckinnon and guitarist Kevin Staff slowed things down during the set playing an acoustic favorite If It Means a Lot To You on a stage almost entirely lit by the crowd’s cellphone flashlights. The sold out crowd was also treated to the new single Paranoia from the band’s upcoming sixth studio album “Bad Vibrations.” A Day To Remember reached back to an old school favorite to close the set, signing off with the fan favorite The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle.
Finally, it was time for the main event of the evening. Dropping the curtain to a high energy performance off their 2003 self-titled album Feeling This, Blink-182 showed in classic fashion that pop-punk is certainly not dead. Fresh off their seventh studio album “California”, the band began their set riding a massive wave of rediscovered commercial success. Now sporting a new line up featuring former Alkaline Trio guitarist and singer Matt Skiba, Blink-182 has a fresh and exciting sound to their set, seamlessly blending light hearted classics like What’s My Age Again in with harder hitting new material like San Diego and Los Angeles. Despite concern from many fans about Skiba’s place in the group, replacing founding member Tom Delonge, his impeccable guitar playing and impressive vocal range between songs, fans were awed by the incredible talent of drummer Travis Barker, renowned as one of the most skilled drummers in modern music. Implementing spectacular pyrotechnics and a hi-def light show of images and videos from Blink’s decades long history, the show was both visually and sonically thrilling. Closing the set with an encore performance of their 1997 hit Damnit, Blink-182 closed out the evening leaving the crowd screaming for more. Following their stop in Mansfield, the tour now travels north for shows in Toronto and Buffalo, before working their way through the midwest and eventually home to California for a homecoming show at the Los Angeles Forum.