Last Night: Blink-182 At The Woodlands

blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Matt & Kim Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 26, 2011

Surely, there have been murmurs about blink-182's reformation. Surely, many people have thought, "Oh, they're only getting back together because Angels & Airwaves and +44 aren't garnering nearly as much attention as blink did."

Surely there were people who thought it was a fluke and that the '90s era pop-punk rockers would once again disband, perhaps after releasing one more album that, when compared to the rest of the group's repertoire, would be considered lackluster.

And surely, anyone who thought any of that has had their doubts thwarted. Monday night, at what looked like a sold-out Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, blink-182 kept fans on their feet for nearly two hours as the trio played a little something for everyone.

The first album Aftermath ever bought was Enema of the State, and for those in attendance who, like us, became hooked in the late '90s and have loved the group ever since, the band played plenty of material from Enema, follow-up Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and 2003's self-titled album.

For fans who are just now getting acquainted with the band, blink also played three or four tracks off their new album, Neighborhoods (released today, by the way). And even old-schoolers were placated with a few cuts off Dude Ranch and the band's debut, Cheshire Cat.

It was an evening full of emotion for all, as Houstonians of all ages sang along to almost every song, creating an effect that megachurches can only dream of.

From "Josie" to "Up All Night" and everywhere in between, blink didn't disappoint. Bssist Mark Hoppus was his usual, upbeat self, hopping around the stage like he was still a teenager, coaxing the crowd into near-pandemonium and slapping his bass with such force that we thought the screws in our seats might come loose at any moment.

Guitarist Tom DeLonge was on point too, gaining the crowd's applause (and a few boos) with his off-color humor and all-around quirkiness (and by mistakenly referring to our football team as the Oilers). And of course, who can forget Travis Barker?

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Hell, the guy may be considered one of the greatest drummers of our generation. And thanks to his strong ties with the hip-hop community, fans were treated to a verse apiece from Bun B, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Skinhead Rob near the end of Monday's performance.

And if the obvious camaraderie these three show onstge wasn't enough to send fans into frenzy (which it was), it also helped that it all sounded fantastic, the drums especially. Every snap, pop and bass beat was crisp and clear, with Hoppus' bass and DeLonge's guitar layered nicely on top.

Blink is back, and they may just be better than ever. Sure, we, the fans, are ecstatic that they're back together, but they are too. You could see it in their eyes last night as they looked back and forth between each other and the audience.

Before blink, My Chemical Romance and Matt & Kim also put on great sets. Matt & Kim's, as usual, consisted of light-hearted humor, shout-outs to the likes of Beyonce and more cover songs than you've probably ever heard from a band with more than enough original material.

MCR, meanwhile, took to the stage in full Killjoy uniforms, blasting the crowd's collaborative eardrum with a mish-mash of old, new and even older material before ending their set with an emotional rendition of "Cancer."

Personal Bias: We grew up listening to blink, and we couldn't be happier that they're back together.

Overheard in the Crowd: The words to every song and little else. People pretty much shut up and listened, which was a nice change of pace from many concerts we've attended.

Random Notebook Dump: The voices of DeLonge and Hoppus meld together perfectly. Sure, the harmonies are great, but what's even better is when one of them sings the verses to a song while the other takes the choruses. Hoppus' voice, when the lyrics are somber, sounds like the voice of a man whose wife just left him... And DeLonge's voice takes you all the way back to high school, and it's as if you're listening to a guy spill his heart out after it was broken by his first love. A wonderful dynamic.

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