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November 22, 2014

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Back in time with Blink-182 at the Joint

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Allison Duck

Bassist Mark Hoppus performs with Blink-182 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.

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Travis Barker performs at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel with Blink-182 in July 2009.

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Bassist Mark Hoppus performs with Blink-182 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.

If you were a Blink-182 fan hoping for a flashback, the band’s deja-vu inducing set probably had you jumping, moshing and screaming for more Friday night at the Joint.

After a five-year hiatus, the So-Cal trio announced its reunion at the Grammy Awards in February, and the second night of a 52-date tour confirmed that the rock has definitely not left the building. Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker put on a classic Blink show: They sang their throats out, ran around like children with ADD and bantered about highbrow subjects like getting the audience pregnant and the Rock (as in, "do you smell what he’s cooking?") versus the rock.

“That was some ... awesome drumming, my friend Travis Barker,” DeLonge shouted to a shirtless and sweat-drenched Barker after the first few songs, before turning his attention to bassist Hoppus. “You’re like a really weird piece of jerky.”

It seems five years apart have done little to scramble the teen angst + energy + irreverence formula that won the band a dedicated fan base during its original run. Blink stuck to a set comprised of hits—friendly, sing-along tunes like “Rock Show,” “Always” and “Feeling This” — and delivered them in three-minute bursts of frenetic playing with little opportunity for solo adventures or live experimentation. The only real difference between the band’s 90-minute stint at the Joint and previous shows was Martin Phillips’ impressive light show, which filled the stage with constant color and, at times, even backed the band with falling rain.

While the packed crowd responded enthusiastically to every hit, the true highlights of the show (DeLonge and Hoppus’ occasionally hilarious banter aside), came when Blink dared to do something different. An extended intro to “Reckless Abandon” off 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, gave way to one of the band’s tighter performances of the night, and Barker’s encore-opening drum solo — performed as he spun 360-degrees — was one of the evening’s more exciting musical moments. The tattoo-covered musician laid into his drum kit as if he were working through some serious issues, while red and white lights flashed across the otherwise empty stage.

The show closed with a raucous rendition of “Dammit,” an inevitable crowd pleaser, with giant balloon men swaying onstage and confetti falling over the band. Hearing Blink’s members, now in their 30s, sing the lyrics, “I guess this is growing up,” was an ironic close to a show that was all about recreating their younger days. From this performance, at least, it seems they’ve succeeded in not growing up at all.

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