Blink-182 are the new kings of Las Vegas
There would be no backup dancers at the second night of blink-182’s Kings of the Weekend, no sentimental video montage of the band’s history or rigs set up for band members to fly over the crowds inside the Pearl Concert Theater. Instead, the trio played nearly 30 songs in front of a draped background, with drummer Travis Barker’s hard-thwacking intro to “Feeling This” kicking off the music after an introduction by a tiny Elvis impersonator, who warmed up the audience with his rendition of “Viva Las Vegas.” The sophomore show of Vegas’ first punk-rock residency was on.
The 16-show series has blink-182 performing at the Palms for three weekends this month then four consecutive weekends beginning in late October. The Memorial Day Weekend shows started with a sold-out Saturday night, and Sunday’s concert went off without a hitch save for bassist Mark Hoppus slipping and falling on his posterior after the acoustic set. Otherwise, he bounced and skipped around the stage tirelessly as guitarist Matt Skiba kept his feet firmly planted in front of his microphone. Two huge video monitors on either side of the stage zoomed in on the action, but Barker’s drum riser was prominent and elevated enough for every seat in the house to get a good view of his powerhouse technique.
The trio tore through back catalog songs “What’s My Age Again?,” “The Rock Show,” and “Anthem Part Two” before playing material from Skiba-era album California, including the song that inspired the residency’s name. Skiba has been with the band for more than three years, replacing founding guitarist Tom DeLonge without trying to replicate DeLonge’s stage presence or sing with a distinctive nasal delivery. Although he mostly stayed anchored to his place on the stage, he perfectly counterbalanced his kinetic bandmates.
Although the scenery was sparse—Hoppus and Skiba played on a stage floor illustrated with a “Welcome to Fabulous blink-182” sign and art adapted from the California album cover—a few effects shook things up occasionally. Huge columns of smoke streamed from the front of the stage for the first of several times during “Anthem Part Two,” while fire came into play for “Bored.” Hoppus spoke for the band, encouraging the audience to pay attention to Skiba’s guitar playing during “Down” and forbidding them to smile during “Adam’s Song,” which hadn’t been played on tour since 2009.
Several other songs that had been out of live rotation for a while were part of the residency set list, including “Mutt” and “The Party Song.” Blink slowed things down for a three-song acoustic set, but once the theater was invaded by giant inflatable pizza slices, pretzels and blowup dolls the atmosphere took an appropriately adolescent turn. “I’m never touring again,” said Hoppus after blink played “Kings of the Weekend,” pointing at the ground beneath his shoes. “I’m just going to play Las Vegas.”
The Pearl at Palms, 9 p.m. June 15-16 & 23-24, starting at $59 plus tax and fee. 702.944.3200