Say It Ain’t So…
Last night, legendary California Punk Rock group Blink 182 performed live at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center. Alongside them was opening band from Ohio Hawthorne Heights. The doors open at 5pm and there was already a line waiting to see these bands put on an amazing performance. The show which was set to start at 7pm, started right on time as the lights went out and on came Hawthorne Heights, the Ohio pop-emo band which has been around since 2001.
Members include Lead Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist JT Woodruff, Bass Guitarist Matt Ridenour, Lead Guitarist/Back Up Vocalist Mark McMillon, and Drummer Chris Popadak. Their set which featured songs from their studio albums such as; The Silence in Black and White (2004), If Only You Were Lonely (2006), Fragile Future (2008), Skeletons (2010), Zero (2013). They also performed tracks from their EP’s; Hate (2011), Hope (2012), Ohio Is For Covers (2015), Hurt (2015), all which were available at the merchandise stands located before entering the main stage area. Hawthorne Heights set lasted roughly 45 minutes (11 songs) before their was a brief intermission before Blink 182 took the stage. Lead vocalist JT Woodruff told the huge crowd of close to 3,800 people that we would be available for autographs and pictures at the merchandise stand. I even bought a copy of their EP “Hurt” in which he signed the cover and I took a picture.
It turns out Hawthorne Heights is no stranger to the Lehigh Valley area. They even mentioned it to the crowd “Every time we’re out here it’s fucking amazing, Pennsylvania you guys are great.” The band used to perform at the now shut down Croc Rock, which would feature mainstream/independent rock bands and hip hop acts nationwide. During the closing song JT Woodruff performed “Ohio is for Lovers” while Lehigh Valley native Jake Lare, the bassist for the former Lehigh Valley pop-punk group Sandlot Heroes, played onstage. Overall their performance was great and backed up by a well put together light show. They were the best opening act for Blink 182 and really set the perfect mood for the rest of the night.
Check out some photos of Hawthorne Heights performance below.
After a brief 30 minute intermission out comes Blink 182 around 8:35 pm. The sold out crowd at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center goes crazy. The band which reunited in 2009, and had recently replaced founding singer, guitarist and comic foil Tom DeLonge a year ago. Some criticism of Blink 182 in recent years has been that DeLonge’s voice was “shot,” “horribly ragged,” and “hoarse,”. DeLonge was replaced with new Singer/Guitarist Matt Skiba, from Alkaline Trio. Blink 182 has been to the Lehigh Valley before performing at the Sands in 2013, and the great Allentown Fair 15 years ago in 1999. This show was their fastest sold out show ever, which sold out in just under 20 minutes.
The band opened up with “Feeling This” which was followed up by “Whats My Age Again“. The lights which were synced perfectly with the new energy from the band was amazing. The new singer brought a new life to previous songs, which is refreshing to see. The band seemed to have grown up over the years and their performances reflect that. The band performed “The Rock Show” which is a fast and furious type of song. Some may remember the music video which they shot by themselves. The video shows them cashing a check from the production company, and Blink 182 just blowing it all away. The song was very well-played and improved from previous performances since finding a new vocalist. The drummer Travis Barker who is one of the greatest Drummers in the World, performed two drum solos which were accompanied by an amazing light show.
Travis Barker who is apart of the Hip Hop community, often helps artist remix their songs to give them the rock edge. He has worked with Hip Hop artist such as The Game, Slaughterhouse, Raekwon, Busta Rhymes, RZA, among other musicians. He released his first solo album “Give the Drummer Some” in March 2011. His performance was stellar, and it was an experience to see him on stage drumming live.
With the new album “California” expected to be released July 1st, the band performed their new hit single “Bored to Death” which is their highest chart topping song (#2 Alternative), since “I Miss You” about 12 years ago. Other songs included “Built This Pool“, which highlights the struggles of construction men being harassed during home pool construction. “Brohemian Rhapsody” and “Built This Pool” showcased the band hasn’t lost their sense of humor that we all know and love.
Blink 182 performed their 2001 snippet song “Happy Birthday, You Bastard” completely in the dark. Once the lights were out the crowd went crazy, during the lights out performance there were mosh pits, and fans bopping and jumping as the band jammed on. They closed out the main set with “Carousel” before taking a brief intermission.
When the band came back out the crowd erupted as the band began to play “All The Small Things.” The show ended with their song “Dammit“, which was accompanied by a shower of confetti.
“But everybody’s gone/And you’ve been there for too long/To face this on your own,” the band sang. “Well I guess this is growing up.”
Their performance which lasted 70 minutes and ended around 9:45 pm. Blink 182 has certainly matured over the years, and with their newfound singer Matt Skiba, they seem to be on the correct path. The venue cleared out and fans left saying, “this was one of the best concerts to date at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.” Tune2This definitely agrees that this show was one for the record books for the Lehigh Valley.
Check out photos for the Blink 182 performance below.