Blink-182 Brings Rock Back to Coachella in a Big Way With Late-Breaking Set
Over the last two decades, Coachella has maintained its trend-setting reputation by hosting special guests, surprise sets and unexpected reunions before other fests get ahold of them. But never before have the three converged the way they did tonight, when the reunited classic lineup of Blink 182 played its first show in almost a decade at an hour-long set in the Sahara Tent announced just a day before the festival’s start.
Entering to “Also Sprach Zarathustra” — aka the theme to “2001” — Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge, playing together for the first time since DeLonge left the band in 2014, wasted no time reembracing the juvenile, fun, ridiculous double-time punk-pop that made them breakthrough radio stars in the late ‘90s and early aughts, opening with “Family Reunion” — a song whose lyrics are unprintable in a family publication. The band shared the same Jackass-style ease they did 20 years ago in their prime, with DeLonge and Hoppus cracking wise about genitals, the Dalai Llama and UTIs as they blasted through their set. “Rock Show” was an early highlight: as the biggest rock band on an international-pop-leaning bill, it was near-nostalgic to hear a giant shouty singalong, and the audience would only scream along louder as the set built its way to the moody “I Miss You” and the seminal hit “What’s My Age Again.” Though Barker hurt a finger earlier this year, forcing the postponement of the band’s tour, there was no sign of injury here — his playing felt crisp and precise, and the band felt tight and rehearsed.
It’s pretty incredible that Blink, once pop-punks bubble-gum stepchild, have become genre forebears, but it’s also undeniable: the set brought together both the younger and more classic Coachella demos in a way Blackpink or even Frank Ocean are unlikely to do later this weekend. Was it a sign that rock is ripe for a Coachella comeback? Maybe — or, more likely, it’s proof that no matter the generation, it feels good to put your arms around your friends and sing at the top of your lungs to a hit you’ve always loved, played by the original artist for the first time in a long time.