Great leap be­yond

Blink-182 isn’t afraid of di­vid­ing fans and star­tling crit­ics as it en­ters a fresh stage.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By Chris Lee

FOR air­plane-pho­bic drum­mer Travis Barker, the gig re­quired a quick trip across town in a pimped-out low rider. Singer-bassist Mark Hop­pus flew 5,400 miles from Lon­don. And with sky’s-the-limit rock-star gusto, gui­tarist-vo­cal­ist Tom De­Longe by­passed traf­fic on the 405 and he­li­coptered in from San Diego.

With the sun high in the au­tumn sky, Blink-182 ar­rived at the Hol­ly­wood Pal­la­dium to find a punk-rock cen­tipede, a line of heav­ily tat­tooed, ex­trav­a­gantly pierced and Mo­hawk-sport­ing fans wait­ing for the sold-out show.

The scene made Hop­pus un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally wist­ful. “I was that dude!” he said. “I saw so many Pal­la­dium shows.”

With two back-to-back Pal­la­dium per­for­mances sell­ing out in 36 sec­onds (and three other quickly sched­uled dates at L.A.’s Wil­tern The­ater sold out as well), Blink-182’s pop-punk cul­tural out­put is still de­fined by ar­rested ado­les­cence.

Blink rose from San Diego’s sub­ur­ban tor­por to be­come per­haps the least likely al­terna-rock band to con­quer main­stream ra­dio.

But that band of bros singing about bur­ri­tos, prank calls and alien ab­duc­tion? They lost that snot-nose spirit long ago.

Con­sider that Barker nearly died in a fiery 2008 pri­vate-jet crash that claimed the lives of four other peo­ple on­board. De­Longe bat­tled back from skin can­cer in 2010. And nearly three years ago, Hop­pus moved to Europe.

For its Novem­ber shows, the band turned away from its ear­li­est ma­te­rial and spot­lighted its un­der­rated mas­ter­work: the 2003 un­ti­tled al­bum com­monly known as Blink-182. The plan was to play it front-to-back for the first time at the Pal­la­dium, in­clud­ing six songs Blink had never per­formed live be­fore an au­di­ence.

“That’s by far my favourite al­bum we did,” said Barker, tak­ing a break from pound­ing his prac­tice pads in an up­stairs dress­ing room. “It was ground­break­ing for us.”

Upon its re­lease a decade ago this­month, the self-ti­tled CD ar­rived as a great leap for­ward for Blink. It drew in posthard-core rock influences from De­Longe and Barker’s crit­i­cally hailed side band Box­car Racer, and ul­ti­mately di­vided fans and star­tled crit­ics.

While sell­ing more than 2.2 mil­lion copies and spawn­ing a No.1 hit (on the Bill­board al­ter­na­tive chart) with the melan­choly power bal­lad I Miss You, the

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