I hear Fantasy Football is something you can really get into if you’re into sports and know the difference between a try and a goal… But I’m not sports oriented, I’m more of your “attend a sporting stadium to see a band” kind of guy. So for me, the best way to kill time in fantasy land would have to be thinking about The Ultimate Shows That NEVER Existed and trying to find a way to make them work for everyone involved, so with that in mind, I’d like to present to you Wall of Sound’s Fantasy Concerts.
The idea is simple, think of a group of bands and/or musicians, all related in some way shape or form and put on a lineup that’ll have keen and eager fans crying about it… because it doesn’t exist. This should be something hardcore followers would call the “Gig of the Millennium” when asked about it and something they’d literally have to sell a body part to get a ticket to. If it seems outrageous and not possible, you’re on the right track.
For Volume 1, I’ve decided to tackle an idea that’s been building in the back my mind for the better part of the past 13 years and revolves around the one and only blink-182 (pre-Skiba). We know that blink has influenced many aspiring pop-punk bands throughout the years, but I’ll be leaving all those bands out of it and only including acts Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker have either played in or their bandmates have been involved with. That way the legendary trio won’t be playing back to back to back sets on the night. So without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to…
The Blinkwaves Racer 44 Tour
Kicking off the night (or depending on playing times, early afternoon) is Alkaline Trio, fronted by blink-182‘s newest
fill-in member guitarist Matt Skiba, alongside bassist Dan Andriano and drummer Derek Grant. I chose to include these guys because no doubt some fans would want to hear songs from blink’s California (Deluxe Edition) album so he’ll have to be on site for that regardless, so why not put Matt and co. to work early on to make them feel welcomed and kick off the festivities.
+44 would take to the stage next and be mark the first appearance of two of our three main attractions, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker playing alongside former bandmates, lead guitarist Shane Gallagher and rhythm guitarist Craig Fairbaugh. The boys would play through a selection of songs from their 2006 album When Your Heart Stops Beating including ‘Baby Come On‘, ‘Lycanthrope‘, ‘155‘ and a special rendition of ‘No It Isn’t‘ complete with a cheeky on-stage cameo from Tom Delonge who stands to the side of the stage awkwardly dancing to the breakup song written about him. The band closes with ‘When Your Heart Stops Beating’ before they exit stage right, some for the last time that evening.
Next, 30 Seconds to Mars would walk out with their circa 2002-2005 lineup consisting of frontman (and sometimes guitarist) Jared Leto, full-time guitarist Tomo Miličević, bassist Matt Wachter and Shannon Leto on drums. Considering Matt left the band just as their 2005 album A Beautiful Lie started taking off around the world, the band’s set would focus primarily on songs from that era and include (but not limited to) ‘Edge of the Earth‘, ‘The Kill (Bury Me)‘, ‘Attack‘, ‘Capricorn (A Brand New Name)‘, ‘A Beautiful Lie‘, ‘From Yesterday‘, ‘The Fantasy‘ and ‘Battle of One‘. At the close of their performance, Jared would be dragged off stage before he can attempt to play anything from their disastrous new album America, as Matt, still in view of everyone, slowly strums his bass guitar with the lights fading around him.
Then out of nowhere, a familiar synth/drum beat starts up that gets everyone screaming before the lights on the stage return and we can now see Matt Wachter is joined by drummer Ilan Rubin and guitarist David Kennedy before the echoing sounds of an Epiphone Tom Delonge Signature ES-333 start to play the opening bars of ‘Do It For Me Now‘ by Angels & Airwaves. Frontman Tom Delonge descends from the roof playing along and lands at his microphone just in time to sing the opening lyrics of the track. From here the band take us on a trip down memory lane by playing an extensive back catalogue set including ‘The Adventure‘, ‘Distraction‘ and ‘It Hurts‘ from We Don’t Need To Whisper followed up by the equally impressive ‘Secret Crowds‘, ‘Everything’s Magic‘ and ‘Sirens‘ from I-Empire. From Love Parts 1 & 2 only a select few make the cut with ‘Hallucinations‘, ‘Surrender‘ and ‘Epic Holiday‘ getting a spin before the band immediately launch into ‘The Wolfpack‘ and ‘Tunnels‘ from 2014’s The Dream Walker album.
The band, all bar Tom, depart as the frontman plays a solo, acoustic rendition of ‘Anomaly‘ (and tells a story about aliens or something), before he’s joined back on stage by Matt Wachter, David Kennedy and surprise guest drummer Brooks Wackerman (Avenged Sevenfold) before they smash out ‘Rite of Spring‘ and transition into Delonge’s solo work from his To the Stars… Demos, Odds and Ends album, playing ‘Suburban Kings‘, ‘New World‘ and wrapping up with ‘Circle-Jerk-Pit‘. During the applause, Matt and Brooks take a bow and head off behind the curtains, where they tag on bassist Anthony Celestino and Travis Barker who waste no time taking their positions and within four beats the guys jump into ‘My First Punk Song‘ by Box Car Racer.
Everyone loses their shit as the band play through classic tracks like ‘And I‘, ‘There Is‘, ‘All Systems Go‘ and in a surprise turn of events, for the first time ever ‘Letters To God‘ and ‘Letters to God, Pt II‘ (by AvA) are played back to back. At the end of the second song, Mark Hoppus runs on stage screaming “Hi everybody, I wanna play in Boxcar Racer too, Tom don’t dog me for a second time”. Tom replies, “Yeah but if you were a dog I’d fuck you”. Everyone laughs as Mark takes centre-stage and the band launch into ‘Elevator‘ which features plenty of sing-a-longs from the crowd too. At the end, Tom says to Mark, “dude, I should have said this a long time ago, will you join us for this last Boxcar song, we want to include you, you’re not missing out on anything”. Mark agrees and the tempo immediately increases for ‘I Feel So‘ which from an audience perspective, looks more like a super-group jam session of sorts. Tom screams the final lyrics “Let’s start over” before Mark crash tackles him to the ground and tells him “fuck off, it’s my time to shine”.
Tom Delonge and David Kennedy exit as Matt Skiba makes his way back onto the stage with his guitar and Mark’s bass and the blink-182 set begins with the boys wasting no time keeping the show going with a selection of tracks from California. With songs like “Cynical‘, ‘Bored To Death‘, ‘Rabbit Hole‘ and ‘She’s Out Of Her Mind‘ bringing the energetic party vibes back again + a surprise cameo from John Feldmann singing his infamous “na na na’s” and “woah ohhs”, everyone is losing their shit left, right and center. The boys slow things down with ‘Bottom of the Ocean‘ and ‘Long Lost Feeling‘ before wrapping things up with ‘Misery‘, ‘6/8‘, ‘No Future‘ and ‘Brohemian Rhapsody‘.
feat. umm, Yelawolf maybe?!
Following Yela‘s short set, Mark, Tom & Travis emerge, much to the approval of those in attendance and surprisingly jump into ‘Pretty Little Girl‘ from the Dogs Eating Dogs EP, which features a guest vocal spot by Yelawolf towards the end. The song ends, so does the rapper’s time on stage and the band jump straight into ‘When I Was Young‘ followed by the EP title track ‘Dogs Eating Dogs‘. It’s at this point we realise the band are playing a backwards set, taking us on an adventure through their back catalogue of songs from last to first, because up next ‘Ghost on the Dancefloor‘ from their Neighborhoods release plays out and a big picture of DJ AM is shown on screen as the guys power through the song with passion and ease. All the faster songs from the album get live renditions, including ‘Heart’s All Gone‘, ‘Kaleidoscope‘ and ‘Wishing Well‘ before the band wrap up with ‘Up All Night‘, a song they say they were supposed to release just after Untitled came out but because they were young, dumb idiots, they couldn’t keep it together for the benefit of the band. The guys take time to talk about their problems and how they’ve overcome them for the benefit of the band and their family life and also their other projects, including Tom’s spaceship he’s building. Test footage of his prototype flashes on stage and he shows the crowd where the on-board toilet is for peeing and pooing.
Mark chimes in with “Talking about Untitled, here’s a song from that record we didn’t get to release properly as a single because we broke the fuck up” and Travis Barker starts playing the opening beats to ‘Violence‘ before Tom’s iconic riff joins in and they’re underway with the Untitled saga, playing through songs like ‘Always‘, ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘, ‘Go‘, ‘Easy Target‘ and slowing things down for ‘I Miss You‘ at the song’s climax, the stage is now full of smoke and yet another mystery guest enters to join the terrific trio on stage, it’s none other than Robert Smith of The Cure weilding an acoustic guitar. After a short gushing fanboying moment about how they convinced him to appear on their album, the four musicians jump into ‘All Of This‘, complete with lights/mobile phone lights from the crowd. The song ends, everone cheers and Travis jumps straight into ‘Feeling This‘, which, much to the surprise of everyone in attendance, Robert Smith drops his guitar and remains on stage to co-sing with the band. At the end he picks up his guitar and walks off, waving at the crowd behind him. Tom makes a joke stating “fuck I didn’t think he would ever leave” and they continue on with the show, only now its Take Off Your Pants And Jacket in the spotlight with ‘First Date‘, ‘Every Time I Look For You‘, ‘The Rock Show‘ and ‘Anthem Part Two‘ all getting a spin. Travis by this point makes a joke about being tired and Mark/Tom rip into him saying “Oh poor Travis has been playing for the past two hours and his arms hurt, we better give him a break or OH and S will be all over us like DJ Khaled eating pussy” and immediately jump into the comedy section of the show with ‘Fuck A Dog‘ resulting in a crowd participation competition where the band call for fans in the mosh to join them on stage. Tom Delonge plays the opening cords over and over again until there’s enough people on stage who then have to act out as if they’re fucking a dog while the song gets played. The winner, (who is the best person simulating dog sex) scores a selfie with the band and a copy of California signed by Tom.
After this moment of pure comedic relief, Tom busts out ‘What Went Wrong‘ solo to give his bandmates time to recoup. They join him again after a few short minutes and Mark says to the crowd, “this is the song Tom used to listen to while masturbating and crying” and ‘Stay Together For The Kids‘ plays out. Following this is ‘Adam’s Song‘ as we transition into 1999’s Enema of the State and the tracks ‘All The Small Things‘, ‘What’s My Age Again‘, ‘Mutt‘ and ‘Aliens Exist‘ get a spin. At the end of ‘Aliens Exist‘, there’s an awkward pause as Mark jokingly eggs Tom on to tell us all what’s going on with his super secret government meetings and alien anal probing sessions. Tom, blushing, holds back saying “I can’t say, it’s top secret stuff that’s going to change the world” while Travis chucks in a ba-dum-tss to lighten the mood. Tom distracts everyone by starting to play the opening riff of ‘Dumpweed‘ and everyone forgets what was going on as they’re caught in pure pop-punk awe once more. At the end of the song, Mark jumps in again asking Tom about aliens and space travel, and if he’s gone crazy. Tom replies with “yeah I’m crazy, crazy about ‘The Girl Next Door‘” and it’s time for the Buddha era to play out as the boys throwback to 1998 with the beforementioned track, ‘T.V.‘, ‘Strings‘ and ‘Toast & Bananas‘.
At the end of Buddha, Mark and Tom look back at Travis and say “dude, what are you doing, you didn’t write these songs with us!” as a spotlight points to the right side of the stage at nothing. There’s disappointed sighs from the crowd as Tom adds “yo lighting dude, you’re pointing at the wrong side” and with that Scott Raynor waves at the audience as he makes his way to the kit from the left side of the stage, the two frontmen ask if he knows what he’s doing because “it’s been a while and you’re not as drunk as you were back then”, he gives them a thumbs up and counts in with four beats as Tom starts playing the iconic riffs of ‘Dammit‘ from Dude Ranch. Circle pits erupt and mass crowd surfers crawl all over the place as fans are sent into a frenzy of nostalgic proportions. The momentum doesn’t stop with ‘Josie‘ and ‘Boring’ following suit. At the close of the album, Raynor stands up, takes a bow and throws his sticks into the crowd as Travis reassumes his spot behind the kit. Mark calls out “dude, they’re coming out of your fee, you better go get them back if you wanna get paid that whole $1.82 we’re giving you” and starts playing the opening bass lines of ‘Man Overboard‘, the rest of the band join in and they’re underway with a surprise addition to the set. As the song ends blink start a “Raynor, Raynor, Raynor” chant, with Tom adding “Sucks dick” in between.
It’s at this point everyone realises there’s only time for a few songs left and Tom states, “talking about dick sucking, we’ve only got 7 more minutes to perform for you, we could have sex with each other but what would we do with the other 6 and a half minutes?” Laughter erupts and the band jump straight into Cheshire Cat‘s ‘M+M’s‘ and ‘Peggy Sue‘ before screaming, “this is the last song of the night, everyone get naked!” and ‘Carousel‘ begins to play at a much faster speed. Everyone gives their all like it’s the last day on earth and for a brief moment in time, all is right in the world.
The song ends, the lights on the stage go out and everyone in attendance screams like there’s no tomorrow. The cheers are louder than they’ve ever been at a blink show and the entire place is almost in ruins. There are guys and girls with ripped shirts, lost shoes and someone even lost a prosthetic leg in the madness, but suddenly, the venue lights go out and through the speakers is the faint sounds of the synth opening of a song that band haven’t played all night. As it gets louder and louder the cheers begin to increase and all of a sudden the lights come back on and blink-182 are all together on stage again, ready to perform one last song together. Travis counts them in and ‘Not Now‘ starts to play out, much to the approval of everyone who has still managed to keep their shit together and this performance has everything, there’s smoke machine, confetti cannons and a light show that’ll bring shame to anyone who has tried to use one in the past, on the backscreen images and video of the band throughout the years playout like a collective “this is your life” segment and for the first time in a long time, the band seem happy to be there on stage, playing music together. Fireworks round out the set and the band, now visibly wrecked by this point, take center stage and bow three times to a rapturous applause and cheering.
Congratulations, you survived. Things kinda got carried away and what started out to be an idea of how cool a concert of the above magnitude could be, quickly turned into a case of blink-182 fan-fiction porn… isn’t that how E.L. James (50 Shades of Fuck-Off) became a billionaire?
Anyways thanks for reading it, let me know what was missed or what needed to be added to the setlist/show and I may read your comments. For now, it’s time to grab a towel, clean myself up and assume the little spoon position.