Despite some good-natured complaining about the cold weather, pop-punkers Blink-182 were as energetic and snotty as ever Friday night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
The show, part of the Honda Civic Tour, was late in the season for SPAC, which usually wraps its rock concerts by Labor Day. For this particular concert, it made sense for LiveNation, which puts on the concerts, to book later in the year to get it. Roughly 10,000 people filled the arena and the lawn, according to the company’s upstate New York marketing manager, Donna Eichmeyer.
“We’ve done shows past Labor Day in past years — one of the biggest was Journey maybe four years ago, and 20,000 people showed up,” Eichmeyer said.
The arena was already packed for Matt & Kim’s 7 p.m. set. Some in attendance welcomed the colder weather.
“I think it’s a beautiful day,” said Mike Schell, 24, of Amsterdam, who attended with Kristen Hamilton of Ballston Spa. “We’re not going to have to sweat in the hot 90-degree weather.”
But by the time Blink-182 hit the stage, the sun had long since set. The band quickly set the pace with “Feeling This” and their brand-new single, “Up All Night.” The band’s first album since reuniting in 2009, “Neighborhoods,” is due out later this month, and the band played a few more new ones later in the set to mixed response. “Heart’s All Gone,” with its hardcore speed and classic punk chord progression, was undoubtedly the highlight of the new.
The band was due to appear at SPAC last summer, but pulled out due to the death of DJ AM. They more than made up for it this night, stacking on the hits early in the night — “The Rock Show” and “What’s My Age Again” blasted forth in quick succession. The band then slowed down for the most powerful songs of the evening, both also hits — “Down” and “I Miss You.” Guitarist Tom DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus traded off vocals the whole night, but on these two numbers their interplay really clicked.
Drummer Travis Barker is the strongest part of the band’s live show, however. His short, tasteful solos kicked off many of the evening’s songs, including the appropriately rocking “Violence.” His power could be felt, literally, on songs such as “First Date” and the aforementioned “Heart’s All Gone.”
The performance was all he more remarkable considering that DeLonge was apparently suffering from a cold, as Hoppus revealed after smashing through “All the Small Things.”
Matt & Kim kicked things off with a sunny-sounding, joyous opening set that definitely warmed things up. Stunts included passing out balloons during “Good For Great” and drummer Kim Schifino crowd surfing towards the end of the set. It all worked, thanks not only to the duo’s earnest happiness but also to the catchy, tightly played songs. Originals such as “Yea Yeah” stood alongside quirky covers from Biz Markie and solos dropped in from Guns ’N’ Roses, with the two creating a massive wall of noise with just a drum kit and a keyboard.
My Chemical Romance one-upped Matt & Kim by bringing out giant balloons filled with confetti on their third number, “Planetary (GO!),” a highlight of the group’s livewire set. The band’s 2010 album, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” found the band shifting away from personal, relationship songs and into concept album territory, and the change has been for the better at least live. Older songs such as “Mama” and “Helena” sounded newly energized being delivered by an older, more confident band, and the new songs — including the ferocious slow build of “The Only Hope For Me is You” — shone all the more brightly.