Blink 182 And Lil Wayne At Barclay Center, Friday, September 20th, 2019, Reviewed
As EXPOTUS Barack Obama noted once, we can’t all be Lil Wayne. That’s certainly true. But one person certainly can be, and, yes, you’d expect Lil Wayne to be Lil Wayne -apparently that is too much to ask for in 2019. The evening opened with UK pop punkers Neck Deep’s excellent 30 minute set of high octane and good natured melody. Then we waited at 740pm watching a countdown clock that ended and no Weezy at the end of the countdown. Then we got DJ T.Lewis to warm us up for half an hour. The concept of a DJ warming is just the pits, we’ve just seen Neck Deep, what makes Weezy feel we aren’t warm enough? It actually freezes an audience over. I assume it is because Weezy has 90 minutes to kill and only wants to work for an hour, not even that long. T.Lewis is a terrible MC, he uses the bread and butter of the job, repetition and rams it down our throats. Why exactly he thinks, “if you’re here with a friend hold your hands up” is clever I have no idea, but he thinks it’s so clever HE BELLOWS IT DURING THE 55 MINUTES WE ACTUALLY GET WEEZY. That’s right pop pickers, after irritating a clearly indifferent audience for half an hour, T.Lewis added back up and back in front for Weezy and said the same dumb stuff, the man has nothing to say and won’t stop saying it.
Weezy did the same thing. “I ain’t shit without you” is a commendable piece of boiler plating the first time, but he says it after every other track, he says it and he says it, and everything reeks of bullshit. Obama was clearly correct, if Lil Wayne isn’t the best ever, he is certainly in the conversation. His voice is unique, his flow godlike, his rhyming skills so great he rewrote the book of rap with “A Milli,” and over the years his mixtape of covers have been eagerly awaited. But performing with a rock band, it is clear he is not a rock star, and during a set that was a herky jerky ride into irrelevance, he couldn’t balance himself. It was not his audience, it was Blink 182’s fans, and while he has the material and then some to blow the audience away, he over emphasized Tha Carter V and even threw in two off the sooner we forget it ever existed the better I Am Not A Human Being II the better. Lil Wayne was the only reason I went, and he can only go so far down because, if you look hard enough, it is definitely Weezy. But this was lazy stuff, much worse than the show I caught at Governors Ball in June. HUGELY worse than the concert with the man he mentored, Drake, at Forest Hills Stadium (here) five years ago. Drake was terrible last year at MSG (here) and Weezy was just as bad, Lil Wayne had a birthday cake rolled out for him. Why? It was eight days before his birthday. Weezy will be 37 -old in baseball terms, not too old to rap by any stretch of the lexicon. Some good moments, Drake’s “Hell Yeah, Fuckin’ Right,” his own “No Problem,” “John,” and “Lollipop”. Also, a Gucci Mane cover, another rapper who leans too hard on his DJ.
It was the last night of the tour and last nights of the tour are the last day of 7th Grade of the pop music business. I’ve seen great ones by Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, best of all the last night of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade Tour… so what did Blink 182 have for us? A Facebook asking us to dress as aliens (nobody did so). They performed their excellent Enema Of The State (and a handful of other songs) -but without Tom Delonge? I saw Blink 182 at K-Rock’s dysfunctional family picnic (with Kid Rock!) at Jones Beach in 1999 and they had an adolescent mischievousness between Mark Hoppus and Tom that they didn’t have the slightest chance of replicating with Matt Skiba. Though the band had just released a better album than California with Nine, and had played a terrific encores only show at Saint Vitus the night before, they were rotten. The most obvious problem is Matt Skiba. Matt is Alkaline Trio’s guitarist and singer and the exact replacement for Tom. I wrote this about Alkaline Trio when I saw em in 2013 (here): “what happens on stage isn’t as, if not light, airy as you’d expect from a trio.” The band were too heavy, too serious, too A Day To Remember. Nobody is complaining about Matt’s guitar playing, which lifts the entire band to a higher plain, but his singing and demeanor is all wrong: the intense rockisms are at odds with the Blink 182. And for sure, Mark can’t save him, Mark can’t even split the difference, Mark’s idea of fun is running across the stage and/or jumping up and down. All his patter is canned stuff, and not really cool or fun, or sharing, or, and here is a word for you, funny.
Blink-182 sucked, Lil Wayne was a mammoth disappointment, and Neck Deep are welcome back whenever they choose to visit.