The New Jersey stop on No Doubt/blink-182’s 16-date coheadlining tour was a supremely awesome night of punk-pop and reggae-rock. Or at least that’s what the thousands of hormonal adolescents who turned up June 4 at the PNC Bank Arts Center seemed to think, as they shrieked for three hours. The high- and lowlights:
BEST SING-ALONG Gwen let the crowd take the first few lines of ”Don’t Speak,” which has apparently become Gen-Y’s cheesy power ballad of choice.
BEST MOHAWKED DRUMMER Blink’s Travis Barker beat out No Doubt’s tennis-skirt-clad Adrian Young. Not only was Barker’s hair sharp enough to slice meat but he drove the beat with enough energy to fuel the QE2. Bonus: Barker’s audacious drum solo, played from a levitating riser in the lawn seats.
BAND MOST IN NEED OF AN EXTRA GUITARIST In contrast to ND’s tight-as-Gwen’s-abs performance, blink sometimes sounded sloppy and thin. There’s a difference between ”punk rock” and ”not giving a crap.”
PROP MOST LIKELY TO BE APPROPRIATED BY THE SHARPER IMAGE CATALOG Adrian Young’s Technicolor glow-in-the-dark drum kit.
FUNNIEST STAGE BANTER While ND kept it to a minimum, blink riffed jokes aimed at their core audience: 12-year-olds. Best line: ”I exercised today. I put a towel on my penis and moved it up and down.”
MOST POPULAR MERCH ITEM The $10 pink blink-182 foam-and-mesh trucker cap. Pink is sooo punk rock.
MORE PROOF THAT SHE’S THE HARDEST-WORKING WOMAN IN SHOWBIZ High-kicking and cartwheeling throughout the set, Gwen gave the kids their allowance’s worth. Even better, she belted out the hits without gasping or backing tapes. Take that, Britney! No Doubt: A- blink 182: B+