- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 13, 2004

When No Doubt and Blink-182 announced their co-headlining tour, it was instantly heralded as one of the summer’s must-see shows. It seemed like a perfect match. Both bands hail from Southern California and both play high-energy punk and pop-inspired tunes.

While those similarities exist on disc, in matters of their live show the two groups couldn’t have been further from one another on the rock spectrum. No Doubt’s set resembled a Michelangelo print, very technical and clean, while Blink-182 was more like a Jackson Pollock piece — rough, unruly and unregulated.

Queen’s “We Will Rock You” welcomed No Doubt to the stage first at the rain-soaked Nissan Pavilion Friday night and the intro was a clear prophecy of what the crowd was in for. Frontwoman Gwen Stefani was first to appear stage right, and her entrance was one of the few times the blonde fashionista stood still until her final bow.

The band quickly broke their 90-minute set open with one of their biggest hits “Just A Girl.” Appealing not only to the aural sense, No Doubt’s set was a visual splendor with nearly four changes and a dazzling light show. Backed by the three original members — bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young, along with touring keyboard and horn players Gabriel McNair and Stephen Bradley — the group tore through near perfect renditions of all 15 tracks on their newly released greatest hits album, including “It’s My Life,” “Spiderweb,” and “Don’t Speak.”

As with most co-headlining shows, the closing band always has big shoes to fill when they take the stage and Blink-182 sure put up a good fight. Dwarfed by five large video screens, the three guys from San Diego opened with a speed version of their current hit “Feelin’ It,” followed by several more hits that seemed to be played with a stuck fast-forward button. At one point, I even questioned whether the guys had a bet placed on how fast they could get through their set.

Nonetheless, guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker did eventually slow the pace and find time to play hits from several of their albums such as “Rock Song,” “Miss You,” and “Adam’s Song.” While their new LP was reportedly showing a more mature side of the guys, those mannerisms must have been left in the studio. From jokes about each other’s mom to Mr. DeLonge’s repeated belching into the microphone they proved why they wrote the song “What’s My Age Again?”

The pinnacle of Blink-182’s set came when the head-to-toe tattooed Travis Barker ascended from the middle of the pavilion floor to perform a drum solo on a revolving drum set that would have left a drum machine straining. Adding to its spectacular nature, Mr. Barker performed with only one foot and had to be carted around in a wheelchair because of a leg accident this spring.

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