Gritty, the Flyer’s NHL mascot, made an appearance at Blink-182’s concert. - Contributor / Kristin Guglietti

CAMDEN, N.J. — Empty seats filled BB&T Pavilion and a man shouted “good thing we’re in the smoking area” despite the arena’s no smoking policy as people waited for Lil Wayne to come out.

I never thought I would see Lil Wayne at a Blink-182 concert. The concert was held on Sept. 18 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Blink-182’s “Enema of the State” album.

The smell of weed doesn’t surprise me. When Lil Wayne comes out on stage, he smokes a fat blunt with the crowd. The 5-foot-5-inches tall rapper wears a fancy patterned robe, rings the size of a grape tomato, a shiny necklace around his neck, and a large pair of sunglasses.

It reminds me of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” where Macbeth, who was once a great nobleman, puts on king’s robes as protection from the people angry at him for murdering King Duncan and acting as a tyrant.

In some ways, Lil Wayne has lost popularity in the rap scene to artists such as Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Nas whose songs are heard everywhere. At one point during the show, Lil Wayne performs his own rendition of Lil Nas’ “Old Town Road.”

According to DJ T. Lewis, Lil Wayne’s tour DJ, Lil Wayne is the “best rapper alive.” Lewis would frequently remind the crowd.

Indeed, the crowd was wild for Lil Wayne. As his performance went on, he removed layers of his wardrobe starting with his robe. Perhaps he wanted to look good on camera for the first few songs before stripping and getting real.

The crowd wasn’t as excited to see Neck Deep, however. The Welsh pop punk band opened the show before Lil Wayne. A lot of seats were empty, and no one was moshing in the pit area.

It appeared that not everyone knew who they were, which happens to lesser-known musicians opening for well-known artists.

I like to call Neck Deep the UK version of Blink-182. For Neck Deep, Blink-182 was a huge influence to their music and you can hear it. It reminds me of the pop punk music I listened to in the 2000s.

Strangely Blink-182 doesn’t give me the same nostalgia at their own concert. It was smart of them to bring Lil Wayne and Neck Deep on tour from a business perspective. They would’ve made a lot less money without them and frankly Blink-182 needed them.

The classic songs such as “Miss You” and “Adam’s Song” don’t sound the same with Matt Skiba, the new singer of Blink-182 who replaced Tom DeLonge. 

Skiba’s voice is deeper compared to DeLonge. It’s like if Taylor Swift performed a Beyoncé song. Yes, Taylor Swift is talented and has a great voice, but Beyoncé singing Beyoncé will always be better than Taylor Swift singing Beyoncé. 

I will say the new Blink-182 songs such as “Darkside” from their new album “Nine” sounded way better than any of the songs they played from the “Enema of the State” album. I’d much rather go see a tour with their new songs where they don’t mess with the classics. 

The only time I’d want to hear the classics is if DeLonge comes back, but right now he is working with his band Angels & Airwaves. They have a new song “Rebel Girl” that sounds like something from the 80s with its synth pop.

The one thing keeping Blink-182 together is Travis Barker, the drummer. At the concert, he performed a drum solo upside down while he and his drums were in a metal turning sphere.

Drumming upside down isn’t something new as bands such as Motley Crue and Slipknot have done it before. Barker goes into beast mode when he’s drumming in that spinning cage. He’s definitely one of the best drummers out there.

Blink-182 also played in Atlantic City June 30 during the final Warped Tour. Both shows felt similar sound wise. Crowd wise there were more people at Atlantic City, but both crowds were equally as excited to see the band.

During “First Date,” two people jumped over the barricade to get into the pit when security wasn’t looking. They got lost amongst the moshers running around.

Blink-182’s new album “Nine” was released Sept. 20. If you missed their last tour, you can check out their 35 minute livestream on Facebook from their Brooklyn, NY concert from Sept. 19.

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