If you're a small person, the front is not the best view. And if you hate seeing shitty bands, any of this is not a good view. This whole, everything, every seat here.I was sixteen when Blink-182 released their first and, what turned out to be, last live album. Back then, if you liked Blink you were picked on mercilessly by all the "punks" at school -- I just remember thinking Enema of the State and Dude Ranch were the greatest albums ever and not giving a fuck what that kid in the Dead Kennedys shirt said. Now in 2007, in a day dominated by Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, all of a sudden Blink doesn't even seem that bad anymore to the punk community. They're recognized as a pop-punk band that many listened to before discovering other punk bands. Personally, if my friend had never let me borrow that Blink CD back in high school, I most likely never would have even been exposed to this style of music in the first place. So for that, I'm thankful. Even if Tom DeLonge is a joke now.
Now for the album. Released at the height of their popularity, the song selection naturally favored the multi-platinum Enema of the State. In fact, it so favors that album that the first five real songs (unless you count the hilarious "Family Reunion") are the first five songs from Enema. This is a disappointment and takes a lot away from the album, although the sped-up and energetic "Dumpweed" and "Don't Leave Me" are fantastic openers. Unfortunately, "Aliens Exist" and "Going Away to College" are quite unexciting in a live setting and by track six you're starting to get a little bored.
The album really starts to pick up, however, when they dive into the batch of Dude Ranch songs. "Dick Lips," "Untitled," "Voyeur" and "Pathetic" are all showcased here, although "Josie" is mysteriously left out. The general consensus among Blink fans seems to be that Dude Ranch is their greatest album, so naturally this stretch of the live album is also going to be its strength. Of course, a common complaint of this live album is the fact that only five of the nineteen songs were chosen from Dude Ranch, which is certainly a valid criticism that I agree with.
Mark and Tom's chemistry on stage in between songs is fantastic; the jokes are extremely juvenile and immature, but that was the point and they're still funny even today. The last 29 tracks on the album, in fact, are nothing but twenty-second clips of jokes and is arguably one of the greatest parts of the album (although the Satan jokes get old very quickly). It's amazing to listen to today and know that Mark and Tom hate each other and are taking music way too seriously now.
Overall, this a decent live release. Not the best ever -- NOFX, Reel Big Fish, MxPx and the Descendents have all released far superior live albums. It would have been better if they mixed the Enema and Dude Ranch tracks together instead of isolating them into two distinct parts of the album. Also desperately missing are songs from Cheshire Cat; only two are represented. Despite these flaws, however, The Mark, Tom and Travis Show is still a fun album between the jokes and the songs that are represented; the bonus track, "Man Overboard" emerged as a fan favorite after this release.
So will Blink ever get back together for a reunion tour when the cash starts running low? Probably, so don't worry if you never got to see these guys live. In the meantime, pick this album up on eBay -- it was a limited release, so you probably won't find it in stores.