Back in October 2022, Blink-182 delighted fans by announcing that former singer/guitarist-co-founder Tom DeLonge would be reuniting with the band after eight years away. The band marked DeLonge's return to the fold with new music and the announcement of a sprawling world tour.
That world tour – delayed by injuries to drummer Travis Barker's fingers – finally got underway at this year's Coachella festival, and it wasn't quite what some fans were expecting.
One video shared to YouTube, which captured the band's performance of 2001 single First Date, appeared to highlight DeLonge's heavy reliance on pitch-correcting tool Auto-Tune to carry him through the song.
Response to the video had Blink fans split. One took to YouTube to comment "Honestly given past live performances... 1. You can understand what he's saying 2. He actually sounds better than he has in a long time 3. Auto-Tune or not... It's Tom DeLonge and he's back in Blink. Looked like a great Coachella performance overall", while another asked "I get that Tom is a notoriously bad singer live but is all that auto tune really necessary?"
Others pointed out that DeLonge has always used pitch-correction: "Tom is known for sucking live, always has," wrote one fan. "He has needed pitch correction religiously... that being said I love Blink 182. So it doesn't matter. Tom cannot really sing, that's why he changes the way he sounds from time to time to hit notes better." Another added: "Anyone who doesn't know that the high Auto-Tune was a joke isn't a real fan of Blink. There is history with Tom and this song."
Elsewhere, fans argued that experimenting with tech, instruments and gadgets has always been part of the Blink way, with one commenting: "People are taking so seriously about Blink using Auto-Tune. They're blink, folks! If you know them long enough, you know they just want to have fun on stage. And Tom loves experimenting sounds, tools, stuff like that." Another fan agreed: "He seems to use it [Auto-Tune] as an instrument. He plays with the tones of his voice with it."
Other fans were taking the whole debate less seriously, with one commenting that "Boy is sounding like T-Pain in this," and another chiming in with "Bro if you need to pop a Viagra to perform, go for it and let’s party. That’s the way I see it".
Blink-182's appearance at the first of this year's two Coachella Festival weekends was in fact a surprise gig announced just a day before it happened, with the band returning a week later to headline the event after singer/rapper Frank Ocean cancelled his planned appearance.
The band just confirmed via Barker's Twitter that their new album will be finished this week, before their world tour starts on May 4. DeLonge went on record at the start of 2023 to say the new record is "the best album we’ve ever made".