This is the band's first and only live album and with sixteen of their most popular early tracks (collected from Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch, and Enema of the State), this LP is also seen by many fans as their first, albeit unofficial, compilation of greatest hits.
It was recorded across two dates on the Loserkids Tour of 1999, between San Francisco and Universal City, California, and was produced by Jerry Finn for a November 2000 release on MCA Records.
In addition to its sixteen live hits, this album also features the previously unheard studio track, 'Man Overboard', a bitter-sweet, mid-tempo song about moving on and severing ties with an alcoholic friend. Given the subject matter and its dual vocal treatment, this track is widely considered, among fans at least, to be a form of closure for Hoppus and DeLonge, and a tribute to their former drummer, Scott Raynor.
Also on this collection are two of the band's previously unreleased live comedy tracks: the short and self-explanatory 'Blow Job', and the largely instrumental 'The Country Song', a charming little ditty about father-son incest. Shorter still is a third comedy track, the wonderfully explicit 'Family Reunion'. This brash, upbeat and classically blink anti-lullaby had previously featured on 1999's Short Music for Short People, a compilation album of "30 second songs" by 101 different bands.
Words of Wisdom
Rewarding fans at the end of the album are 29 short clips featuring stage banter between Mark and Tom, collectively known as their 'Words of Wisdom'.
Aside from the bonus offerings, however, this record is all familiar territory, and it's good to be able to hear some of blink's early hits with an updated quality of production – even if they are live.
There are also some tempo changes, notably to 'Dumpweed' and 'Don't Leave Me', both of which were sped up, as well as some jokey or personalised substitutions of lyrics (e.g. "you're so beautiful Skylee," as opposed to "you're so beautiful to me" on 'Going Away to College', and "I like to watch her change" instead of "I wait for her to change" on 'Voyeur'), all of which contributes to the overall sense of fun and spontaneity of the album.
Following the release, reviews were mixed. Some thought the collection was overstuffed with Enema of the State tracks and wasted an opportunity to re-release some of the band's earlier hits, while others viewed it as a snapshot in time of the band at their peak.
Either way, The Mark, Tom and Travis Show was popular among fans and quickly became a valuable rarity due to its limited release of one million copies – at one stage fetching hundreds of pounds each online – before reissues and digital downloads made it more widely available.
Overall, this album is blink-182 in essence – laid-back, irreverent, spontaneous, and juvenile – which makes it an excellent introduction for newer fans who may be unfamiliar with the band at their peak.