It’s been a long time since the split but thank god fate brought the guys back together as Blink 182 (the soundtrack to my childhood) were in Birmingham in the LG Arena tonight. The sixth studio album without help of an outside record producer “Neighborhoods” is nothing to write home about but it is the band’s sixth album and means that they can come and perform the most memorable, humorous nights the band are loved for. With various side projects it’s great to see the original Blink back together again. The band have been known in the past to not practice before a gig but this European arena tour certainly had some thought and work put into it. All into their 30’s and with their families Delonge, Barker and Hoppus were determined to make tonight special.
The set list was incredible, with every hit you can think of played. Everything from “Feeling This” to “Up All Night”, Blink kept the momentum going consistently until the confetti cannon at the end, an experience you shouldn’t miss. After all this time the audience were mainly youthful, showing that this kind of music doesn’t fade away, from each generation to generation Blink will never be forgotten.
First up were the support act and, in my opinion, a strange choice to start the show. The All American Rejects burst on stage with bundles of energy but you could evidently see tonight that they’re seriously lacking in the hits department. They were superb, when performing the two songs “Dirty Little Secret” and “Gives You Hell” but the problem was that one was at the begining and the other was right at the end of their hour-long set. It seems odd that the well established Rejects haven’t wrote a few more hits but it didn’t take away from their performance (notably Tyson Ritter.) Full of charisma, Ritter bawled around the stage throwing his guitar around and laughing (often on his own) hysterically at his own mid-song jokes. Ritter was a funny guy, an American Russell Brand, and his set did need livening up so his input was welcomed by all. Highlights include “Swing Swing” and of course the encore, in which Ritter lay on the floor throughout, light heartedly singing “Gives You Hell.”
But now it was time. An eerie guitar sound could be heard over the wails of the adolescent, the banner dropped and, just like that, the awesome trio went straight into “Feeling This”. Blink 182 are at their best on stage, not just when it comes to the music but the bits in between were very important. After every hit the lights dimmed and three spotlights beamed onto Marc, Travis and Tom. This is what made Blink 182 into what they are today. They can just talk about anything and people won’t get bored of it, even the awkward silences were enjoyable. Hoppus did most of the talking and even boasted the group’s anti drug message with “Me and your mother are very ashamed of you” followed by “I’m going to have to teach her a lesson” from Delonge. Casually throughout the set Marc asked “Do you want another?” which then transpired into hit after endless hit. Every song was a highlight, especially “The Christmas Song” played in total darkness for added effect. There were suprise elements to tonight with the end of “Dammit” turning into “Call Me Maybe” and an out of the blue rendition of “We Are The Champions.” There was no stage diving but Blink really didn’t need it tonight. They can be sophisticated and completely steal the show which says alot about them.
Every song is simplistic yet so powerful, it shows the power of a true song writer. Delonge and Hoppus may not be the best guitarists but Travis is definitely the best drummer I’ve ever seen live. His solos were immense, especially right at the end when he drilled out “Let The Drummer Get Some” for an encore to suprise the crowd after a spectacular stripped down session on the soundbox right at the front of house in which Marc and Tom played some acoustic guitar. Four songs for the encore with an added confetti cannon was an amazing way to end the almost two hour show. The thing is that Blink 182 can never lose their immature lyrics and pop anthems as who wants to see that! The audience tonight were mainly adolescent which shows that it’s not just the 90’s kids who love them.
A confetti cannon and a beach ball party was a fitting way to end the show, an amazing chance to see Blink after such a lengthy time. They still look like they’re enjoying it and the side projects still sound good so hopefully Blink or members of Blink will be coming back sooner rather than later.
Review – John Kirby
Photos – Andy Watson