Blink 182

It’s not every day that you get to attend a gig with a line-up that a gig junkie could only dream of. Reviewing Twin Atlantic back in April 2012 was a pleasure and knowing that they would be supporting the legendary Blink 182 – well, it was a show that just could not be missed.

I arrived at the LG Arena to the familiar sound of the awesome Scottish foursome, only this time they sounded bigger and even better – like I ever thought that would be possible! Twin Atlantic filled the arena with their alt-rock classics such as ‘Time for You to Stand Up’, ‘Free’ and ‘Make a Beast of Myself’ and got an amazing response from the lively crowd! They went down an absolute storm and Birmingham was warmed up by the great Scots ready for the second band of the night The All American Rejects.

Twin Atlantic

I first saw alternative rock band, The All American Rejects live at Reading Festival back in 2005 so I was looking forward to hearing old favourites of there’s such as ‘Swing Swing’ and ‘Move Along’ as well as more of their recent work such as ‘Beekeeper’s Daughter’ released back in January 2012. I wasn’t disappointed.

Vocalist Tyson Ritter was a born entertainer which was apparent as he interacted with the excitable crowd and put on an entertaining performance throughout the 30 minute set. Towards the end of his set he had ‘words’ for those seated in the arena and came across slightly arrogant, however after that little outburst; he took a lie down to sing ‘Gives you Hell’. Obviously, being rock ‘n’ roll gets tiring. Somehow, the band magically worked Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror in the midst of the song, of course with some inspiring amendments to the lyrics “If you wanna make the world a better place.. then fucking do something different.”

All American Rejects

While my memories of The All American Rejects in 2005 were a hazy cloud of the past, the band opened their set full of personality and put on a show that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Only half of an hour now stood between 13,000 people and the headliners.

All American Rejects

I first discovered Blink 182 in 2001, when they released their album ‘Take Off Your Pants and Jacket’. I was 13 years old then, had already missed out on years of their work and therefore took it upon myself to play the catch up game because… What I was hearing was sweet; and I wanted some more of that sugar. 10 years later, older and wiser, to be able to see one of the most influential bands of my childhood, there’s no other way to describe it than as a dreamy privilege.

Blink 182

As a huge black curtain covered the stage and men climbed the ladders to take their seats in the heights of the lighting rigs, the crowd began to cheer and it was a tense few minutes waiting for that curtain fall. But eventually, the arena turned to black, the crowd screamed, bright lights lit up the stage and there gracing Birmingham were the American pop punk heroes Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker. The trio brought the LG Arena to life with ‘Feeling This’ from their 2003 self- titled album Blink 182 and it was the start of an amazing 90 minute set.

They went on to blow the crowd away with ‘Up All Night’ from their latest album Neighbourhood and then took us back a few years to ‘The Rock Show’ from Take off Your Pants and Jacket. Now if I can just go back to The All American Rejects’ Tyson Ritter asking why some people were sitting down, I can confirm that when Blink 182 came on to the stage, there was not a single person seated. There was no way that you could be sitting down as the energy and enthusiasm that came across in every single song just had you in the air.

Blink 182

Not only did Blink 182 keep their fans entertained with their individual musical talents, but of course through their fun and youthful personalities adding comical value in between each song. They wouldn’t be the same band without Hoppus and DeLonge making their crude jokes about each other’s moms!

There was a great atmosphere in the arena on this night and I had a good view of the kids that had crowd surfed their way to the front to show their support for Blink 182.

Blink 182

Mark ’50 Shades of Grey’ Hoppus (as he called himself), announced that the next ‘seasonal’ song would be played in the dark and as the lights went out and we all stood in darkness, the next 40 seconds was the fast paced ‘Happy Holidays, You Bastard’. Pure brilliance.

The next two songs ‘Man Overboard’ and ‘All the Small Things’ took us to the bit that Hoppus described as ‘where we pretend we’ve finished but then you guys shout for us to come out and play you some more songs’. The floors were shaking as everybody stamped their feet to get the trio back on stage.

Blink 182

Just a few minutes later, in the middle of the packed out crowd, a spotlight shone down and walking to the middle stage were Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus with an entourage of security guards. As they stood in the middle of their thousands of fans armed with a bass and an acoustic guitar, Tom DeLonge began to talk of how they went their separate ways. Now, making their return and going strong, it was amazing to see their original fans now in their mid-twenties still there with so much love and support. The crowd loved it and Mark and Tom went on to play acoustic versions of ‘Reckless Abandon’ and ‘Going Away to College’. They then pointed the crowd in the direction of the main stage where Travis Barker was waiting to keep the arena captivated for the next 5 minutes.

These few minutes consisted of an amazing light show and the outstanding talent of Travis Barker as he entertained the crowd with a drum solo to the track ‘Can a Drummer Get Some’. One describing Barker’s solo could not do it any justice; I can only say what I witnessed was possibly the most impressive show of individual talent that my ears and eyeballs have ever been blessed with.

Blink 182

After Barker’s solo, the rest of the group returned to the stage and began to play out their gig with ‘Man Overboard’ and ‘Dammit’. They couldn’t have picked a better song to see the show out with and as they sang ‘well I guess this is growing up’ white glitter paper streamed into the crowd and it was a fabulous, what I thought was an ending, to the show.

Of course, there was one short song that they had to end the show with, a song with the most beautiful profanity – ‘Family Reunion’. It was a tight and unexpected ending to the set.

Blink 182 have many more shows coming up across the UK and Europe as well as festivals of which there is no doubt that they’ll be just as successful as this show at the LG Arena. They have such a huge fan-base that has followed them from the start, that they’re sure to get a huge and warm response from all around the world.

It’s not every day that you get to see a band whose music triggers so many memories and gives the feeling of nostalgia. For me 16/06/12 is a day that’s going to stick with me and I hope that I’ll be making the trip back down memory lane in another 10 years’ time.

Gig Review by Laura Foster
Gig Photos by Bianca Barrett

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