Pop-punk legends Blink 182 were one of the few remaining bands on my “bands to see live” bucket list. I was due to see them perform at Brixton Academy on July 26th 2012 but they cancelled last minute due to Mark Hoppus falling ill. That was almost 5 years to the day. On July 19th of 2017 I finally witnessed them play at the O2 arena. However, this time they would be without long term member Tom Delonge. In 2016, Blink released the album California. The album was a huge success but it received mixed reviews. Matt Skiba, formerly of Alkaline Trio had taken the place of Delonge. Anyway, Blink 182 were massively influential on my music taste during my youth. There aren’t many bands that I feel as nostalgic for as I do for them. Was getting to finally see them live worth the wait?
Firstly, I’m not certain but by the time I took to my seat it seemed as if the arena was at full capacity. The crowd had piled in; you could definitely sense the anticipation in the air. Not long before the band arrived, a huge Blink 182 flag exploded onto the stage followed by a huge roar of excitement from the audience.
After a short wait, the band finally arrived on stage. There was a deafening cheer followed by an eruption of pyrotechnics as they kicked things off with the classic “Feeling This”. Fans sang along the whole time and continued as they delivered another fan favourite, “The Rock Show”.
As a whole, I was mostly satisfied with the set list that Blink delivered. They mostly stuck to their more popular songs or singles. It’s a shame that they didn’t throw in a couple of more obscure songs that I’m sure would have been appreciated. Still, when you pay that much money and you only have a short amount of time it’s probably best to stick to the hits. We got First Date, All The Small Things, What’s My Age Again?, Down, Anthem Part Two and Dumpweed.
I thought California was a very safe album with a couple of good songs. Thankfully, they played all of those songs and didn’t try and force much else upon the crowd. Bored To Death, She’s Out Of Her Mind & Los Angeles were very well received. It was a shame to not hear a single song from the underrated Neighbourhoods album though.
However, the highlight has to be I Miss You. It was very strange hearing this song without Tom Delonge and his unique way of singing it. Still, I credit Matt Skiba because at no point in the night did he attempt to impersonate Tom. He has his own vocal style and it suited things well enough.
The gig ended but not before the band returned for two encore tracks. I don’t actually recall what they were. I just know that I was very disappointed to not hear “Always” be one of them. As a fan I get it, Tom sings the bulk of that song but for me it’s one of their best. Also, I know it was a weekday but the 75 minute set felt a little bit short if I’m being honest
Overall, Blink 182 delivered the nostalgic journey that I had hoped for while showing that they have plenty left in the tank. It was a solid outing for sure, they sounded great. Considering the band was once again dealing with illness, I credit them for putting on the performance that they did.
Blink 182 @ The O2 Arena