Last week I had the ultimate privilege of seeing the 25 year strong Blink-182. Supporting them on this tour are the Front Bottoms and Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.Sadly, in true university student style I ended up late to the Motorpoint arena, which still had a queue wrapping half way around the building by the time the first act had started, resulting in only seeing the backs of the Front Bottoms.
However, I did get to enjoy Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, (two acts playing together). Their set was a perfect mix of emotional angst and upbeat melodies, which had fans of the act singing passionately along to their lyrics. Their set ended on a shaky, yet nevertheless, high note when an unsuspecting girl was pulled from the crowd and given the position of band harmonica player (Harmonicerer? Harmonicist?) during Dan’s Song, with ample support from the rest of us on the ground to help her through the fangirling. Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls exited the stage with a roar behind them, but not without Turner promoting his set at The Bunker later that night, stating – “I’m gonna put Queen Greatest Hits on and f*** off away from the board.”
With it being the first show of the tour it was not only me holding high expectations for the concert. This show was going to pump up the band. It was going to pump up the fans who are sat home clutching their tickets ready for later shows, and it was going to pump up everyone involved with this production in any way, kick starting them into the next few weeks of travelling and performing. As a precursor for what’s to come, this show was probably the pinnacle of importance for the guys, because the vibe they put out in that next 90 minutes would carry through for the rest of the tour.
The show started off with spectacular ideas, from the giant Union Jack (crossed with the signature Blink logo, of course) hiding the stage and dropping down to reveal the band, to the bursts of fire and the giant flaming “F***” that lit up behind them during the first song – despite two of the fire and smoke cannons not working as powerfully as they should have, it was still one of the most impressive starts to a show I’ve seen; rather than that slightly underwhelming feeling when an act just walks out onto the stage and starts their set. Also even though some of the flames didn’t shoot as high as planned, there was still enough fire on stage to be felt from the back balcony, meaning that us concert-goers left with a lovely little glow to our cheeks that had people asking “been out in the sun too long?”.
From here on out it was a typical punk show, with the classic witty remarks between songs (and pleas with the crowd to “Stop throwing shit at us!” courtesy of Matt Skiba, who flaunted a pair of very punk vertically striped bottoms). It was my first time experiencing a show in a place other than standing, so from my vantage point on the balcony I got to see all the little pits that formed throughout the crowd, and even some vape rising up clouds too…
All in all, it was a spectacular show with a couple of mishaps that did not ruin the evening in the slightest. It’s Blink-182 for crying out loud, they could have put a kid on the drums and came out wearing an Olaf costume and STILL have the crowd screaming for more…
Which, incidentally, is how the evening ended! After leaving the stage just long enough for the audience to start chanting, the members of Blink came back out for their inevitable encore. Hoppus was sporting the aforementioned Olaf head along with Landon Barker, drummer Travis Barker’s son, showcasing a totally sick solo on the drums.
It was here that it all came to a close, in something that looked like a scene from a movie. The confetti canons showered down on us, small bits of paper sticking to our sweaty skin and painting the floor red and white. The back of the crowd began to disperse as those at the front fought over guitar pics and setlists that were being thrown down. During the bustle out there were complaints of poor song choice, and specifically how there was more new Blink being played than old Blink, but it seemed to me a perfect balance of the two that proudly displayed all 25 years of their music; I mean, you can only fit so many songs into a 90 minute set, right?
Words: Bethan Linanne
Photographs: Jasper Wilkins