With the original dates of this UK tour being cancelled last year due to their latest album ‘Neighbourhoods’ taking longer to complete than expected, it was unevitable how hectic and packed Blink-182‘s headline tour would be. A year later, they’re back in Manchester to play to a filled Arena, and with over a year wait in this show the trio have a lot to make up for.
Scottish openers Twin Atlantic (****) set the tone well, bringing their anthem alternative rock tunes to the table such as ‘Make A Beast Of Myself’ to a great reception. It’s clear to see how much the band have progressed so fast since the release of their debut full-length ‘Free’, and their stage presence displays the experience that has married with this.
It’s a shame then that The All-American Rejects (**) bring down the quality of the show a few levels. Though their pop-rock hits are undeniably catchy and the room fills with sing-a-long moments scattered throughout the likes of ‘Swing, Swing’, what really lets these guys down is frontman Tyson Ritter. His vocals are especially nasal and at times sounds like he wants to sound more American than he already is. Throwing himself about like a kid in a tantrum and shouting “motherfucker” and something about biscuits is entertaining to watch at first, but he over does it. Still, the band have some shining moments, such as ‘It Ends Tonight’, ‘Kids In The Street’ and ‘Move Along’. It’s just a pity they’re far and few inbetween.
Once the curtain veiling Blink-182 (*****) drops however, all the sloppiness seen with The All-American Rejects is lost and it’s abundantly clear that this is their show. From the first chord of set opener ‘Feeling This’, the pop-punk mainstays have the Manchester crowd in the palm of their hands, and they’re more than happy to be there. Big hits in the form of ‘I Miss You’, ‘What’s My Age Again?’ and ‘Down’ get both screams and copious amounts of bouncing throughout the arena, and tidal waves of crowd surfers clamber their way closer to their heroes on stage during ‘All The Small Things’.
What stands strongest in their set however are the less predictable moments. Of course everyone wants to see them play their career milestone songs, but the lesser known ‘Violence’ is a great addition to their set, and a cheeky insertion of ‘When You Fucked Grandpa’ brings a few laughs. Tom Delonge‘s and Mark Hoppus‘ brief move to the small stage in the center of the arena for acoustic renditions of ‘Reckless Abandon’ and ‘Wasting Time’ (first time it’s been played since 1998) adds a special touch to an already spectacular performance.
It’d be unjustified to not mention Travis Barker‘s phenomenal drumming, performing a unbelievable drum solo to open up their encore whilst his son kicks out some inflatable beach balls into the crowd. ‘Dammit’ gets the crowd bouncing and singing along to the pop-punk trio one final time before they bid their farewells. It’s safe to say, the year long await was worth it.
Written by Zach Redrup