Team Rockhaq believe in awarding our top community members pre-release music, concert tickets and interview opportunities with bands they love. We call these rewards Rockhaq Missions. Rockhaq’s leaderboard king of 2012 Mark Wong was awarded a pair of live tickets to see his heroes Blink 182 at Nottingham Arena and here’s what he made of the pop punk trio’s comeback. Enjoy 😉
“TWO YEARS!” is what I should be saying. But this is hardly the case because mentally I’ve been waiting about seven years to see Blink after discovering their hit song Feeling This on the Kerrang! music channel in 2005. Blink 182 are without doubt one of the bands that made me keep saying to myself that I would end up seeing before I died because of how their albums and music videos resonated so well with every single teenager like myself. So after being rewarded with the Blink 182 music mission on Rockhaq I was ecstatic as this would fulfil a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.
The Blackout are the first support band to come on. Their entrance is hilarious and sets the vibe for the crowd as they come on to a song about Robin Hood. For their visuals they’ve got a picture of Kevin Costner dressed as Robin Hood with a speech bubble saying “The Blackout!” They explode into their first song with no hesitation whatsoever. As their set progressed, I thought they were very rude because the lack of participation from the crowd made them say that if they were Blink 182, they wouldn’t bother coming out on stage. As a support act they need to expect that not everyone in the Arena will be there to see them, but overall their set was good and they were a great warm-up. (6/10)
The All-American Rejects were absolutely fantastic with lead singer and bassist Tyson Ritter dominating the whole stage like a King which I never expected because their videos portray him as one of the more sensible musicians in rock. The hits they played such as Swing Swing, Gives You Hell, Dirty Little Secret and Move Along got the crowd even more prepared for Blink. At one point Tyson Ritter made a comment about how Nottingham Rock City was a fine place to play as the band had headlined there before. I honestly felt like saying to the guy that it’s actually one of the most disgusting venues ever because once you walk into the place your feet are literally glued to the floor because of how sticky it is! (8/10)
Finally we can all feel the tension rising for Blink 182 and all of this crowd have been waiting for them. It is almost too unbearable when the curtain drops and Blink 182 explode into their first song Feeling This which gets everyone jumping off their feet. Throughout Feeling This, we were able to hear the whole crowd singing over both Delonge and Hoppus, and hitting every note perfectly. The rush of this song was ridiculously exhilarating. They then play well-known hits such as The Rock Show, Down, I Miss You, What’s My Age Again; you name them, they play them.
What is absolutely incredible and funny about seeing Blink 182 is that they were the FIRST American band I’ve seen live that pronounced Nottingham correctly. Even Mark Hoppus jokes that most American bands pronounce the city’s name by emphasising the “ham” bit way too much. Hoppus also jokes that the crowd are his own band of merry men and says to Tom Delonge: “F***k Liverpool tomorrow, it won’t be 75% as good as this.” These two quotes show you why I love Blink 182 – yes I love their music but they are also able to interact so well with a crowd that is almost full to capacity with 7,000 people.
The band play unexpected hits such as Dumpweed, Man Overboard and Josie – these have been classics for all Blink fans. The encore consists of Travis Barker playing a drum solo to his own project’s song, Can A Drummer Get Some? The sheer skill that Barker had made me admire him even more as the amount of talent the man has is phenomenal. The techniques he uses throughout the gig make him a one-of-a-kind drummer. Blink end on Dammit but unfortunately they don’t play Carousel which I was looking forward to. Apparently their set had been cut down to 11pm because of the Arena’s strict curfew policy which annoyed me but in the end I won’t let this get me down as this has been one of the best nights of my life.
The only thing that I would be critical about is the terrible feedback and the microphone levels that had been set from the sound desk because at times you could barely hear Travis Barker’s drum kit and Hoppus’ vocals throughout their hit song After Midnight. After the gig I learnt that the sound desk had been drenched with beer as Mark Hoppus tweeted “Thanks Nottingham for a great night. Super props to our FOH engineers for keeping the show going even after the board took an entire beer.” The show made me realise that how much I had missed the band and how glad I am that they reunited. Oh how foolish I was to not get a ticket to this show in the first place. Anyone who doesn’t get to see Blink on this tour has missed out massively. (10/10) Thanks once again to Rockhaq and founder Michelle Dhillon for fulfilling a lifetime dream, your efforts will never be forgotten.